The Crewe Collection: Rolls Royce Camargue

1976 Camargue 1

“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts…”    William Shakespeare – 

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Art manifests itself in many forms and is readily identified in literature, music, architecture, science, and engineering. Automotive art is the world-wide link we enthusiasts share in common. A classic Rolls Royce is hand-crafted in the grand tradition of coachbuilding offering the highest levels of luxury and bespoke grandeur. As with fine art…a Rolls Royce is a genuine and enduring satisfaction – beautiful now and forever – a legend in its own time.

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Most important…driving a Rolls Royce puts life in an entirely new perspective. To be a Rolls Royce motorcar, every detail must have a function…its aesthetics of form must derive from its fitness of purpose. The Camargue is the rarest work of automotive art from Rolls Royce. Its understated elegance rewards a fortunate few with a completely individualized automobile apart from tradition. This is the personal luxury car that brings a new spirit to ecstasy –

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If exclusivity is what you seek in a motorcar…there is only one automobile that will satisfy the most discerning motorist…the iconic Rolls Royce. In any of its magnificent configurations, if maintained properly, will most likely outlast its owner. These hand-built masterpieces are the pride of the UK and the envy of the entire world.

The investment potential of a Rolls Royce is lucrative. Whether it be an exclusive coachbuilt one-of-a-kind, or simply an “out of the box” version…no other motorcar on earth rivals the charisma of a Rolls Royce. They are the absolute pinnacle of luxury, performance, and prestige.

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In any field of endeavor, exemplary reputation is historically slow in the making. Rolls Royce and the artisans at Crewe worked hard to become synonymous with success…and what is success? It is an elusive…intangible quality of excellence and a “Spirit of Ecstasy” which is the true heart and soul of a masterpiece.

This legendary reputation was achieved through the relentless pursuit of perfection.  A Rolls Royce hand-crafted at the historic Crewe facility in the UK is without conjecture, held high in esteem. These fine automobiles will become cherished collectibles because they are the end of an illustrious era in luxury motoring…

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Cosmetics

The Rolls Royce Camargue is designed by Pininfarina Design Studios in Turin, Italy by Paolo Martin. This distinguished design studio has an extremely impressive clientele that includes Ferrari, Alfa Romeo, Maserati, GM, and Lancia. Pininfarina is the first coachbuilder to use the unibody design concept for monocoque construction.

Carrozzeria Pininfarina was established in 1930. Throughout its tenure it has designed yachts, air planes, private jets, high-speed trains, and busses, as well as automobiles. General Motors used this eminent design firm for the 1959-1960 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham and the Cadillac Allanté of the late 1980s. The Camargue is sophisticated elegance and totally unique among luxury cars.

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1986 Camargue 1

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Mulliner Park Ward hand-built the Rolls Royce Camargue in England from 1975 until 1986. This is the best of both worlds: the ultimate embellishment of British craftsmanship with the romance of Italian design. It targets a younger Rolls Royce clientele. Best of all…only 531 were ever built which makes each a treasured collectible.

The neoclassic design is just as unique as your own lifestyle. Only one of these works of art is badged as a Bentley. Just 30 or so per year were imported to the USA during their production run. It was the most expensive production car in the world at the time with a price of $147,000 USD.

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The Camargue is a driver’s car for those who prefer a luxury automobile with flair and distinction. This is the personal Rolls Royce without ostentation. The sleek contemporary architecture is a four-seat, two-door saloon of stressed steel integral monocoque construction. The bonnet, boot lid, doors and roof are made from aluminium alloy. Large wrap around bumpers with polyurethane inserts are impact-absorbing and yield a 5 mph impact without sheet metal damage.

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It shares no sheet metal with any other Rolls Royce. The trademark radiator grille and the Spirit of Ecstasy are the only familiar link with its heritage. The alteration of the classic radiator grille ruffled a lot of feathers…Pininfarina tilted it forward four degrees. The basic theme of its architecture orchestrates classic simplicity with a tasteful restraint of ornamentation. The Camargue’s uncommon elegance is at home at the yacht club or the theatre.

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Its relaxed demeanor in no way discounts the fact that this is indeed…a Rolls Royce motorcar. It was built at a highly restricted pace to retain its exclusivity. The controversy alone makes it interesting to the avid collector. Either you love it or you hate it. Some think it is a bit cosmetically challenged – regardless – it is still a Rolls Royce motorcar.

The Camargue is a Rolls Royce like no other. The rarest Rolls Royce to motor out of Crewe took five months to hand assemble. One of the craftsmen was asked while this car was in production, how fast the assembly line moved…he replied: “I think it moved last Thursday.” This is an example of the dedication the artisans expressed regarding their true labor of love. Technology includes lessons learned from the highly successful Corniche and the Silver Shadow II.

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The Camargue introduced a world first. Rolls Royce designed a completely automatic air conditioning system to maintain separate upper and lower cabin temperatures with proper humidity in all seasons.

This sophisticated network took eight years to develop. The dual-zone air conditioning system maintains its pre-set temperature without further intervention. It was later added to all Rolls Royce motorcars.

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Sporting luxury is reflected in the Camargue’s meticulously hand-crafted cabin. Four elegant lounge seats are upholstered in supple leather by Connolly Brothers. Individually fully reclining front seats are electrically adjustable with manually adjustable head restraints.

The warmth of mirror-matched wood veneers and Wilton hand-tufted 100% wool carpets adds to its luxury in the grand Rolls Royce tradition. Standard equipment includes a central locking system, power windows, automatic speed control, power assisted rack and pinion steering, premium audio system, electric clock, and tinted glass. The car is bespoke and was built according to the client’s requests.

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Being highly bespoke, the client could choose any specific color for the leather upholstery. Wood veneers were unique for each car. The luxurious Wilton carpets and lambswool rugs were color coordinated to match any theme to suit the client’s taste. Any color could be coordinated as long as it is tasteful adding to the aesthetic beauty of a Rolls Royce motorcar. This is why no two Rolls Royces will ever be alike…

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Contrasting color combinations are popular. Take note of the carpets edged with the same color combo as the upholstery. This Camargue has an intricately burled pattern for its veneers.

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The Camargue is a spirited performer. It is powered by the legendary 6.75 litre 16-valve 412 CID V8 engine. Its lightweight construction includes a high silicon content aluminium alloy block; the aluminium alloy cylinder heads use cast iron wet liners. It has a hardened steel crankshaft running in five main bearings, overhead valves, and hydraulic lifters.

The engine is equipped with an electronic ignition and a twin stainless-steel exhaust system. Earlier versions are equipped with twin SU carburetors and a Pierburg fuel pump. Later model years use a Bosch K Jetronic fuel injection system with a Bosch electric fuel pump.

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The engine produces 220 hp boasting longitudinal acceleration as 0-60 mph in just 10.9 seconds. This performance is excellent taking into consideration how heavy the Camargue is at 5,175 pounds. It has a top speed in the 118-120 mph range. The Rolls Royce Camargue averages 11-12 mpg…if you can afford the car gasoline mileage is negligible, right?

The engine is mated to a GM 400 3-speed automatic transmission with torque converter and electric gear range selector. The transmission automatically locks electronically when the key is removed from the ignition; this is a safeguard feature of all Rolls Royce motorcars. The engine requires a major overhaul at 100,000 miles or at least every 10 years.

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The Camargue is a large front engine rear-wheel drive saloon. It rides upon a long 120.1” wheelbase, is 206.5” in length, and is 75.5” wide. It has a 4-wheel independent suspension. From 1977 forward, the rear suspension is adapted from the Silver Shadow II. The suspension is equipped with a hydraulic self-leveling system to maintain proper ride height regardless of load or road conditions. Four-wheel disc brakes provides efficient fade-free operation. The dual master cylinder provides independent operation of front and rear braking systems and is designed to halt each wheel individually.

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These fine automobiles should be approached with caution if you are in the market to purchase one. If a solid maintenance schedule history is not available…you could end up spending a small fortune! The best versions are the later model years; they have upgraded steering and suspension components.

Rolls Royce Camargues have certain idiosyncratic quirks. The valve covers cause leaks; a small amount of oil on the garage floor is tolerable but larger ones should be investigated. Inspect the underside regularly for corrosion especially around the rear spring mountings, also, the subframe mounting bushes wear out. Restoration is outrageously expensive!

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When considering the purchase of a Camargue here are key points to consider. I will say this again: these cars can become obscenely expensive to restore ‘properly’. Investigate the exterior coachwork condition. Look over the interior underneath the carpet footwells for signs of moisture. You always want to see a serious documentation of the car’s service history; I cannot stress this enough. My advice is to take the car to a professional for a complete evaluation.

Hydraulic systems, engines, and transmissions are most important, as well as wiring and electrical systems. You shouldn’t even consider a Rolls Royce at a “Buy here – Pay Here” establishment! If the price sounds too good to be true…99.9% of the time there are issues!  You want to be aware of discount servicing…un-doing what “Mr. Fixit” did in a back alley will be more expensive than if you had taken the car to a reputable mechanic who specializes in the marque…YOU DO NOT WANT A ROLLS ROYCE THAT HAS BEEN SERVICED AT WALMART!!!

Camargue sideview 1

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Rolls Royce built the Camargue for those who seek adventure. One motors along surrounded by fine hand layered veneers, hand-stitched leather upholstery, and luxurious deep pile carpets. Camargue is for the driver who is not easily impressed. This is an elegant and completely individual motorcar. The artisans at the historic Crewe facility in the UK hand-built Rolls Royce motorcars in the grand tradition of coachbuilding.

It’s as rare as a vintage cognac. It has an air of elite sophistication. The Rolls Royce Camargue is as exotic as its namesake in the south of France. Its powerful V8 engine provides performance that would shame a sports car. The Camargue retains the poised dignity that is the hallmark of every Rolls Royce motorcar. The romance of its Italian design and the exclusive British hand-crafting makes it a rich and rare motoring experience available only to a fortunate few –

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Special thanks to Rodd Sala and Park Ward Motors Museum, the finest classic Rolls Royce caretaker in the Midwest! NotoriousLuxury salutes you!!!

Park Ward Motors

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…Ah, the good life!

Spirit of Ecstasy 2

The epochal Spirit of Ecstasy…

Silver Wraith II 1

Silver Wraith II 2

A Rolls Royce increases in value and sentiment

Greg's World 2

Welcome to Greg’s World…

Greg's World

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Hello Vladimir Kirillov…hope you enjoyed this!

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The Camargue is the rarest among Rolls Royce models

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2 Responses to “The Crewe Collection: Rolls Royce Camargue”

  1. The rear looks like that of a 1977-1979 Impala. Cheap.

    • Vladimir Kirillov Says:

      But not as cheap as your comment which of course is ludicrous. But its all subjective I guess as the Camargue’s rear view has been described in one publication as supremely elegant. This is a car that one has to simply own to appreciate and I do.

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