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Car of the Month Selection

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 Rolls-Royce and Bentley

Wood: Rolls-Royce and Bentley: Spirit of Excellence

Car of the Month - February 2007
Rolls-Royce Corniche IV, 1994, #CZPA1,
Drophead Coupé by Mulliner Park Ward

Rolls-Royce Corniche IV

The chassis number is, obviously, that of an Experimental car. This was the prototype of what was launched as the Rolls-Royce Corniche IV. For the Silver Spirit-specification Corniche models 'CZ' was standard R-R code. It could be that this car is the one that was involved in the 'hood ballooning' experiments - but that is unconfirmed.

Please note

  • special clips underneath the sidelights to fix a protective cover when the car was stationary somewhere with the hood down (so no-one could get a glimpse of the future model's interior details)
  • no passenger airbag but only one airbag in the steering wheel (though the series model Corniche IV were fitted with a passenger airbag, too, as standard).

Rolls-Royce Corniche IVThis car passed through all the tests perfectly well and its condition was considered to be so good that it was stamped with a unique chassis-number. A chassis number that doesn't fit with any other sequence ever used by Rolls-Royce! With a "Corniche IV" badge applied to the bootlid in 1994 this car was sold to an Italian connaisseur.

To my best knowledge this car never ever did appear in any list and might have escaped the notice of many of those who invested research in Rolls-Royce cars. Hence with the exception of but very few no-one knew about the existence of this particular car. I regret to report I didn't "discover" this one; indeed it was a friend of mine Giuseppe Agostini (proprietor of British Motors Service in Villafranca nr. Verona, Italy) who has been so very kind and forwarded a note as regards this car. He did arrange, too, for the car to be available for a series of photos to be taken in front of Museo Nicolis, Villafranca nr. Verona, Italy.

Rolls-Royce Corniche IVThe story doesn’t end here, because an American collector reported that he had been very keen to buy a 1996 Bentley Brooklands belonging to R-R Inc. in the late '90s. That car had been imported to the US on a temporary permit, and R-R Inc was done with the car and was happy to sell it if they could because it saved them preparation and transport fees to return it to the UK only to have the car scrapped (its supposed fate). This car also had an abbreviated chassis number. However US customs decided just the non-standard chassis-number as one of the reasons it could not be permanently imported. There is good reason to suspect that, like #CZ PA1, the Brooklands experimental car was never scrapped upon its return because calmer and/or more financially prudent heads prevailed at the factory. Perhaps although this car was destined for scrap it might have been sold off instead, too. Thus there is the chance that in addition to #CZ PA1 another Experimental Car is delighting some owner in Europe.

From a research point of view there is the challenge to find out if "Production Figures" indeed did include such cars?

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