Weekend Edition Quick Hit – A 1986 Rolls Royce Camargue on eBay; The Italian Job of British Luxury!

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It is very rare that you see a Rolls Royce with Italian Coachwork come up for sale, but here you go. This is one of only 531 models built, with bodies built by the Italian design firm of Pinninfarina. This was the most expensive car built during it’s time period (with a US price of $147,000 which is equivalent to $600,000 today…) with parts that are truly unobtainable today. So is this Roller as special as it seems?

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I think I will let the listing speak for itself…

The Camargue was the Rolls-Royce’s flagship and the most expensive production car in the world. At its official U.S. launch, the Camargue had already been on sale in the UK for over a year. The New York Times made much of the fact that the U.S. price at this stage was approximately $15,000 higher than the UK price. In the 1970s, many European models retailed for significantly less in the U.S. than they did in Europe in order to compete with prices set aggressively by “Detriot’s Big Three” and Japanese importers. The manufacturer rejected this approach with the Camargue, referencing the high cost of safety and pollution engineering needed to adapt the few cars (approximately 30 per year) it expected to send to North America in 1976.
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The Camargue shares its platform with the Rolls-Royce Corniche and Silver Shadow. It is powered by the same 6.75 litre V8 engine as the Silver Shadow, though the Camargue is slightly more powerful. The transmission was also carried over — a GM turbo-hydramatic 3-speed transmission. The first 65 Camargues produced used SU carburetors, with the remaining using Solex units; whilst American specification cars utilising fuel injection as implemented in the Silver Spirit series. These are rare. The Camargue was fitted with the Silver Shadow II’s power rack and pinion steering rack in February 1977. In 1979, it received the hydraulic and suspension system of the Silver Spirit.
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With a 3048 mm (120 in) wheelbase, the Camargue was the first Rolls-Royce automobile to be designed to metric dimensions, and was the first Rolls-Royce to feature an inclined rather than perfectly vertical grille; the Camargue’s grille slants at an inclined angle of seven degrees. It is also the widest Rolls-Royce grille manufactured.
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This beautiful 1986 is the last year of its manufacture Rolls-Royce Camargue – finished in Silver Sand with hand-painted chocolate fine-lines to the waist-rail. The interior is finished in its original chocolate Connolly hides with contrasting cream (light tan) piping. The rugs follow the same theme. This is a 1 owner* Canadian delivered example (exactly the same specification to the US) and so reads in kilometres; 103,000 which translates to a low 64,000 miles. A very clean, very straight and entirely original presentation throughout. As testimony, we did not even clean under the hood for the photos. This is how she came to us. As importantly, it has been maintained meticulously.

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The asking price for this unusual Rolls is $88,000 which isn’t really off the mark at all. I can’t afford it, but I’m sure someone will… Just look at that interior. There is one thing that looks a bit odd to my eye though, and that’s the vinyl roof… I am not sure if Pinninfarina designed the car to have one installed… What do you think? See the listing here: [sc:ebay itemid=”251776644518″ linktext=”1986 Rolls-Royce Camargue ” ]
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  1. smalleyxb122 Avatar

    It may have been made by Pininfarina, but it looks more Bertone to me. I think it reminds me of a (much, much nicer) 262. Hell, for all I know, Rolls Royce went to Pininfarina and said "You see what Bertone did to this Volvo? Something like that, but to a Rolls Royce standard."

    1. Gwilson Avatar

      I was thinking the same thing!

    2. hubba Avatar

      Actually styled by Pininfarina, but built by R-R (MPW).
      The style was Pininfarina's theme du jour applied to Shadow hard points, as seen to much better effect on the Fiat 130 coupe.
      IIRC, the deal that Rolls made was that Pininfarina would supply the design for free if Rolls built it as designed.
      Rolls' car division was coming out of the R-R corporate bankruptcy when this car was released, and still nearly broke. Camargue wasn't intended to be a volume piece (see the original price), but it attracted attention and made the standard Shadow look like a bargain by comparison; job done.

  2. skitter Avatar

    Nice backseat.

  3. Sjalabais Avatar

    Jim, you should do "foreign weekends" more often – what a great selection! I loved the Camargue as a boy, inexplicable for the other kids who had posters of Countaches and vaguely neon Porsches and Ferraris on their walls. The Roller did fit well with the Volvo 240s and all-new 850s on my walls, though.
    Today, I don't really see this love anymore – pretty awkward lines, especially the lustless rear end. But the interior does still look stunning…imagine how this gorgeous arrangement of leather and wood would improve the everyday commute.

    1. Maxichamp Avatar

      Agreed on more "foreign weekends".

  4. Mr Smee Avatar
    Mr Smee

    From the A-pillar back it looks a lot like a 1978 Caprice Classic coupe.

    1. MrDPR Avatar

      That rear quarter shot had me immediately thinking boxy Chevy

      1. Maxichamp Avatar

        Are those rear lights one-offs for just this car?

        1. Rover_1 Avatar


    2. hubba Avatar

      The cut off tail is very 77-79 Chevy. The roofline is 77-79 Pontiac and LeSabre.
      GM Design was heavily influenced by Pininfarina in the 70s. Bill Mitchell:
      "If you're gonna rob, rob Tiffany, not Woolworth."

  5. ellande Avatar

    On the vinyl roof, I am not an expert but here's one I found for sale in the UK for £39,500 = approx. $56,000. It doesn't have a vinyl roof. I don't know if it was something they put on the american ones or just an option that this one doesn't have.
    <img src="http://www.carandclassic.co.uk/uploads/cars/rolls_royce/4841129.jpg&quot; width="600">
    here's the link where it's for sale

    1. Gwilson Avatar

      The vinyl roof really doesn't look bad, though. I'm not a huge fan of these, but it was pretty tastefully done.

    2. salguod Avatar

      A Google image search revealed a few vinyl roofs, but most were without.

  6. david42 Avatar

    I never understood these. Such a bland generic design as the top-of-the range from a manufacturer renowned for beautiful coachwork. And the interior, though made of the usual world-class leather and wood, is marred with a utilitarian cockpit-themed dashboard that would make more sense in a 1950's era cargo plane. And for a price that makes today's Rollers look like a bargain. I can see why their usual buyers stayed away.

    1. hubba Avatar

      The Shadow hard points (bulkhead, etc) mess up the proportions. However, the design theme was cutting edge in the 70s. The best interpretation of this Pininfarina theme was the Fiat 130 coupe.

  7. C³-Cool Cadillac Cat Avatar
    C³-Cool Cadillac Cat

    Rare, sure, but I'd much rather throw the dice…repeatedly…on a 1991 Bentley turbo R.
    I mean, how many fortunes could the left headlamp door possibly cost?!

    1. salguod Avatar

      My boss' father in law has a late 90s Bentley Turbo RT, one of 252 made. Beautiful car in a dark metallic green with tan interior, silly fast and super comfy. Hard to imagine they were $211K new. I think he said he paid somewhere around 15% of that.

      1. Sjalabais Avatar

        That sounds a lot like living the dream. How many percentage points have since gone into maintenance?

        1. salguod Avatar

          Not sure, but I didn't get the impression that it's needed much – yet.
          He generously let my boss bring several of us over to see his small, but impressive, collection. He's got 4 pre-war Rolls Royces (a Silver Ghost, a Phantom with a fabric body and a Twenty with a parts car), a pair of 80's Benz SECs, the Bentley and a 550 Maranello. He bought us lunch, told us about them and then took us for rides in the Bently and Ferrari.
          Best work lunch ever.

          1. Sjalabais Avatar

            Wow, in my mind, that's no small collection at all. As a public employee I figure such a work lunch will never happen to me. 😀

          2. salguod Avatar

            Yeah, I was thinking small in number, but I guess that's eight not-so-insignificant cars. 😀
            His daily driver is a 2005 (I think) S55 AMG, which I think sits outside for lack of garage space. :-/

          3. Sjalabais Avatar

            An acquired taste! Cars of this caliber are incredibly rare around here.

  8. Van_Sarockin Avatar

    Well, that would be one cushy ride, and I doubt your neighbor has one just like it. But I never thought it was all that distinguished looking, and it didn't really chart any new territory in technology or luxury. But, if you like the car, and can afford to buy it, there's an even chance you might be able to afford to keep it running. Nice as the condition is, it'll always need something, and it looks like the dash burl has started to crack. Good luck with that.

    1. hubba Avatar

      The labor to keep a 40 year old car running might be high, but parts from Shadows, Spirits, and the corresponding Bentleys are readily available, at a price. Shadows and Spirits often get parted out and junked when they need paint, rust repairs, or because the interior is bad; at that point, they're worth more dead than alive. As long a Camargue or Corniche is much more valuable than the corresponding sedan, repairs shouldn't be a killer to such an owner.

  9. Batshitbox Avatar

    That piping is too busy looking for my tastes. Dark with light piping just looks TRON-ish to me. Evidently that was the more subdued option for the interior, though…
    <img src="http://blog.hemmings.com/wp-content/uploads//2010/12/camargue6.jpg&quot; width="400/">
    Are there two glove boxes or is one full of booze or something? Sidearms? Car phone?

    1. Vairship Avatar

      That's where Q-department put their stuff.

  10. stigshift Avatar

    Three of my favorite cars, the Fiat 130 coupe, Ferrari 400, and Bitter SC, have bodies very similar to this proportionately. Those three, however, are very pretty…

  11. Rover_1 Avatar

    Not just Pininfarina, but Paolo Martin, then working for Pininfarina. http://www.paolomartindesigner.com/car.htm or http://www.carbodydesign.com/tag/paolo-martin/ He also designed the Fiat 130 Coupe
    <img src="http://www.fiat130.it/130cdep3750.jpg&quot; width="600">
    <img src="http://www.alfabb.com/bb/forums/attachments/other-italian-cars/147156d1249258356-fiat-130-coupe-3200-130cdep2750.jpg&quot; width="600">
    And the Ferrari Modulo
    <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/5c/Ferrari_Modulo_and_wooden_frame_Museo_Ferrari.jpg&quot; width="600">
    <img src="http://www.madle.org/pmmodulo03.jpg&quot; width="600">
    And then… somehow… something happened and he designed…. this (long after leaving Pininfarina.)
    <img src="http://www.madle.org/bsb34.JPG&quot; width="600">
    The Stutz Royale, on a theme by Virgil Exner. Almost as if he didn't want anyone to think that the Camargue had been some sort of lapse and would be remembered as his worst car.

    1. Lokki Avatar

      I don't want to speculate that drugs were involved in the design process for this thing but I will note that There is nothing more irresponsible and depraved than a man in the depths of an ether binge…

    2. stigshift Avatar

      Either Virgil Exner was a pro-pimp sympathizer, or Ike Turner designed that…

      1. wunno sev Avatar
        wunno sev

        a pimpathizer

  12. Jtc Avatar

    Do my eyes deceive me or is there a buckle receptacle for a mid lap belt in the rear? Getting the hump in a Rolls would be unique.

  13. LTDScott Avatar

    Huh, I didn't know they built these long enough to require a CHMSL.

  14. karonetwentyc Avatar

    Being completely honest, I am a total and utter non-fan of the Bentley T-Type / Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow. They're not bad cars by any stretch of the imagination, but they've just never held any appeal for me either. Cars either side of this one from both marques capture my attention in a way that these don't.
    That said, I have a serious love for the Camargue, particularly the convertible. If I could find a coupe in deep black with a red interior, I would have to seriously restrain myself from tinting the windows absolutely black and anodise all of the chrome black. There is no good reason for wanting to do this, but it somehow seems right.

    1. karonetwentyc Avatar

      Gah. I just realised that I confused the Camargue convertibles with the Corniche convertible. In any event, I'm still not a fan of the standard-bodied Shadow, but would also have a Corniche drophead.
      Really, I just need both.

  15. KLR Avatar

    FWIW, $147k in 1986 is worth only $317k today, not $600k. The current crop of Rollers (and Ferraris, etc.) are quite a bit more expensive in real dollars than their predecessors.

  16. Rodd Sala Avatar
    Rodd Sala

    Eveflex roofs became an option and in fact were regularly done after 1982