The Rolls-Royce Corniche II, unveiled in 1986 as the successor of the original Corniche, introduced a series of upgrades that further elevated the prestige and charm of this iconic British luxury car. Powered by a robust 6.75L V8 engine, the Corniche II offers a driving experience that is smooth and powerful. Under the hood, the Rolls-Royce Corniche II boasted an impressive power output of approximately 220 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque. This power, combined with the car's expertly tuned suspension, ensured a smooth and comfortable ride, living up to Rolls-Royce's promise of delivering 'waft ability.' The Corniche II's exterior design remained largely true to the original Corniche, maintaining its classic elegance, with the notable addition of a revised front fascia. When it comes to pricing, a used Rolls-Royce Corniche II in good condition can range anywhere from $25,000 to $120,000, largely dependent on mileage, maintenance history, and overall condition. Given the car's rarity and the brand's prestigious reputation, it is perhaps unsurprising that the Corniche II maintains a high resale value. This Rolls-Royce Corniche II review will throw more light on this highly successful icon from the British automaker.
The name "Corniche" first appeared in 1939 on a prototype designed by George Paulin. Tragically, this visionary car and all its records were likely lost during World War II. In 1971, the name was revived for the two-door versions of the Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow, solidifying its association with open-air grandeur. The Rolls-Royce Corniche II is a luxury car that is the successor to the Corniche I, which was in production from 1971 to 1985. It debuted at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 1981 and was manufactured from then till 1989. Rolls-Royce marketed it as an exclusive and luxurious vehicle for the elite. The Corniche II is available in two models: the coupé and the convertible. Both models were powered by a 6.75-liter V8 engine, producing about 240 horsepower. The car had a top speed of 120 mph and could go from 0 to 60 mph in 10 seconds. During its production run, a total of 1,234 Corniche II cars were made, with 968 coupés and 266 convertibles. The car was mainly sold in Europe and North America, with some models also exported to the Middle East and Asia. In its heyday, it was a popular choice among celebrities, businessmen, and other wealthy individuals. It is often seen as a symbol of success and luxury, with its impeccable design and high-quality engineering. While maintaining the elegant styling of its predecessor, it marked a turning point with the inclusion of anti-lock brakes (ABS) – a crucial safety feature for a high-performance luxury car. The interior saw advancements like redesigned seats, revised instrumentation, etc. Later models even benefitted from air conditioning enhancements. These seemingly small gestures reflected Rolls-Royce's commitment to elevating the driving experience of a car that heavy spenders generally accepted.
The Corniche II embraced a single-engine configuration throughout its production: a majestic 6.75L V8, codenamed L410I. The Corniche II's engine produced 237 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque. This gave the car effortless acceleration and graceful cruising. This aluminum-alloy powerhouse featured cast iron cylinder liners for durability and twin-branch exhaust manifolds for efficient gas flow. Fuel injection, a first for the Corniche series, is entrusted to the Bosch KE/K-Jetronic system, ensuring smooth operation and improved fuel economy. Tipping the scales at around 5,200 pounds, it dispatched the 0-60 mph dash in a respectable 8.5 seconds, propelled by the unrelenting surge of V8 torque. With the wind whipping through its open cockpit, the Corniche II could reach a top speed of 120 mph – more than enough to experience the exhilaration of open-air driving in supreme comfort. While not a primary concern for Rolls-Royce owners, the Corniche II managed around 15 mpg/city and 20 mpg/highway. Compared to the earlier Corniche models equipped with carburetors, the fuel-injected V8 offered smoother power delivery and improved responsiveness, enhancing the overall driving experience. While raw speed isn't the Corniche II's major strength, its performance is no slouch. A glance at its siblings reveals subtle differences. The Bentley Corniche, sharing the same platform, boasted a slightly higher compression ratio, resulting in 5 more horsepower for a total of 242 hp. However, the driving experience remained remarkably similar, showcasing the shared DNA of these grand tourers. Beyond the Rolls-Royce family, competitors like the Bentley Mulsanne Turbo and the Mercedes-Benz 560SEC offered similar power figures. However, none could quite match Rolls-Royce's effortless nature, and the feeling of gliding down the road enveloped in refined luxury. The Corniche’s V8 employed proven technology, prioritizing reliability and smoothness over cutting-edge advancements. Its longevity is remarkable, with many Corniche II engines still running strong decades after they rolled off the production line. Regular maintenance and care, as expected with any Rolls-Royce, were key to ensuring this engine's enduring performance.
The Rolls-Royce Corniche II has an undeniably luxurious interior. Each part of the interior is meticulously designed to indulge you whenever you step into it. Let's start with its Nardi steering wheel. This refined steering is crafted from genuine wood and leather, and it offers. Its slim profile and precise calibration provide confident control when you're driving. Behind the steering wheel are the car's precision gauges housed in polished wood bezels. They display essential vehicle information clearly and elegantly. From the speedometer and tachometer to the fuel and temperature gauges, everything is readable and looks premium. The Corniche II's seats are handcrafted from the finest Connolly leather, and they're supple and inviting to the touch. There's generous padding and ample adjustability, including electric lumbar support. The dashboard is home to rich wood veneers that are meticulously polished and matched. The wood design flows seamlessly across the expanse, contrasting beautifully with the supple leather materials. This fusion of natural materials created a warm and inviting ambiance. The center console houses a treasure trove of amenities. From the power window switches and climate control knobs to the cigar lighter and ashtray. It's worth mentioning that the air conditioning system is state-of-the-art for its time. A small hidden compartment offers discreet storage for personal belongings. While primarily a driver's car, the Corniche II offers rear seats that comfortably accommodate two adults. Though not as spacious as you'd expect, they provided ample legroom and headroom for short journeys or leisurely cruises. The spacious trunk is ready to swallow generous amounts of luggage for when you need to travel. Noise levels are low in the Corniche II, thanks to the meticulous soundproofing of the interior. The engine's purr is kept at bay, and road noise is also minimal.
The Corniche II's exterior embraced the classic Rolls-Royce design of restrained lines and an imposing presence. It retained the flowing curves and graceful proportions of its predecessor, the Silver Shadow, while introducing subtle updates that mirrored the evolving tastes of the 1980s. The front of the Corniche II exuded a regal air. The iconic Rolls-Royce grille, a vertical slab of chrome adorned with the Spirit of Ecstasy hood ornament, stands out. It undeniably commands respect and admiration. Beside it are the rectangular quad headlights with the elegance that contrasts with the bold chrome surround. Below them are the carefully placed fog lights that finish off the Corniche's front fascia. The rear of the Corniche II is home to the elongated tail lights housed in chrome casings. There are dual tailpipes beneath the rear bumper that let out that subtle V8 growl from the car's engine. The Rolls Royce badge sits at the center of the rear, drawing attention to the hood, which is spacious enough to take your luggage as you travel. The Corniche II carries the same elegance to its side profile. There's a long, graceful line that flows seamlessly from the front to the rear, creating a smooth silhouette. Chrome trim adorns the window frames and door handles, adding a touch of brilliance to the car's overall understated demeanor. The doors, heavy and substantial, swing open with a satisfying click to offer effortless entry and exit. The Corniche II came equipped with wide tires, providing a confident grip and handling. Electrically adjustable mirrors, nestled discreetly on the door panels, offered excellent rear visibility, ensuring safe and comfortable cruising. The Rolls-Royce Corniche II's exterior is more than just a collection of panels and chrome. Every detail, from the imposing grille to the tail lights, speaks volumes about the car's heritage and craftsmanship.
While the Rolls-Royce Corniche II is primarily revered for its opulent design and unparalleled comfort, it isn't devoid of technological advancements. Although not a tech-laden car compared to modern standards, it incorporated features that significantly improved the driving experience. It features Anti-lock Brakes (ABS) and is among the first Rolls-Royce cars to offer ABS as standard equipment. Also, unlike its carburetted predecessors, the Corniche II embraced Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection. This system delivered fuel more precisely and efficiently, resulting in improved power delivery, smoother engine operation, and potentially better fuel economy. Rolls-Royce also added electric windows and seats to the car to allow for effortless adjustment. And for a car in the mid-80s, the Corniche II boasted a state-of-the-art climate control system that ensured you ride in top-notch comfort. Other tech features included cruise control, a power convertible top, and a radio/cassette player.
Owning a Rolls-Royce Corniche II is a unique experience, and its price reflects its historical significance and unparalleled luxury. Like any used car, the price of a Rolls-Royce Corniche II can vary significantly based on several factors like condition, mileage, year, trim, etc. Generally, you should expect to pay between $25,000 and $80,000 for a used Corniche II. Pristine examples with low mileage and impeccable condition can fetch upwards of $100,000. The Rolls-Royce Corniche II was offered in only one official trim level. However, some coachbuilders like Mulliner and Vanden Plas created bespoke versions with unique design elements and interior appointments, potentially affecting their value.
The Rolls-Royce Corniche II is a rolling sanctuary of hand-stitched leather, whisper-quiet refinement, and effortless V8 power. The Corniche II continues to capture hearts and turn heads even today. Owning a piece of this legacy might seem like a distant dream, but what if we told you it's closer than you think? Here at Exotic Car Trader, we take the stress out of buying and selling used exotic cars, including majestic Rolls-Royces. Our simple online platform connects you with a global network of passionate car enthusiasts, making the buying and selling process smooth and transparent. In summary, the Rolls-Royce Corniche II embodied the best of Rolls-Royce, offering unparalleled comfort, the required performance, and an unmistakable presence on the road.
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