James May is a man who needs no introduction to us lot. And as you know from Top Gear and The Grand Tour, he really likes old things. It’s no wonder, then, James has lots of old motorcycles. What’s more, Captain Slow also owns a Rolls-Royce from the ’70s.
The car in question is a Corniche in pristine condition, which is basically a development of the Silver Shadow. Having said that, did you know the 1965 – 1980 Silver Shadow still holds the record for largest production volume of any Rolls-Royce? In those 15 years of production, the first-ever Rolls-Royce with a monocoque chassis has sold a little over 30,000 examples.
By comparison, the Corniche I tallied just under 5,000 units, Bentley-branded saloons and convertibles included. That’s great and all, but here’s the catch with the Corniche: it’s not exactly a collectible, at least not as collectible as Clarkson’s classic car: the dictator-licious Mercedes-Benz 600 Grosser.
James doesn’t really care about that, so here’s a question that needs to be posed: why is he selling the Corniche? As per the man himself, “my 1972 Rolls-Royce Corniche has to go, because I’ve become allergic to it. And I mean this. If I drive it for more than half an hour I start itching,” May says, “and then have to boil all my clothes.” Right, let’s move on to different matters.
Bonhams will handle the sale at the Goodwood Members’ Meeting in March. The estimate? This luxurious land yacht is worth £25,000, probably £30,000 if the bidding gets wild. Or so Bonhams says, so let’s leave it at that. A UK-spec example of the Ford Focus RS kick off from £31,765, if I may add.
Now here’s another interesting aspect about the Corniche’s pre-auction estimate. According to James’ write-up on the DriveTribe network, this luxurious blast from the past is “expected to fetch one-and-a-half times what I paid for it. Maybe twice.” When all is said and done, don’t forget why this Corniche is worth that much: it was James’ personal means of transportation.
And for old times’ sake, here are James and Jeremy duking it out.