Feb 282013
 
Corniche II 1988 JCH23089 V

Ever since I was young, I have always wanted to own a Rolls-Royce.  There was always something about the grill and mascot that made me nuts, and one day soon, I plan to make good on my promise and finally become a Rolls-Royce owner.  Here then, are two of my favorites: Silver Shadow and Corniche.  I hope you enjoy it.

The Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow was introduced in 1965, and produced in one form or another until 1980.  This is the most successful Rolls-Royce ever made, with over 38,000 cars built.  The line included three sister cars, Corniche, Silver Wraith, and Camargue, with the Corniche remaining in production until 1996.

The car replaced the aging Silver Cloud, and originally named the Silver Mist (until they discovered that “mist” is a German word for manure).  It was designed by John Polwhele Blatchley, who was the same man that designed the Silver Dawn, Silver Cloud, and the engine cowling on the British fighters, Hurricane and Spitfire.

The car featured a V8, first with 172hp, and then with 189hp, just enough to waft gently down the motorway.  The Rolls-Royce R engine once held the world speed record on land, in the air, and on water.  In fact, Rolls-Royce now builds nuclear reactors for Astute class nuclear submarines, which never require refueling.  One of the main features of the car was a self-leveling hydraulic suspension licensed from Citroen, which gave the Rolls-Royce its famous ride.

The Rolls-Royce is the only car foretold by Nostradamus (1548), “From Albion’s shore shall come a marvelous conveyance, a carriage silincieux (silent) bearing the arms of Rolles De Roi.”  It is said that 6 out of 10 Rolls-Royce cars built are still roadworthy, and that a Rolls-Royce never breaks down, it “fails to proceed.”  The Rolls-Royce is so quiet; sometimes the only way to tell if it is running is to feel heat on the bonnet.  It is also famous for its advertisement that stated, “At 60 miles an hour the loudest noise in this new Rolls-Royce comes from the electric clock,” partly because of an excessively loud clock, and partly because of the extra sound insulation.

Of course, the grill is one of the most prominent parts of the automobile, and it takes a full day to build it, by hand and eye, without the use of measuring devices.  The mascot is technically called the “Spirit of Ecstasy” and sculpted by Charles Robinson Sykes, using the mistress of the Second Lord Montague of Beaulieu as a model.  It has changed several times over the years, including a kneeling version for the USA made, Springfield MA built cars.  No two are alike.  Affectionately known as “Nellie in her Nighty,” or the “Flying Lady,” the statue is the crown jewel on the car.

Leather inside the car is from Connelly, and chosen from mature bulls raised in areas without barbed wired fences, so there are no marks on the hides.  The animals are kept in conditions as close to their natural habitat as possible, to reduce stress.  A total of 15-18 cows must sacrifice themselves just for one interior.  The interior wood is usually burled walnut or Carpathian Elm, at least 100 years old and chosen specifically for the grain.  Veneers are from a single tree, and the grain is book matched, the right and left grain structures are mirror images of each other.

Rolls-Royce is “The Best Car in the World,” due to its attention to quality, technology, and choice of materials.  There is nothing else that even comes close to it.  Not many people in the world will ever own one, but for the price of a new Mazda 3, you can find an excellent “pre-owned” example for your collection.  No other car matches the style or class of a Rolls-Royce motorcar.

Article courtesy of Chris Raymond
Photos courtesy of theroadrunner.wordpress.com, rrsilvershadow.com, bahmancars.ch, and Google images


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