When Pandora opened her eponymous box, all hell broke loose. Similarly, the Rolls Royce Camargue is boxy as hell, but today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe custom hardtop convertible would make even that old Greek bitch happy.
As we noted yesterday, the Fiat 130 Coupé won Pininfarina an award for its design. That fact didn't make much of an impression on the lot of you though, as while it was deemed to be molto bello, its price was found - by fully 82% of you - to be a big-honkin' calzone full of Crack Pipe.
Today's candidate shares that 130's style, as it too was penned by the house of Pininfarina, and like yesterday's Fiat, it too looks to be in near-perfect shape. However, unlike that Italian coupe, this massive two door comes to us by way of Crewe, England, and like a Piccadilly prostitute, it will drop its top for us.
Located on the Mediterranean coast, France's Camargue region is Western Europe's largest river delta. That makes it fitting that Rolls Royce named one of the largest coupes to emerge from Crewe after the Rhone river region. Rolls' Camargue spans 120-inchs between its wheel centers, and overall casts an imposing 17 foot shadow. The Pininfarina styling (attributed to Paolo Martin) is reminiscent of yesterday's Fiat 130 Coupe, although on a much grander scale. Its bodywork shares nothing with its Corniche and Silver Shadow platform mates, as even the iconic Rolls Royce grille is canted at a jaunty 7° angle rather than – as is tradition – being as straight up as Big Ben at noon.
Rolls has always been sketchy with the details, typically describing their engine's output as being ‘adequate,' while touting tangibles such as being able to hear the clock tick while at full chat. With the Camargue they also talked up its industry-first dual-level climate control, but again played close to their vest with the horsepower from the 5,150-lb car's 6.75-litre pushrod V8. Contemporary estimates pegged the number at around 180 ponies, which shouldn't be too taxing to the GM-sourced THM400 transmission, which Rolls apparently also deemed to be adequate.
This 1986 Camargue, one of the less than 550 built between 1975 and 1986, represents an even rarer beast than you might expect as it has been red queened – losing its head. There have been custom Camargue convertibles that have been built, but this is the only one I have ever seen that could be mistaken for a Ford Skyliner. Top up – and yes, it's Everflex-covered – the roofline conforms to the original Pininfarina design, but like the world's swankiest Transformer (Rollsbot in disguise) a push of a button causes it to split into two and drop into a well between the trunk and luxuriously appointed back seats. That new unlimited headroom presents a cabin resplendent in Connolly hides and burled walnut accents. Like most Rolls Royce interiors this one has been designed with the complexities of Victorian lingerie, but infinitely more comfortable. There's nothing here to complain about - the interior apparently lacking any flaw, although its fields of red and white leather do look a little more Cleveland than classic.
That color scheme, along with the pearl white exterior and special silver inlay inside identify this as one of 12 Camargues built by Mulliner Park Ward in 1986 in commemoration of Rolls Royce's having sold 80,000 cars in America, which, by the way is a shit-load of flying ladies. The convertible top was not part of that special edition package, but was instead undertaken on this side of the pond by Niko-Michael Coachworks – a company well known for the quality of their conversions.
That makes this car 1 of 12 of 531, and may go into the record books as one of the most exclusive or Nice Price of Crack Pipe candidates. And also one of the most expensive. With the ad's placement in Hemmings, and a $155,000 asking price, the number of viable shoppers for this car will be small as well. And while the number of zeros in that price may make you Grey Poupon yourself, it may not be untoward for a car of such noble pedigree.
What do you think, is $155,000 for a topless Camargue a price that would make your spirit ecstatic? Or, does that keep your flying lady grounded?
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