1980 Rolls-Royce Corniche

The construction of Rolls-Royce's final coach-built models was performed by the company's in-house coachbuilder, Mulliner Park Ward. Using only the finest materials available, these two-door cars were hand-built by craftsmen following the best traditions of British coachbuilding and taking 20 weeks for a single saloon to be built. The complex convertible required even more time. Due to the painstaking attention to detail, the base price was approximately fifty percent higher than the standard Silver Shadows. Nevertheless, demand was strong resulting in them receiving their own model name, the Corniche, in March of 1971.

The Corniche name, sourced from the stunning roads along the Cote d'Azur in France, was registered by Rolls-Royce in the 1930s and assigned to a prototype based on the Bentley MKV, but the model was never progressed due to the onset of World War II. Instead, it was used on the Coupe and Convertible versions of the Silver Shadow in the 1970, offered as either a coupe or convertible body. Production of the coupe body style ceased by 1982 but the convertibles continued to be built until 1996.

The 6,750cc engine, which has roots that date back to the 1950s, had an aluminum-silicon alloy block and aluminum cylinder heads with cast iron wet cylinder liners. Initially, the fuel system used twin SU carburetors that were later replaced with Bosch fuel injection from 1980 onwards. The engine was backed by a Turbo HydraMatic 400 three-speed automatic gearbox. Suspension was independent by coil springs all-round, augmented by a Citroen-originated hydraulic self-leveling system. Braking was by discs, with ventilated units being phased in for 1972.

The styling was penned by John Polwhele Blatchley and the underbody and floorpan crafted by Pressed Steel Fisher. Mulliner Park Ward of Willesden, London provided the initial assembly, including the alloy bonnet, boot lid, and doors. The cars were then transported to the main factory in Crewe for the installation of the running gear before returning to London for the trimming, painting, and finishing.

The Series II version of the Corniche was introduced five years later, gaining the same rack and pinion steering and improved front suspension geometry as its Silver Shadow II sibling. In 1979, the cars adopted mineral oil for their hydraulic systems and a modified rear suspension set-up that presaged the one that the Silver Spirit would later adopt.

The Series III Corniche was introduced in 1990, gaining alloy wheels and MK Motronic engine management system. The Corniche IV of 1992 continued to use the appearance of its predecessor but gained a four-speed automatic transmission and adaptive suspension. The final incarnation was the Corniche IV Anniversary model, the Corniche S, of which only 25 were made.

by Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2020

Related Reading : Rolls-Royce Corniche History

The Rolls-Royce styling department designed a beautiful, elegantly shaped two-door coupe derivative of the Silver Shadow, which was engineered and produced by Mulliner Park Ward. When launched in March 1996 it was priced at 9,849 pounds, nearly 3,300 pounds more than the standard four-door saloon. This was followed 18 months later by a convertible version priced at 11,511 pounds. Both of these Mulliner....
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Related Reading : Rolls-Royce Corniche History

First introduced in 1966, the name Park Ward two-door was first given to the trailblazing Convertible, eventually renamed the Corniche. The Corniche was a dramatic departure for Rolls-Royce from the standard steel Silver clouds to the newer and smaller Silver Shadow platforms. The new generation of two-door vehicles was squinty-eyed with sloping inset grilles that brought instant success to....
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1980 Vehicle Profiles

1980 Rolls-Royce Corniche vehicle information


Chassis Num: DRL50545

The name 'Corniche' was first used by Rolls-Royce in the 1930s on a prototype Bentley Mark V with coachwork by Carrosserie Vanvooren of Paris. The vehicle underwent a 15,000-mile endurance run throughout Europe, after which it was blown up by a bomb ....[continue reading]

1980 Rolls-Royce Corniche vehicle information


Chassis Num: CRL 50599C
Engine Num: 50599C

Rolls-Royce's in-house coachbuilder, Mulliner, Park Ward, was given the honor of hand-building the company's final coach-built model. They were built in the traditional British coachbuilding fashion, using only the finest materials, including Wilton ....[continue reading]

1980 Rolls-Royce Corniche vehicle information


Chassis Num: DRH 0050380

Mr. Dean Edmonds acquired this Corniche in June of 1982, with period British registration stating that it had originally been acquired by His Royal highness, The Sultan of Brunei. After Mr. Edmonds acquired this U.K. specification vehicle, it was bro....[continue reading]

Chassis #: DRL50545 
Chassis #: CRL 50599C 
Chassis #: DRH 0050380 

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Performance and Specification Comparison

Price Comparison

1980 Corniche
1980 Rolls-Royce Corniche Price Range: $102,900 - $109,800

Model Year Production

1985Chevrolet (1,418,098)Renault (1,322,887)Oldsmobile (1,192,549)
1984Chevrolet (1,655,151)Renault (1,429,138)Ford (1,180,708)
1983Renault (1,491,853)Chevrolet (1,175,200)Toyota (1,068,321)
1982Renault (1,491,853)Chevrolet (1,297,357)Toyota (1,068,321)
1981Chevrolet (1,673,093)Renault (1,295,713)Toyota (1,068,321)
1980Chevrolet (2,288,745)Renault (1,492,339)Ford (1,162,275)
1979Chevrolet (2,284,749)Ford (1,835,937)Renault (1,405,330)
1978Chevrolet (2,375,436)Ford (1,923,655)Renault (1,240,941)
1977Chevrolet (2,543,153)Toyota (1,884,260)Ford (1,840,427)
1976Chevrolet (2,103,862)Toyota (1,884,260)Ford (1,861,537)
1975Chevrolet (1,755,773)Toyota (1,714,836)Ford (1,569,608)

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