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Rolls-Royce Camargue

Rolls-Royce Camargue Published: 22nd Jul 2015 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Rolls-Royce Camargue
Rolls-Royce Camargue
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OUT OF THE SHADOWS

IN BRIEF

Replacing graciousness with gaudiness, the Camargue isn’t everybody’s dream Rolls- Royce yet this chintzy 1970’s coupé based upon the Shadow has to be one of the bestkept sleeping classics on the block as well as being a rarer sight than any Continental.

TIMELINES

1969 Project Delta was planned to replace the classy but ageing Corniche two-door although the convertible which evolved into the Corniche soldiered on well into the 1990s, unlike the Camargue!

1975 Camargue launched. All work is carried out at the London-based works of coachbuilder specialist Mulliner Park Ward after which the bodies were sent to Crewe for painting and final assembling. Initially, UK cars ran on twin SU carbs but more power was decreed so a Solex four barrel downdraught and breaker-less ignition were fitted after the first 30 were made.
1977 Gains the superior chassis of the Shadow II, including its rack and pinion steering and new front suspension.

1980 Adopts the Silver Spirit’s running gear complete with a new rear axle and suspension geometry set up along with a modified braking system.

DRIVING

Camargues drive pretty much like the Silver Shadow they are based upon which means a satisfying rather than sporty time behind the wheel – the later Bentley Continental is certainly the better driver but the Camargue is perhaps the more soothing. As with the Shadow, the handling was greatly improved for 1977 and improved further still in 1980 when Silver Spirit hardware was fitted.

BEST MODELS

The later the car the better, specially if tighter handling is important to you. Otherwise the choice is more about what’s around and their condition. The Camargue was aimed at the more lucrative overseas markets, so you may find L-HD examples more plentiful if you don’t mind the attendant shipping and importing necessities or with the wheel on the wrong side.

VALUES

Camargues don’t come onto the market that often as owners tend to hold on to them. The last Camargue Rolls/Bentley specialist Hanwell Car Centre of West London (020 8567 1777) sold went for £45,000 but the company’s Steve Brown said such good ones really need searching for – it went overseas in the end. Brown cites the car’s old styling, especially the ill proportioned wheels and (FAB1) headlamp treatment, as one of the reasons why the car never caught on and reckons that the Corniche, and especially the later Bentley Continentals, are better cars although good Camargue values are notably moving up.

BUYING ADVICE

Despite their age, look for some service history because while they are basically Shadow-based, Camargues are a lot harder and dearer and complex to maintain. If anything, Camargues also suffer from more rusting than the Shadow and to make matters worse, some body and trim parts are getting hard to track down so predictably are much dearer than a Shadow part. Check floors, bulkheads, window surrounds, rear suspension attachment points carefully. Mechanically, the car is built like an old school Roller although irregular use and skipped oil changes gums up the engine’s hydraulic tappets while old stale anti-freeze can lead to cylinder liner rust. Exhaust manifolds crack (easily fixed with new or second-hand parts) and that special four barrel carburettor can be very expensive to overhaul. As with all R-Rs, the hydraulics need proper expert care with a full overhaul costing some £2000. A heftier car than the Shadow, it takes its toll on the suspension and steering systems and watch for rear spring pan rust. The air con and electrics are highly complex affairs, even after 40 years, so ensure everything works as it should.



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