1986 Rolls-Royce is low-mileage convertible

Farm Forum

In 1986, a Rolls-Royce Corniche II convertible was purchased by the owner of a California vineyard in Sonoma Valley. The base price was $165,000.

During the next 17 years the Royal Blue Corniche, with Magnolia leather upholstery and Magnolia pin striping, changed ownership four times, including a couple of brokers.

Washington, D.C. architect Andy Diem had long admired most models of Rolls-Royce motor cars, especially the Corniche. In late 2002 he learned that the 1986 Corniche II was available, and soon the handsome Rolls-Royce was his. The odometer had recorded a mere 45,000 miles.

Diem carefully examined his unblemished rust-free 17-foot, 3.5-inch-long prize. Beneath the hood of the Rolls he saw that the 6.75-liter V-8 engine was equipped with a Bosch K-jetronic fuel injection system. An electric fuel pump drinks from the 23.5-gallon gasoline tank at the rate of 11 to 15 miles per gallon of premium fuel. Because the car was initially sold in California it has the required California emissions package.

The 5,200-pound vehicle is capable of moving from 0-to-60 mph in an impressive 9.6 seconds. When asked about his car’s power Diem echoes the standard Rolls-Royce reply of “adequate.”

Virtually everything that can be power-assisted has been so equipped including the top, outside mirrors, steering, windows, both front seats, antenna, fuel filler door and four-wheel disc brakes.

Typical attention to minute detail affords occupants of the car a quiet, smooth and comfortable ride. There is an independent front and rear suspension, as well as front and rear anti-roll bars. The 6.3-foot-wide Corniche has a curb-to-curb turning circle of 39.8-feet with the aid of rack and pinion steering.

As the Michelin XVS 235/70 HR 15 steel-belted radial tires roll across any road surface an automatic height leveling system does what it can to contribute to the smooth ride. The twin-exhaust system with stainless steel silencers and catalytic converters dampen much of the engine noise. Open cars are usually noisier than closed cars but not the Corniche II convertible. This quiet car’s top is of Everflex material with the headliner consisting of insulated sound-deadening woolcloth.

Welcome sound can be provided by the AM/FM stereo radio with a cassette player. The flawless coachwork is by veteran supplier to Rolls-Royce, Mulliner Park Ward.

While seated behind the two-spoke leather-wrapped steering wheel the driver can observe the array of digital instrumentation. Eleven systems throughout the car are constantly monitored and if one isn’t performing properly, then a warning light on the walnut veneer dashboard alerts the driver.

For the comfort of the front seat occupants, Rolls-Royce has made the armrest adjustable in both doors. The rear of the car is equipped with five brake lights to help thwart a possible collision from the rear. Additionally, body-colored front and rear bumpers are energy-absorbing units.

The lip of each wheel arch is finished with a stainless steel protective strip. The distinctive wheel covers are a combination of polished stainless steel accented with a coordinated center color. Diem never parks too close to a curb. He says the price of a replacement wheel cover in 2006 was $1,445.

After touring around the Chesapeake Bay and a trip to Newport, R.I. the odometer currently has counted 53,000 miles. Rolls-Royce claims that the thermostat controlling the air conditioner and heater in the Corniche II could be driven from the Arctic Circle to the equator and the interior comfort level would remain constant.

Diem’s Rolls Royce has two optional extras that were offered in 1986. At $1,600 per set, he has sheepskin overlay rugs, otherwise known as floor mats. The second option consists of lockable cocktail requisites in both doors at $2,500 each. Each lighted alcove is fitted with a flask, shot glasses, corkscrew and champagne opener.

For your car to become the subject of the Classic Classics column, e-mail us your .jpeg image, plus brief details and phone number. Type “Classic Classics” in subject box and send to info@motormatters.biz. Or, send a photo (frontal 3/4 view) plus brief details and phone number to Vern Parker, 2221 Abbotsford Drive, Vienna, VA 22181.