1972 Rolls-Royce Corniche Coupé Coachwork by H J Mulliner, Park Ward Ltd Registration no. AHJ 821 Chassis no. CRH12709 Engine no. 12709
Rolls-Royces adoption of unitary construction for its new Silver Shadow and T-Series Bentley necessitated the reorganisation of in-house coachbuilder H J Mulliner, Park Ward to enable it to produce new designs on the Shadow floorpan. Recalling the firms glamorous Grands Routiers of pre-war days such as the Phantom II Continental, these final coachbuilt models were limited to just two, a two-door coupé or similar convertible, the former arriving in March 1966 and the latter in September the following year. Some of the frontal panels were shared with the standard four-door saloon, but otherwise the new bodyshells were unique, featuring a distinctive dipping upper wing line with parallel crease, and revised, more rounded posterior. Construction involved shuttling the bodyshells between the Crewe factory and MPWs Willesden plant, a necessarily lengthy process that took all of 20 weeks for the saloon and slightly longer for the more complex convertible. These exclusive cars were hand built in the best traditions of British coachbuilding using only materials of the finest quality including Wilton carpeting, Connolly hide and burr walnut veneers, such painstaking attention to detail resulting in a price some 50% higher than that of the standard Silver Shadow. Nevertheless, demand for these more glamorous alternatives to the much more numerous four-door model was strong right from the start, a state of affairs that resulted in them being given their own model name - Corniche - in March 1971. This early Corniche Coupé was purchased from P & A Wood in April 1992 by the late James Wardlaw, a longstanding and well known member of the R-REC, former committee member of the Scottish Section and custodian of the 1905 Rolls-Royce The Old Girl. It was predominantly a weekend and rally car, one of three Rolls-Royces owned at the time, but always its enthusiast owners favourite. Accompanying documentation includes P & A Woods sales invoice and details of work carried out at time of purchase. The Corniche was maintained by Mr Wardlaw, an experienced restorer of Rolls-Royce and Bentley motor cars, until his death when the responsibility passed to his grandson, who together with Bentley Glasgow has kept it in fine fettle. This car has been well looked after over the years and comes with full service history. Indeed, on examining the car for the first time Bentley Glasgows Service Manager considered it the best example of how to keep a Rolls-Royce. The brakes and suspension have been thoroughly overhauled and there has been a small amount of work done to the sills and the wheelarch bottoms, while the chassis was given a coat of paint a few years ago. Apart from a few stone chips and other minor scars, the bodywork is unblemished and overall the car is in remarkable condition for its age. A real head-turner finished in Regency Bronze with magnolia leather interior, AHJ 821 has covered a verifiable 41,798 miles from new and is presented in generally good, unrestored condition, having been carefully stored under cover in a brick-built garage. Reluctantly offered for sale, the car comes with a complete set of expired MoT certificates, current road fund licence, old/current Swansea V5 documents and fresh MoT. An inoperative rear screen de-mist is the only defect notified.