The Rolls-Royce Corniche is an automobile that was produced by Rolls-Royce from 1971 to 1995. It was offered as a two door coupé and as a two door convertible.

The Corniche was a development of the Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow, with the two door variants of that model marketed as the “Silver Shadow Mulliner Park Ward two door fixed head coupé & drop head coupé” from 1966 until 1971 when the Corniche name was applied. The exterior design was by John Polwhele Blatchley.[citation needed] The model was assembled and finished in London at Mulliner Park Ward as continuation of the 1965 Silver Shadow coupe and 1967 drophead, with the Corniche name applied in March 1971. The Corniche was also sold as a Bentley, though that model became known as the Continental in 1984.

The first car to wear the Corniche name was a 1939 prototype based on the Bentley Mark V which was never produced because of the onset of World War II.

Original Corniche.

Although the 1971 Corniche was the first car of that name that the company sold, the “Corniche” name had been registered by Rolls-Royce in the 1930s. The original Corniche was a prototype based on the Bentley Mark V featuring coachwork by the Paris firm, Carrosserie Vanvooren.[1] The single car undertook 15,000 miles (24,000 km) of endurance testing in Continental Europe before being blown up by a bomb at Dieppe while waiting at the dockside to be shipped to England.
The Rolls-Royce Corniche was available both as a coupé and convertible.
The car used the standard Rolls-Royce V8 engine. It had an aluminium-silicon alloy block and aluminium cylinder heads with cast iron wet cylinder liners. The bore was 4.1 in (104.1 mm) and the stroke was 3.9 in (99.1 mm) for a total of 6.75 L (6,750 cc/411 cuin). Twin SU carburettors were initially fitted, but were replaced with the “horribly complex” single Solex 4A1 four-barrel carburettor introduced in 1977.[5] Desmogged export models retained the twin SU’s until 1980, when Bosch fuel injection was added.

A three-speed automatic transmission (a Turbo Hydramatic 350 sourced from General Motors) was standard. A four-wheel independent suspension with coil springs was augmented with a hydraulic self-levelling system (using the same system as did Citroën, but without pneumatic springs, and with the hydraulic components built under licence by Rolls-Royce), at first on all four, but later on the rear wheels only. Four wheel disc brakes were specified, with ventilated discs added for 1972.

The car originally used a 119.75 in (3,042 mm) wheelbase. This was extended to 120 in (3,048 mm) in 1974 and 120.5 in (3,061 mm) in 1979.

The car was mildly revised in the spring of 1977. Difference included rack-and-pinion steering,[6] alloy and rubber bumpers, aluminium radiator, oil cooler and a bi-level air conditioning system was added. Later changes included a modified rear independent suspension in March 1979. In March 1981, after the Silver Spirit had gone on sale, the Coupé version of the Corniche and its Bentley sister were discontinued.[4] For 1985 there were also cosmetic and interior changes.

Corniche models received Bosch KE/K-Jetronic fuel injection in 1977.[6] This engine, called the L410I, produced
approximately 240 PS (177 kW) at just above 4,000 rpm for a top speed of 190 kilometres per hour (118 mph).[7]
The Bentley version was updated in July 1984 with a new name, the Continental,[8] revised and color-coded bumpers, rear view mirrors, a new dash and improvements to the seats.[4]
Production totalled 1090 Rolls Royce Corniche Saloons, 3239 Rolls Royce Corniche Convertibles, 69 Bentley Corniche Saloons and 77 Bentley Corniche Convertibles.