The property of James May,1972 Rolls-Royce Corniche Coupé  Chassis no. CRH12347
Lot 68
The property of James May
1972 Rolls-Royce Corniche Coupé
Coachwork by H J Mulliner, Park Ward Ltd.
Sold for £ 41,400 (US$ 53,948) inc. premium

Lot Details
The property of James May,1972 Rolls-Royce Corniche Coupé  Chassis no. CRH12347 The property of James May,1972 Rolls-Royce Corniche Coupé  Chassis no. CRH12347 The property of James May,1972 Rolls-Royce Corniche Coupé  Chassis no. CRH12347 The property of James May,1972 Rolls-Royce Corniche Coupé  Chassis no. CRH12347 The property of James May,1972 Rolls-Royce Corniche Coupé  Chassis no. CRH12347 The property of James May,1972 Rolls-Royce Corniche Coupé  Chassis no. CRH12347 The property of James May,1972 Rolls-Royce Corniche Coupé  Chassis no. CRH12347 The property of James May,1972 Rolls-Royce Corniche Coupé  Chassis no. CRH12347 The property of James May,1972 Rolls-Royce Corniche Coupé  Chassis no. CRH12347 The property of James May,1972 Rolls-Royce Corniche Coupé  Chassis no. CRH12347 The property of James May,1972 Rolls-Royce Corniche Coupé  Chassis no. CRH12347 The property of James May,1972 Rolls-Royce Corniche Coupé  Chassis no. CRH12347 The property of James May,1972 Rolls-Royce Corniche Coupé  Chassis no. CRH12347 The property of James May,1972 Rolls-Royce Corniche Coupé  Chassis no. CRH12347 The property of James May,1972 Rolls-Royce Corniche Coupé  Chassis no. CRH12347 The property of James May,1972 Rolls-Royce Corniche Coupé  Chassis no. CRH12347 The property of James May,1972 Rolls-Royce Corniche Coupé  Chassis no. CRH12347 The property of James May,1972 Rolls-Royce Corniche Coupé  Chassis no. CRH12347 The property of James May,1972 Rolls-Royce Corniche Coupé  Chassis no. CRH12347 The property of James May,1972 Rolls-Royce Corniche Coupé  Chassis no. CRH12347 The property of James May,1972 Rolls-Royce Corniche Coupé  Chassis no. CRH12347 The property of James May,1972 Rolls-Royce Corniche Coupé  Chassis no. CRH12347 The property of James May,1972 Rolls-Royce Corniche Coupé  Chassis no. CRH12347 The property of James May,1972 Rolls-Royce Corniche Coupé  Chassis no. CRH12347 The property of James May,1972 Rolls-Royce Corniche Coupé  Chassis no. CRH12347 The property of James May,1972 Rolls-Royce Corniche Coupé  Chassis no. CRH12347 The property of James May,1972 Rolls-Royce Corniche Coupé  Chassis no. CRH12347 The property of James May,1972 Rolls-Royce Corniche Coupé  Chassis no. CRH12347
The property of James May
1972 Rolls-Royce Corniche Coupé
Coachwork by H J Mulliner, Park Ward Ltd.

Registration no. DBD 999K
Chassis no. CRH12347
*Iconic modern Grande Routière
*One of 780 'Series I' coupés made
*Present ownership since 2007
*Well maintained
*Comprehensive history file

Footnotes

  • 'The name Corniche has been chosen for the latest coachbuilt models because it symbolises their higher cruising speeds and their ability to cover greater distances with the minimum of fatigue for driver and passengers.' - Rolls-Royce.

    Rolls-Royce's 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 floor pan. Recalling the firm's glamorous Grandes Routières 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 MPW's 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. In Corniche form Rolls-Royce's well-tried 6.7-litre V8 produced around 10% more power than standard and proved capable of propelling the car to a top speed in excess of 120mph with sports car-beating acceleration to match.
    Despite its sky-high asking price, the model proved a major success for Rolls-Royce; periodically revised and up-dated, it remained in production well into the 1990s, the last (Convertible) examples being delivered in 1995.

    First registered in March 1972, this early Corniche Coupé has belonged to motoring journalist and former Top Gear co-presenter James May since July 2007. Its purchase fulfilled a long-held ambition for James, whose infatuation with the model had begun back in 1988 when, driving through town, he signalled a silver-grey Corniche to join the queue of traffic in front of him. The lady driver gestured her thanks by waving a silk-gloved hand. James told the Financial Times: 'As perfect moments go, it could only be improved if she'd been smoking a Sobranie in a Bakelite and ivory cigarette holder. I've wanted a Corniche ever since.'

    In a televised Top Gear shoot-out between James's Corniche and Jeremy Clarkson's Mercedes 600 Grosser, the Corniche proved, in James's words, 'Utterly superior in every way; technology, performance, style and acceptability, not least because the Grosser was favoured by tin-pot dictators. That would still seem to be the case.'

    Sadly for James, he has discovered that he is 'slightly allergic' to something in the car's interior, hence the decision to sell.

    'DBD 999K' comes with a most extensive history file from new, including all bills for servicing and repairs carried out during James's ownership. The file also contains a photographic record of restoration work carried out in the 1990s. We are advised that the car is in generally very good condition, with rot-free chassis, leak-free engine and gearbox, all electrics working, and a nicely patinated original interior. James has (in the past month) spent £2,000 on a full service, a brake disc skim, and a precautionary steering-box overhaul, in preparation for the sale. Presented in generally very good condition, this much-loved Corniche comes complete with owner's wallet containing the instruction manual and service booklet; tools, jack and battery charger (in boot); current MoT certificate; and a V5C Registration Certificate showing three former keepers.
Activities
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