Rolls Royce Camargue

This is one of the rarest Rolls Royce models

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It was the most expensive car in the world at $147,000 USD

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There is a region in the South of France in Arles between the Mediterranean Sea and the two arms of the Rhône River delta. It is a vast plain made up of large brine lagoons or étangs cut off from the sea by sandbars and encircled by reed-covered marshes. Approximately 1/3 of the Camargue is either lakes or marshland.

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 It is a major tourist destination. France has 44 Regional Parks. There are a series of salt marshes to the west. It is a major cattle and rice producer. Visitors can take horseback tours, jeep safaris and rent bicycles. Many of the areas of the Camargue are closed to traffic so the bike is a fine way to see the areas.

The interior of the Camargue is best seen by horseback. Horses are available from stables along highway D570 between Arles to les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer. The central area around the shoreline of the Étang de Vaccarès has been protected since 1927 and is a sanctuary for wild birds. Camargue horses or Camarguais run wild in this region. Plant life adapted to the saline conditions such as Sea lavender, glasswort, tamarisks, and reeds.

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The Camargue was also a Flagship saloon from Rolls Royce. For over 100 years Rolls Royce has built ultra-luxurious motorcars of distinction. The Camargue is one of the rarest Rolls Royces. It was considered to be the ultimate personal luxury car.

With styling by Pininfarina of Italy, a fortuitous driving experience awaited its owner. A Camargue was built as Sir Frederick Henry Royce built his cars…one at a time and always by hand. Excellence is the norm…integrity is the guiding principle…

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It took the engineers and craftsmen five months to build a Camargue. It was constructed slowly and meticulously by seasoned artisans. Only after that artisan was satisfied with his work did it go on to the next phase of construction…and the inspectors are equally as picky. Italian design and British craftsmanship made this a very special Rolls Royce. It was built from 1975 until 1986 and only 530 were built over these 11 years. It was the most expensive production car in the world at $147,000.

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As a symbol of prestige, there wasn’t a more impressive acquisition for your lifestyle. This four-seat two-door saloon featured a stressed-steel body with aluminium doors, boot, and bonnet. Energy-absorbing wrap around bumpers with polyurethane impact inserts protected the sheet metal.

It had a silhouette like no other Rolls Royce. The only recognizable element is the iconic Spirit of Ecstasy atop the classic Rolls Royce radiator grille. Its understatement and avant-garde design was accepted with mixed emotion. Its design is anything but plebeian…

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Its sumptuous cabin was upholstered with supple natural grain leather by Connolly Brothers. The seats rival the comfort of fine furniture. They were covered with 260 square inches of the finest quality hides hand-tailored to perfection and perfectly matched for color and texture. Italian burl walnut veneers graced the fascia and door garnish rails. Individual fully adjustable front seats had recliners and manually adjustable back rests.

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Standard equipment included: electronic centralized door/boot locking, power windows and seats, electric clock, solenoid operated fuel filler door, intermittent 2-speed wiper/washers, electronic speed control, 75 amp alternator, and cornering lamps. These are just a few of the myriad features and accessories offered by Rolls Royce.

Power assisted rack & pinion steering included a collapsible steering column with dished two-spoke steering wheel and leather-covered rim. For listening pleasure, the Camargue was equipped with AM/FM Stereo radio with power antenna and cassette player, two door mounted speakers and two rear parcel shelf mounted speakers.

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Innovation abounds in the Camargue. The Rolls Royce Motors automatic two-level air conditioning system supplied heated or cooled air through independently ducted upper and lower systems. It took Rolls Royce eight years to develop.

This sophisticated system automatically demisted the rear window.  The Camargue was fitted with power rack & pinion steering from the 1977 Silver Shadow. Beginning the 1979 model year it received the independent rear suspension of the Silver Spirit. It was the first Rolls Royce to feature an inclined angled grille; it was slanted at an angle of seven degrees.

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It was powered by the same 6.75 litre V8 engine that produced 247 hp @ 4,500 rpm with 540 Nm of peak torque @ 2,500 rpm. Its top speed was 118 mph. This 412 CID 16-valve OHV V8 engine was equipped with hydraulic tappets, a hardened steel crankshaft, five main bearings, and full-flow oil filter. It was constructed from high silicon aluminium alloy for the engine block and cylinder heads with cast iron wet liners.

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A water pump mounted 7-blade fan with electric booster fan in front of the radiator aided cooling. The engine was equipped with an electronic ignition system, twin exhaust system with stainless-steel silencers and catalytic converter. To satisfy the cleaner air requirements, the Camargue used an Air injection system with exhaust gas recirculation. A Bosch K Jetronic fuel injection system with a Bosch electric fuel pump was eventually used to increase fuel economy and smoothness of engine operation. 

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The engine was mated to GM’s Turbo Hydra-Matic 3-speed automatic transmission with electric gear range and torque converter. It automatically locked when the ignition key was removed. A four-wheel independent suspension complimented  Camargue’s monocoque construction resulting in its world-class ride…Its front suspension used independent lower wishbones’ compliant controlled upper levers, coil springs, telescopic dampers and anti-roll bar. The front suspension used anti-dive geometry.

The rear suspension included independent semi-trailing arms, suspension struts, gas springs, and anti-roll bar. It was set-up for automatic ride height control that used mineral oil as fluid medium. It was built on the Silver Shadow platform. The Camargue was a large front engine rear drive saloon. It rode upon a long 120.1” wheelbase, had the luxury length of 203” and was 75.6” in width. The Camargue was the first Rolls Royce to be designed with metric dimensions.

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The Camargue owner is one of the fortunate few to own such an individualized automobile. It is an exclusive motorcar for the discerning driver that demands distinction with unusual charm.

From the hand-sculpted radiator grille to the matched walnut veneers there was no room for compromise. It was designed by the famous design studios of Pininfarina of Turin, Italy. The Camargue blended the latest technology with superb craftsmanship with state of the art engineering.

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Monocoque construction is a structural approach that supports loads through an object’s external architecture. It is stronger because the body and frame are built as a single entity. It eliminates squeaks and rattles providing a lower vehicle height and more interior space. This type of construction made the Camargue bodyshell stiffer.

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 It had two independent power hydraulic brake circuits using mineral oil as the fluid medium guaranteed smooth fade-free braking. A dual master cylinder with separate pistons and hydraulic brake lines facilitated independent front and rear operation.

Should one system fail all four wheels will still have 100% brake operation. The system is pressurized by engine-driven pumps. The braking system used four-wheel discs with ventilated front, solid rear, and a foot operated mechanical parking brake with hand-release.

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Like the Silver Shadow, the Camargue had a high-pressure hydraulic system for its braking and self-leveling rear suspension. A costly maintenance service is required every 96,000 miles or nine years that involve all seals and fluid in the system to be changed.

This is one of Rolls Royce’s most expensive models to maintain. With only 530 built, unique cosmetics and other exclusive to Camargue parts are rare and costly when obtained. And…it has a 28.5 gallon fuel tank…well, you do the math-

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Thanks to Daniel Schmitt Classic Cars

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A Rolls Royce Camargue was just as exotic as its namesake. With dramatic styling by Pininfarina of Turin, Italy and British hand-crafting, the Camargue was a Rolls Royce like no other. Only 530 were built during its production run from 1975 through 1986. It was the most expensive automobile in the world at $147,000. The Camargue was accepted with bitter/sweet emotion…either you liked it or you didn’t.

It is among the rarest Rolls Royce models. While engine and suspension parts were from the Silver Shadow, these items are obtainable. The cost for maintenance and restoration are extremely costly but in the long run will be worth it. Minted in such low numbers, the Camargue will get to a point where rapid appreciation will make it highly desirable to own. The Rolls Royce Camargue was one of the most exotic Rolls Royce models in the brand’s history.

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The Rolls Royce Camargue 

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