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Car Tales: Meet On The Ledge, Rolls Royce Corniche II Convertible

‘Although derived from the Italian ‘cornice’, which means ‘ledge’, the French word ‘corniche’, especially when employed in the phrase ‘route à corniche’, more suitably sums up our purposes. For ‘route à corniche’ means ‘road on a ledge’: in other words, a road on the side of a cliff or mountain, on which the ground rises on one side and falls away on the other.


1986 Rolls-Royce Corniche II Convertible for sale
‘On the French Riviera, on the Mediterranean, there is a trio of legendary corniche roads of the Cote d’Azur: the Corniche Inferieure which runs directly along the coast; the Moyenne Corniche, which runs slightly inland; and the Grande Corniche, which rides along the upper cliffs.
‘The Grande Corniche features significantly in film director Alfred Hitchcock’s masterly 1955 movie To Catch a Thief, starring Cary Grant and Grace Kelly; Grace Kelly, of course, would soon find herself moving to the neighborhood when the next year she married Prince Rainier III, becoming Princess of Monaco.
1986 Rolls-Royce Corniche II Convertible side view
‘So we are talking royalty here, a concept never far from the mind when considering the Rolls Royce Corniche II Convertible, perhaps the crowning (ahem!) achievement of all Rolls Royce motor-cars, simultaneously King and Queen of the quintessentially luxurious marque and collectible from the very start.
‘At the moment at Beverly Hills Car Club we have such a regal automobile, a 1986 Rolls-Royce Corniche II Convertible featuring coachwork by Mulliner Park Ward and finished in a color scheme of black combined with a beautiful tan interior.
‘Equipped with an automatic transmission, V8 engine, power steering, dual exhaust outlets, side marker lights, warning lamps panel, quad headlamps, tan convertible soft top with a matching color boot cover, chrome grille, Spirit of Ecstasy hood ornament, two-spoke steering wheel, Kumho tires, Rolls-Royce-branded hub caps, and a full-size spare tired fitted in the trunk.
‘Amenities include air conditioning, cruise control, power-adjustable front seats, power locks, locked cocktail cabinets in both doors, power mirrors & windows, Pioneer radio, digital instruments, door pockets, front/rear folding armrest, center console, cigar lighter with an ashtray, and more!
1986 Rolls-Royce Corniche II Convertible rear view
‘In addition to the equipment, this car comes with the owner’s handbook, and receipt copies totaling over $13,800 dating from April 2015 through May 2022. This elegant British classic is ready to be enjoyed and is mechanically sound.
‘The Corniche was an elegantly shaped two-door coupe – hence its sobriquet of ‘Park Ward two-door’ – derivative of the Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow and was built across five generations: Series I (1971-1987), Series II (1986-1989), Series III (1989-1993), Series IV (1992-1995), and Series V (2000-2002).
1986 Rolls-Royce Corniche II Convertible interior
‘Only 1,234 Corniche II models were built. The model was made for the US market from 1986 until 1989, when its base price was $163,000 – it was available in other markets during and after 1988.
‘The 1986 Rolls Corniche, a three-speed automatic (a Turbo Hydramatic 400) employed a standard 6.8 litre Rolls Royce V-8 engine with 16 valves, two per cylinder.
‘Aluminum alloy cylinder heads were used that delivered 256 horsepower. The suspension was independent, with front and rear coil springs.
‘The Series II Corniche was given body colored impact moldings. Integral to the manufacture of the Corniche was Mulliner Park Ward, whose architectural coachbuilding in Chiswick, West London, was that of pure artistry – Rolls Royce had acquired HJ Mulliner in 1939, and overseen a merger with Park Ward Design Studios in 1961.
‘The sophisticated bodyshell of the Corniche II Convertible – all Corniche IIs were convertibles, by the way – was entirely hand-crafted. Nowhere was the excellence of Mulliner Park Ward’s work more evident than in the case of the convertible model, which incorporated a lower waist rail.
‘The convertible’s fully automatic folding top alone was an extraordinary feat of engineering from Mulliner Park Ward, four entire working-days being taken to assemble the frame on each car. The unique structure ensured that it was devoid of any extraneous wind noise.
1986 Rolls-Royce Corniche II Convertible engine
‘When introduced in 1986 as the Corniche II, the car had undergone minor revisions: alloy and rubber bumpers had replaced the previous chrome ones. Anti-lock brakes were now standard and an oil cooler was a further addition. And new style rims were added. There was also a redesigned dash and newly-designed seats.
‘The idea was that the Rolls Royce Corniche II Convertible should provide perfect comfort. And for its time there was really nothing like it in the sphere of luxury automobiles.
‘Try it for yourself.
‘With the top down take the Rolls Royce Corniche II Convertible for a spin along the south of France’s own Grande Corniche. There is magic in the air and even more magic at your fingertips as you lightly grip the steering-wheel.
‘Who knows what may happen…
-Alex Manos, Owner
Rolls-Royce Corniche II buyer Alex Manos

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