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The Crewe Collection: Rolls-Royce Corniche V

Corniche V 1

The Rolls-Royce Corniche “breaks the fourth wall” mesmerizing the audience with an eloquence few luxury cars share…           Greg Morgan, NotoriousLuxury – 

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True…money cannot buy happiness…but it can buy an ultra-luxurious convertible like this to cruise right up and park beside it! The finale to the Rolls-Royce legend at Crewe is epitomized by the magnificent Corniche coachbuilt drophead coupé. No other open grand touring motorcar in the world shares the panache…and all the savoir-faire as the Rolls-Royce Corniche. There is no more impressive manner in which to arrive. It augments the poised dignity which is the hallmark of every Rolls-Royce motorcar.  Its power and prestige are exceeded only by its beauty.

The Corniche is the single most immediately identifiable Rolls-Royce in the history of the brand. It is also the last Rolls-Royce to motor out of the historic Crewe facility in the UK…it’s a true masterpiece from the master craftsmen. The Rolls-Royce Corniche established new standards of refinement…elegance…and sophistication, raising the bar of success to a higher level where few motorcars can compete. As a status symbol, there can be no more impressive introduction to your lifestyle. The Corniche is one of the most successful and longest running production series in Rolls-Royce history.

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1986 Corniche II 5

1986 Corniche II 1

The elite sophistication of the Corniche makes it the most avant-garde series of all Rolls-Royce motorcars. Mulliner Park Ward Silver Shadow fixedhead and drophead two-door coupé models were renamed “Corniche” in 1971. It’s dramatic…it’s distinctive…it’s the definitive luxury coupé built in the European grand touring tradition. The Corniche is luxurious beyond description. This is one of the most significant models in Rolls-Royce history. The company was on the brink of financial disaster. The Corniche came to the rescue.

It was so popular, each subsequent model year had a waiting list. As soon as they were out of theatre the buyer could sell it for far more than they paid for it. Production for the fixedhead coupé ran until 1984 while the drophead coupé continued until 1995. The Corniche drophead coupé was revamped in 2000 as Series V and was the last Rolls-Royce to motor out of Crewe on August 30, 2002 precluding the illustrious heritage of this esteemed motorcar. The last Rolls-Royce Corniche was retained by Crewe for historic purposes. The Rolls-Royce Corniche is still the car of the rich and famous…its glamour never tarnished. It will always retain its exclusivity as the undisputed quintessential status symbol.  

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1986 Corniche II 2

The Corniche is the celebrity among Rolls-Royce motorcars. There is a mystique with a two-door Rolls-Royce because they are completely hand-built at an extremely restricted pace. The expertise of Mulliner Park Ward was exemplified with the Corniche series I-IV. Mulliner Park Ward closed its doors at their Hythe Road location at Willesden, London UK in 1991. Production was relocated in-house to the Crewe facility.  It took anywhere from six to eight months to hand-build these ultra-exclusive motorcars. Mulliner remained at Crewe as the personal commissioning department for the new Bentley brand. They are no longer a bespoke coachbuilder. Mulliner is an exclusive trim level for Bentley motorcars.

The Rolls-Royce Corniche is completely bespoke in every aspect reflecting its owner’s requirements. It became an instant collectible the moment it left the assembly hall. No matter what year…either fixedhead or drophead coupé…the exotic Rolls-Royce Corniche will always be the absolute pinnacle of luxury and elegance. The Corniche is the essence of Rolls-Royce. “The quality will remain long after the price has been forgotten” is the famous marketing slogan and is never more apparent than with the formidable Rolls-Royce Corniche – 

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1986 Rolls-Royce Corniche II drophead coupé

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A two-door saloon or convertible coupé is a very special Rolls-Royce creation. When the brand comes to mind it’s usually as a four-door saloon. The two-door Rolls-Royce is coachbuilt in the classic tradition. It isn’t merely a sedan minus two-doors. The Corniche is designed as a two-door coupé; its architecture is unique and shaped entirely by hand. A two-door Rolls-Royce is the ultimate in exclusivity and supremacy in a motorcar. Each Rolls-Royce Corniche is a true masterwork…each is a one-of-a-kind treasure of automotive art.

1974 Corniche fixedhead 1

1974 Rolls-Royce Corniche fixedhead coupé

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A Corniche is a unique fusion of coachbuilt elegance and an individual hallmark of Rolls-Royce quality with the emphasis on superb distinction. The artisans at Crewe are renowned for extraordinary handcrafting. This is evident in the fit and finish. For example…every body seam is invisible, panels are lined up meticulously…every shut line is as perfect as possible.

No shortcuts are taken – in the production of a Rolls-Royce motorcar, there is no room for compromise. Craftsmanship is the operative word that best sums up the ultimate embellishment of British coachcrafting. This is why every Rolls-Royce is a virtual masterpiece which grows in loveliness and value – 

Corniche IV

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The Corniche V has a secret…it is the only Rolls-Royce built on a Bentley platform. It was usually the other way around…“Big Ben” was always built on a Rolls-Royce foundation. Corniche Series I-IV are based upon the highly successful Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow. The Corniche V inherits its look from the glamorous Rolls-Royce Silver Seraph, but shares very little with it mechanically.

The Bentley Azure provides the basic structure. The body design was ideal to accept the extra torque from the turbocharged V8 engine. The Corniche V, as with all open tourers, is built with a lower center of gravity which is very important to a topless automobile. Integral rigidity is paramount for safety. 

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Rolls-Royce Corniche V drophead coupé

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Bentley Azure drophead coupé

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“Big Ben” is also utterly luxurious

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The front engine rear-wheel drive Corniche V delivers spirited performance. This elegant machine is powered by the legendary Rolls-Royce 6.75 litre 16-valve 412 CID turbocharged alloy pushrod V8. The engine is mated to a GM 4-speed automatic transmission with electric gear selection. Its silky-smooth operation has completely imperceptible gear changes. It is equipped with a digital engine management system with electronic port fuel injection. Tap the accelerator pedal to discover, this is more than just a pretty car.

The engine cranks out 325 hp @ 4,000 rpm packing a prolific punch with an astounding 738 Nm of peak torque @ 2,300 rpm. Longitudinal acceleration is rated as 0-60 mph in just 8 seconds, 0-100 mph in 22 seconds with a top speed in the 133-135 mph range. These figures are exceptional considering how heavy the Corniche V is…after all, it is built for luxury not drag racing. How could you show off your classy Corniche convertible at speeds exceeding 200 mph anyway? I’ll put it this way…it would take a dangerously high dose of Xanax not to enjoy the exhilarating open air performance of the Corniche V. It is the ultimate European open grand tourer.

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6.75 litre V8 2

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Corniche V 2

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The Corniche V is exquisitely handcrafted in the grand Roll Royce tradition. The sumptuously upholstered cabin is the stuff dreams are made of. A Rolls-Royce interior could be compared to a mobile version of a guest suite at the Ritz-Carlton…the Corniche V is no exception. The leather is hand-cut, hand-stitched, and hand-fitted by Connolly Brothers. The Corniche V is one of the last automobiles to benefit the TLC by this eminent leather crafter.  Connolly Brothers were in business from 1878 until the company ceased operations in 2002.

The lounge-style seats are fluted and contoured to cradle the body comfortably. Luxurious handcrafted burr walnut veneers and plush Wilton 100% wool carpets adds an air of exclusivity. Classic luxury touches include organ-stop ventilation controls, chrome plated accents, and analog instrumentation. Everything in the Corniche V is power assisted…all one has to do is steer and operate the pedals.

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The power, fully automatic folding fabric roof stows inward in its own locker to create a trim appearance. The roof in the raised position resembles a hardtop coupé inside. A wool headliner conceals all hardware and insulation. The top opens and closes swiftly at the touch of a button with no intervention required.

The fifth generation Corniche had a hefty base price starting at $359,000 USD. Only 374 were built during its tenure from 2000 until 2002. This luxurious land yacht has a base weight of 6,836 pounds. It has the luxury length of 212.8″, is 80.7″ wide and rides upon a long 120.5″ wheelbase.

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If you have ever driven a Rolls-Royce, or just as a passenger…you immediately notice that this is no ordinary automobile. It’s unlike any motorcar you have ever experienced. The Spirit of Ecstasy out in front of you completes the sensation of soaring…gliding effortlessly. Boulevard travel intrusion is negligible. The Corniche V negotiates the pavement with a uniquely regal authority. The road management system includes a four-wheel independent suspension with adaptive ride control.

The “thinking” suspension automatically calibrates itself intuitively. Its electronic self-leveling system is augmented by electronic stability and damping controls. Four-wheel power assisted anti-lock disc brakes are ventilated for rapid heat dissipation to provide safe, fade-free operation. The dual hydraulic master cylinder is designed for independent front and rear braking systems. Should one system fail, each wheel will still be halted individually. This sophisticated network comes together to refine the exclusive Rolls-Royce magic carpet ride.

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The Rolls-Royce Corniche is the most prized motorcar of the 20th and 21st century. It’s an enviable combination of sporting characteristics, notorious luxury, and extraordinary comfort. It remains in the spotlight as the ultimate grand touring automobile. The Corniche is the celebrity among Rolls-Royce motorcars. It augments the lifestyles of the rich and the famous. The Corniche began its tenure in 1971 as a coachbuilt motorcar by Mulliner Park Ward available as a two-door fixedhead coupé and a two-door drophead coupé. Its evolution spanned five distinctive series.

The Corniche V is the last Rolls-Royce to motor out of the legendary Crewe facility on August 30, 2002. Corniche Series I-IV are based upon the Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow. The Corniche Series V inherits its look from the Rolls-Royce  Silver Seraph. Corniche Series V is the only Rolls-Royce model built upon a Bentley platform powered by a turbocharged V8 engine. All two-door Rolls-Royce coupé models are handcrafted and built at a highly restricted pace. The elite Corniche models take their place in automotive history as one of the longest and most successful production runs in the history of the brand. The Crewe built Rolls-Royce remains the pride of the UK…and the sheer envy of the entire world –

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Special Thanks to Daniel Schmitt Classic Cars:, Rodd Sala at Park Ward Motors Museum:, and Balmoral UK:, These are three of the most eminent caretakers of the brand in the industry. For all of your special interest automobile needs whether it be sales or service, or even restoration, I highly recommend them. Tell ’em Greg sent you!

Park Ward

1959 Silver Cloud II Mulliner Drophead 7

1959 Rolls-Royce HJ Mulliner drophead coupé

1959 Silver Cloud II Mulliner Drophead 1

1959 Silver Cloud II Mulliner Drophead 3

1959 Silver Cloud II Mulliner Drophead 5

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1959 Silver Cloud II Mulliner Drophead 6

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1962 Rolls-Royce HJ Mulliner drophead coupé

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1963 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud Drophead coupé III 1

1963 Rolls-Royce Mulliner Park Ward drophead coupé

1963 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud Drophead coupé III 2

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1985 Rolls-Royce Corniche coachbuilt drophead coupé by MPW

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1985 Corniche I

The pride of the UK…and the envy of the entire world

Corniche V

The Rolls-Royce Corniche is NotoriousLuxury


Greg’s World is NotoriousLuxury

2 thoughts on “The Crewe Collection: Rolls-Royce Corniche V Leave a comment

  1. I found your comment about RR using the Bentley platform interesting. I have my eye on a 1967 RR coupe titled as a RR Mulliner Park Ward but the Vin decodes as a Bentley. Looking as closely as posable it seems to be an honest RR. Engine covers are RR, instruments are RR as are the rubber on the peddles. FYI it’s a RHD car. Any thoughts?

    • Hello Michael! Sounds as though you ran across ‘a clone’ which are alive and well in the market place. I have seen owners who tire of their Rolls-Royce and used to go to coach builders such as Hoopers in the UK to have their cars fashionably re-branded. They may take a Silver Cloud in and have the nomenclature swapped with that of the Bentley S Series and vice versa. I’ve seen a Camargue branded as “Big Ben” swapping the bonnet and radiator shell replacing The Spirit of Ecstasy with “The Flying B” which I thought was rather redundant. People do strange things with automobiles on all levels.

      Someone eccentric enough to swap a Rolls-Royce for a Bentley image makes no sense, but it belongs to the owner to do with as they choose.

      Then too, there’s a black market out there rebuilding total losses – for instance – there may be 3-4 Rolls-Royce parts cars to make a single unit restoring a total loss, theft recovery, and some like to rebuild wrecks and sell them as “collectibles” this is why I urge anyone who is in the market for a RR or Bentley classic – have it appraised by a legitimate entity who specialize in the marque. There are a lot of ‘junk’ Rolls-Royce and Bentley motorcars ready willing and able to suck the last Abe Lincoln out of the old checking account out there for sale as cherished classics!

      The 1967 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow and Bentley T1 Series are essentially the same car. The only differences are what you just described. They used the same engine, the same transmission by General Motors, it is the same body just swapping out the bonnet and radiator shell on the exterior, and of course – the nomenclature.

      There are even examples out there where right-hand drive vehicles have been transformed to left-hand drive vehicles. PLEASE, know what you are looking at. These cars can become your worst nightmare! Just try restoring that sophisticated hydraulic system that maintains the braking and self-leveling system. Next, are those pesky exhaust systems – OMG, PLEASE know what you are buying!

      PLEASE make sure NOT to purchase one of those back-yard specials where a greasy back alley mechanic built it from scrap parts he got at a RR or Bentley junkyard.

      You did the right thing, asking about the variance in the VIN! This means the car you are looking at isn’t a genuine one or the other – it’s the bastard at the Rolls-Royce and Bentley family reunion. This is where the maintenance comes into play! When you take what you THOUGHT was a RR into a garage, and the technician sees where General Motors chassis and drive trains have been swapped out bypassing all of the big bucks to restore the brakes and hydraulics of the original! You also want to know who did the conversion to find out what parts to buy if required. People do odd things to those cars all the time. Usually, the person is in a euphoric state when they buy a Rolls-Royce, they may not realize what they have is really 3 wrecked Bentleys with the good parts from each building the car they have! Nightmares are out there, these cars are obscenely expensive to maintain and NO shortcuts should be taken – but they do and they’re out there polished to the nines hiding a dark secret.

      Remember the black market Mercedes-Benz models? They were shipped to the USA without badging so whomever buys it can add the nomenclature to make the car appear to be something it is not! Grey-market Mercedes-Benz models are a piece of work! I advise people all the time…if you have no experience with the brand ASK QUESTIONS and PAY to have the car professionally appraised. This way, you won’t be secretly out in the garage at midnight crying your heart out because the beautiful car you THOUGHT was a Rolls-Royce – is not. By the way, you can really negotiate on the right hand models in this country! They are worth much less than the left-hand versions because some people are not at ease driving on the wrong side of the car. Again, watch out for conversions. Nasty consequences may arise from bastardized Rolls-Royce and Bentley motorcars!!! Have the car you are looking at appraised by a RR dealer. 1967 is before VINs were online, but a true dealer can tell you. Also…does this car you are looking at come with its history book? NEVER pay top dollar for a Rolls-Royce or Bentley classic that doesn’t have its original history book which chronicles the car while in theatre as well as after the client takes ownership. ALL of your modifications should be documented in this book. All really good cars will have this book. It has been signed by everyone who touched the car in the build hall….ESPECIALLY a coachbuilt model like a Mulliner Park Ward.

      Do you have any photos of this MPW edition?

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