For the fifth-generation Corniche, see Rolls-Royce Corniche (2000).
Rolls-Royce Corniche
Early Corniche
Manufacturer Rolls-Royce Ltd (defunct 1973)
Rolls-Royce Motors
Parent company Vickers plc
Production 1971–1995
Predecessor Silver Shadow Coupe
Successor Corniche V
Bentley Azure
Body style(s) 2-door coupé
2-door convertible
Layout FR layout
Engine(s) 6.75 L L410 OHV V8
Designer Bill Allen

The Corniche was Rolls-Royce's coupé and convertible version of the Silver Shadow produced between 1971 and 1996. The Corniche was named "Silver Shadow Mulliner Park Ward two door fixed head coupé" (alternatively, drop head coupé) from 1966 until 1971 when the Corniche name was applied. The exterior design was by John Polwhele Blatchley. (The independent coachmaker James Young had already custom-made a two-door coupé variant of the Silver Shadow, but Young's model proved less popular and was soon discontinued.)

The model was assembled and finished in London at Mulliner Park Ward as continuation of the 1965 Silver Shadow coupe and 1967 drophead, with the Corniche name applied in March 1971. The Corniche was also sold as a Bentley, though that model became known as the Continental in 1984. The first car to wear the Corniche name was a 1939 prototype based on the Bentley Mark V which was never produced because of the onset of World War II.

Original CornicheEdit

Although the 1971 Corniche was the first car of that name that the company sold, the "Corniche" name had been registered by Rolls-Royce in the 1930s. The original Corniche was a prototype based on the Bentley Mark V featuring coachwork by the Paris firm, van Vooren.[1] The single car undertook 15,000 miles (24,000 km) of endurance testing in Continental Europe before being blown up by a bomb at Dieppe while waiting at the dockside to be shipped to England.[1]

Corniche IEdit

First generation
Rolls-Royce Corniche 1977
Also called Bentley Corniche
Production 1971-1977
Assembly London, England
Engine(s) 6.75 L L410 OHV V8
Transmission(s) 3-speed automatic
Wheelbase 1971-73: 119¾ in (3042 mm)
1974-77: 120 in (3048 mm)
Length 203.5 in (5,169 mm) [2]
Width 72 in (1,829 mm)[2]
Height 58.75 in (1,492 mm)[2]
Kerb weight 4,816 lb (2,185 kg)[2]
Fuel capacity 23.5 imp gal (107 L/28 US gal) [2]

The Rolls-Royce Corniche was available both as a coupé and convertible, with the former discontinued in March 1981.[3]

The car used the standard Rolls-Royce V8 engine. It had an aluminium-silicon alloy block and aluminium cylinder heads with cast iron wet cylinder liners. The bore was 4.1 in (104.1 mm) and the stroke was 3.9 in (99.1 mm) for a total of 6.75 L (6,750 cc/411 cuin). Twin SU carburettors were initially fitted, but were replaced with the "horribly complex" single Solex 4A1 four-barrel carburettor introduced in 1977.[4] Desmogged export models retained the twin SU's until 1980, when Bosch fuel injection was added.

A three-speed automatic transmission (a Turbo Hydramatic 400 sourced from General Motors) was standard. A four-wheel independent suspension with coil springs was augmented with a hydraulic self-levelling system (using the same system as did Citroën, but without pneumatic springs, and with the hydraulic components built under licence by Rolls-Royce), at first on all four, but later on the rear wheels only. Four wheel disc brakes were specified, with ventilated discs added for 1972.

The car originally used a 119.75 in (3,042 mm) wheelbase. This was extended to 120 in (3,048 mm) in 1974 and 120.5 in (3,061 mm) in 1979. In total, 780 Saloons (Coupés) and 1,233 Convertibles were built, for a total of 2,013 Corniche I.[5]

Corniche IIEdit

Second generation
'88 Rolls-Royce Corniche Convertible (Hudson)
Also called Bentley Continental since 1984
Production 1977-1989
Assembly London, England
Engine(s) 6.75 L L410/L410I OHV V8
Wheelbase 1977-79: 120 in (3,048 mm)
1979-89: 120.5 in (3,061 mm)

The car was mildly reworked in the spring of 1977, and while it was not officially called Corniche II until 1988, Corniches built between 1977 and 1988 are usually also referred to as such. The major mechanical difference was rack-and-pinion steering.[6] Alloy and rubber bumpers replaced earlier chrome ones. An aluminium radiator was substituted and an oil cooler was added, and a bi-level air conditioning system was added. The Series II was to undergo running changes through its long production run. The changes began with the quiet introduction of the modified rear independent suspension from the soon to be introduced Silver Spirit in March 1979. In March 1981, after the Silver Spirit had gone on sale, the Coupé version of the Corniche and its Bentley sister were discontinued.[3] For 1985 there were also cosmetic and interior changes.

For 1987, general market Corniches joined their desmogged export brethren and were now equipped with Bosch KE/K-Jetronic fuel injection.[6] This engine, called the L410I, produced approximately 240 PS (177 kW) at just above 4,000 rpm for a top speed of 190 kilometres per hour (118 mph).[7] Anti-lock brakes were added for 1988, but air bags would not be available until the Corniche III. Also new for 1988 were some detail changes to the interior, but this was also when the car officially became known as the Corniche II for the first time. Later in 1988 there was also a new reverse warning lens type and pattern around the rear license plate, as well as newly designed seats and redesigned instrumentation.[8]

The Bentley version was updated in July 1984 with a new name, the Continental.[9] This also had color-coded bumpers and rear view mirrors, as well as a new dash and improvements to the seats.[3] Production of the Corniche II (1977-1989) totalled 3,545, with 328 being Coupés and 3,217 Convertibles. 1,226 of these were "official" Corniche IIs.

1988 Bentley Continental in green

Rear view of 1988 Bentley Continental (US)

Corniche IIIEdit

Third generation
Rolls-Royce Corniche Meilenwerk
Also called Bentley Continental
Production 1989-1993
Assembly London, England
Engine(s) 6.75 L L410I OHV V8
Transmission(s) 3-speed automatic
Wheelbase 120.5 in (3,061 mm)
Length 207.0 in (5,258 mm)
Width 72.3 in (1,836 mm)
Height 59.8 in (1,519 mm)

The Corniche III was introduced at the 1989 Frankfurt Motor Show as a continuation of the Corniche line. The only significant change from the Corniche II were new alloy wheels and that air bags were standard. The engine management system was switched to the more modern MK-Motronic. The bumpers were now painted body colour rather than black, and a more advanced suspension system was fitted. There were also minor interior changes, including a revised dashboard and console and once again improved seats.[8]

Corniche IVEdit

Fourth generation
Rolls-Royce Corniche IV
Also called Bentley Continental
Production 1992-1995
Assembly Crewe, England
Engine(s) 6.75 L L410I OHV V8
6.75 L L410IT turbo OHV V8
Transmission(s) 4-speed automatic
Wheelbase 120.5 in (3,061 mm)
Length 204.6 in (5,197 mm)
Width 77.0 in (1,956 mm)
Height 59.8 in (1,519 mm)

The car was reworked for 1992 as the Corniche IV, presented at the Detorit Auto Show in January.[10] By this time production had moved to Crewe, in preparation for the 1994 closure of Mulliner Park Ward. Mechanically, the IV benefitted from the four-speed GM4L80 automatic transmission rather than the old three-speed GM400 unit. Adaptive suspension was also introduced. Visually there is nearly no difference between the Corniche III and IV although a glass rear window was now fitted, a major upgrade from the previous plastic unit. The rest of the top mechanism was improved as well, and no longer required manual latching. CFC-free air conditioning was specified, as were driver and passenger airbags. In October 1992 a 21st anniversary Corniche was presented. 25 cars were built, all finished in Ming Blue with a cream hood with a silver plaque on the dash.[11]

In August 1993 an improved engine with 20 percent more power became standard fitment. The last 25 Corniche models to be built, completed in the summer of 1995, were unique turbocharged versions and were called the Corniche S.[11] In total, 5,146 Corniche Convertibles had been built, plus 1,108 Saloons (Coupés, that is), and 140 Bentley Corniches.

Corniche V (2000)Edit

Main article: Rolls-Royce Corniche (2000)

The fifth car to bear the Corniche name made its debut in January 2000. At the time of its release, it was the most expensive vehicle offered by Rolls-Royce, with a base price of US$359,900. Its production was ceased shortly thereafter, in 2001, as Bentley and Rolls-Royce became two separate companies again, with two different owners. Bentley became a subsidiary of Volkswagen AG and continued to be manufactured in the Crewe factory while Rolls-Royce was owned solely by BMW and produced in an entirely new factory built by BMW.


  • Rolls-Royce Corniche: 4,332
    • Saloon (1971–1981): 1,108
    • Convertible (1971–1988): 3,224
  • Bentley Corniche: 140
    • Saloon (1971–1981): 63
    • Convertible (1971–1984): 77
  • Rolls-Royce Corniche II (1988-1989): 1,226
  • Rolls-Royce Corniche III (1989-1992): 452
  • Rolls-Royce Corniche IV (1992-1995): 244
    • Corniche IV (1992–1995): 219
    • Corniche S (1995): 25
  • Bentley Continental (1984–1994): 421
    • Bentley Continental Turbo (1992–1995): 8

See alsoEdit


Smallwikipedialogo This page uses some content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Rolls-Royce Corniche. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with Tractor & Construction Plant Wiki, the text of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons by Attribution License and/or GNU Free Documentation License. Please check page history for when the original article was copied to Wikia

  1. 1.0 1.1 "New Rolls-Royce Corniche", Autocar: pages 7–8. 4 March 1971. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 "Autotest: Rolls-Royce Corniche 6,750 c.c.", Autocar 141 (nbr4042): pages 36–41. 6 April 1974. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2
  4. Wood, p. 106
  5. Robson, Graham (1990). A-Z of Cars of the 1970s. Bideford, Devon: Bay View Books, 139. ISBN 978-1-870979-40-5. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 (March 1991) Automobil Revue 1991 86 (in German/French). Berne, Switzerland: Hallwag AG, 521. ISBN 3-444-00514-8. 
  7. (March 5, 1987) Automobil Revue 1987 82 (in German/French). Berne, Switzerland: Hallwag AG, 181–182. ISBN 3-444-00458-3. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 Wood, p. 103
  9. Automobil Revue 1991. p. 174
  10. (1992) Quattroruote: Tutte le Auto del Mondo 1992 (in Italian). Milano: Editoriale Domus S.p.A, 882. 
  11. 11.0 11.1 Wood, p. 107
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.