Other brands may consider themselves direct competition, but when it comes to sheer automotive decadence, nobody holds a candle to Rolls-Royce. Their hand-built cars have long been a benchmark that stand among classic names like Rolex and Chanel in the luxury hall of fame. If you were shopping for the top level Rolls Royce in 2000, the Corniche was the must-have model. Tipping the scales at over $375,000, it was the most expensive car on the roster and also the most exclusive. Just 374 were built with approximately 100 crossing the sea to U.S. shores. This 2000 Rolls Royce Corniche convertible was one of those lucky few and has seen just 27,148 miles in its lifetime. The car is also among the final batch of Rolls-Royce products produced on the historic Crewe production line which was redeveloped for Bentley use after 2002. If you’re looking for a historically significant luxury car or just a genuine Rolls Royce at less than 1/3 of the original cost, this convertible is for you.
The Corniche debuted in January 2000, marking a significant step forward in Rolls Royce design. Both the front and rear view were heavily influenced by the BMW-powered Silver Seraph while the profile has a Bentley Azure flavor to it. This example is shown in a rare combination of Silver Pearl on Stratos leather hide, making it a stand-out even among its small group of siblings. Quality construction from the factory is a given but, as a modern car driven regularly on modern roads, the body work remains respectably straight all around, topped by rich paintwork that accentuates the clean design perfectly. When the weather fails, a black wool-lined top rises from beneath the flat rear tonneau cover, providing both protection and a great contrast against the paintwork.
As a luxury car, details are everything so its certainly fair to expect some impressive ornamentation. Starting at the front end, the commanding vertical grille remains just as much of a statement piece as ever. The signature grille is topped by the familiar ‘Spirit of Ecstasy’ that has been with the company since 1911. Tip that figurine and it descends into the grille below, safe from harm. Modern lighting flanks the front view while a color-matched bumper steps in below. The side profile remains elegant in its simplicity. Aside from corner markers, turn signals, door handles, and a black pinstripe that follows the sloping body line, there is very little present to distract from the paintwork. As a modern car, items like glass and weather-stripping remain in excellent condition. The back end of the quarters are angled to accommodate the rounded taillights which sit at either side of decklid and, in the center, the license plate recess is flanked by additional lighting and topped with a chrome piece that works on the same scale as the grille. It may sound simple on paper but, spread across a 120.5-inch wheel base, this convertible has a serious presence.
Luxury and decadence are fun, but neither mean much without power. This cabriolet gets its motivation from a massive 6.75 L V8 known simply as the Six and Three-Quarter. The engine''s origins date back to the 1950s but this variant has a few modern tricks up its sleeve. The foundation is an aluminum 16-valve pushrod V8 topped by aluminum heads. Fuel is supplied by port fuel injection while a sophisticated Zytek engine control system keeps everything working in harmony. The end result is 325 hp and a whopping 544 lb-ft of torque good for 8-second 0-60 sprints and a quoted top speed of 135 mph – pretty impressive for a 6,050 lb convertible that considers performance secondary. As a relatively late-model car, the engine is mostly hidden under plastic covers but there''s no denying those Rolls Royce valve covers and the substantial Garrett turbo sticking up just beyond the engine cover. Everything presents as new and is backed by a solid service history which includes its three, four, and nine year services as well as a complete inspection and service performed February 21, 2013 by Dimmit Rolls-Royce in Tampa Bay, Florida. No questions – this car is ready for the road.
Underneath the cabriolet, the cars hand-built nature truly comes into view. There are endless assortments of lines, valves, and unique items seldom seen in lesser cars. The 6.75L is aided by a GM 4L80E four-speed automatic which channels torque back to an aluminum center section. These cars are know for ride quality and that characteristic is provided by an industrial strength factory suspension supplemented by Automatic Ride Control (ARC). The basic pieces are a wishbone front suspension and a trailing arm rear, but it certainly doesn’t stop there – even some of the body mounts appear to have shocks! The jolt-proof suspension is further aided by power assisted rack-and-pinion steering as well as heavy-duty four-wheel disc brakes. The chassis meets the ground through 245/60R17 Michelin tires that wrap around stately Rolls Royce wheels with chrome centers.
We see a lot of amazing interiors pass through the showroom. Some are technologically forward, others are simply great to look at – but few can compare to the quality of a genuine Rolls-Royce product. On the ground level, you''ll find lambs wool carpet dyed a rich black and capped off by mirror-like door sill plates. The carpet extends to the bottom of the door panels which are topped in a nice mixture of leather, chrome, and walnut veneer with cherry inlays. The woodwork carries onto the impressive dashboard which hosts a 150mph speedometer, a multi-function display, and a second round gauge that monitors the battery, oil, temperature and fuel all at once. The Alpine sound system is hidden behind a walnut-trimmed panel just above the HVAC controls that reside with a curve that connects the dash to the center console. Controls for the top and seats are there, as is a CD changer that’s hidden within the arm rest. Seating is every bit as comfortable as it looks and the Stratos leather pairs beautifully with the Silver Pearl paint outside. You won’t find obnoxious computer systems or even navigation here and, in a car this refined, you won’t miss them either.
The sale of this Corniche convertible includes it original books and manuals as well as service records.
John Keats once wrote, “A thing of beauty is a joy forever. Its loveliness increases, and it will never pass into nothingness.” Rolls-Royce used that line while marketing the Corniche II in the late 80s but the statement is equally relevant to this model. Smooth, stylish, and competent in every regard, this is a future classic and a tremendous value to boot. If it’s time to add a little luxury to your garage, don’t miss the chance to take this 2000 Rolls-Royce Corniche convertible home today.