1971 Rolls Royce Corniche Series 1 6.7

Summary:

Extravagant bargain

Faults:

Alternator replaced at 84000.

Driver's door electric lock occasionally jams.

Front windows occasionally stick - DIY easy to fix.

Rear brake/ suspension pipe leak at 87000.

Brake light bulb went at 88000. DIY replaced.

One fuse blew at 86000. DIY fix.

Rust on rear bumper/ fender.

87000 miles: One major 12000 mile service to fix and prevent all possible problems, including major rear brake overhaul & brake accumulator & pump, MOT, four new tyres, replace corroded brake pipes and part exhaust, windows etc £3500.

Needs no major further work for years, bar basic service items, wear and tear.

Would have cost double from main dealer £££!

Not cheap, but then it costs £3500 just to replace a Ferrari cambelt, so could be worse.

General Comments:

This is an incredible car. Cost about £230,000 ($500K) in today's money 1971. I got it for £13,000 ($20,000); about the cost of a Ford Focus hatchback.

Previous owners spent a fortune on it, so got it virtually rebuilt from classic dealership. Prior to my getting it, it had been sitting in a private collection unused for years.

Has huge history file and new upgraded engine that was replaced with the gearbox back in '78. Had driven only 13000 miles since then. Has numerous upgrades including mirrored cocktail cabinet in dashboard, special fitments, rear headrests, sunroof, mirrors in back, extensive rustproofing etc, all by by old owner.

Has every kind of modern gadget-electric seats, twin level aircon, etc, all done on old fashioned 60's way with acres of leather, wood and chrome.

Is an absolute beauty to own, and no regrets.

On road it's not a sports car, but a grand tourer to waft along in. Amazingly roomy and comfortable, near silent travel, apart from wind noise. Steering a bit vague, but has enormous power to keep up with modern traffic, that can shock other unsuspecting drivers who think it's slow. No one blocks its way!

Very tight turning circle, but needs a big parking spot in town as it's 17 foot long. It will do 120 mph easily. Seats four or five in great comfort.

I have burned off a few spotty Golf GTI drivers at the lights in this old beast, leaving them to sob in their cornflakes! People seem to love it, and women go weak at the knees in this car. I leave on the road, and it's never been touched, being an old classic.

Downside is of course the petrol consumption which is hideous - 8-10 in town, 14 on a run - UK gallons. Servicing by specialist only or money pit. Spares are reasonable compared to modern supercars, & can be got easily in UK from Intercontinental in Surrey, UK.

Servicing can be very expensive if neglected, and best from independent specialist, and some bits can be DIY. Spares all top quality and last years. These cars, as with all RR & Bentley, have to be driven regularly to stop the rot setting in. I have however left it for months and it always starts first time, no problems. If you want to get a RR, get the best you can afford - don't buy a resto project or you'll lose your shirt in the process. Also get it serviced regularly - don't skimp - and rustproof it thoroughly.

Very well engineered (80,000 components), but can rust to pieces, even the new ones. My mechanic tells me that the old RR from 60's and 70's are much better built than the later and new ones.

Corniches are going up in value now, so be quick - mine has nearly doubled in price in a year. Shadows are still very undervalued, but essentially the same car at half the price or less.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 13th August, 2010

22nd Aug 2011, 17:50

Wow - it sounds like you have a very nice car. Even with the repairs that you needed to do, you'll have preserved a true classic motorcoach that will serve you well.

Come to think of it - didn't James May show off his Corniche on Top Gear?