1979 Rolls-Royce Corniche Convertible

Upon introduction in October 1965, the Silver Shadow marked a revolution as the first Rolls-Royce model with unitary construction, disc brakes all around, and hydraulic self-leveling rear suspension. Standard factory bodywork was handsomely styled and impeccably built, hastening the end of the time-honored British custom coachbuilding industry. However, for more demanding buyers seeking greater exclusivity, the Silver Shadow line also included a limited production hardtop coupe and cabriolet, designed by Bill Allen and hand-built by Rolls-Royce coachbuilding subsidiary, Mulliner Park Ward. As Britain's most expensive automobiles at launch, these beauties were given their own unique identity in 1971 and named 'Corniche' after the exotic roads along the French Cote d'Azur.

The Corniche Coupe was eventually discontinued in 1982, with the glamorous convertible remaining in production through 1996. From introduction, the Corniche was an instantly recognizable cultural icon, prompting buyers to gladly wait up to four years to take delivery! Providing greater performance than the basic Silver Shadow, the 6.75L V8 engine of the Corniche was tuned to some 218hp with a revised camshaft profile and larger-diameter exhaust system, although Rolls-Royce refused to publicly advertise official power ratings. While luxuriously equipped, trimmed in leather upholstery, and weighing about 5,000 pounds, the Corniche is a very capable performer with acceleration from rest to 60 mph in less than 10 seconds and a top speed beyond 120 mph.

Numbered DRK50199, this 1979 Rolls-Royce Corniche Convertible is undoubtedly one of the finest in existence and currently available with fully known and documented provenance and just 32k miles of use from new. According to copies of original factory documents on file, DRK50199 was completed in May of 1979 and shipped new to the United States via the Port of Los Angeles where it arrived on January 14, 1980. As documented in the file accompanying the car, some paint work was performed under factory direction following shipment. The Corniche was next sold new to the original owner at Rolls-Royce of Beverly Hills with a sticker price of $140k, plus another $925 for the optional Dark Brown leather-covered top, knee roll, and console.

DRK50199 represents the most desirable model year for the Corniche, which received unique changes to its rear suspension. This was a trial of the changes intended for the upcoming Silver Spirit, as it had already been decided to continue Corniche production when the Silver Shadow was replaced, so the lower volume two-door models were both an ideal proving ground that was worth upgrading. New gas struts, a revised trailing arm geometry, and slight changes to the track and wheelbase (now officially 120.5 inches), plus upgrades to both the spring length and rate led to noticeable improvements in both ride and handling without any loss of refinement or stability.

We first purchased the car to become its fourth owner in 1998 at 8,859 miles and subsequently sold it to a gentleman in Detroit. We repurchased the car in 2010 at just 10,534 miles, and sold it to the next owner in Seattle, Washington, who drove the vehicle sparingly, yet at the optimal amount to preserve its excellent operating order. We have now bought the car back and are offering it to a new collector and enthusiast to enjoy and appreciate, complete with factory-issued books/manuals, plus tools and a California title document.

This exceptionally original and rare 1979 Rolls-Royce Corniche Convertible is a prime, collector-grade example on every possible level, with only 32k seller-stated miles currently. Documentation is simply impressive, starting from copies of original factory records, the original window sticker, warranty records, service receipts, and ownership paperwork. Sporting highly attractive factory paint, trim, and upholstery, plus low-mile mechanicals, DRK50199 remains true to its impeccable heritage and comes from a seller who has owned it three times over its lifetime – the hallmark of the intrinsic desirability and integrity of this very fine Corniche. As such, DRK50199 is truly ready for a new owner/collector to own, enjoy, and appreciate.

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