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Bentley Corniche

Bentley Corniche Published: 10th Jul 2019 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

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Sheer good taste ● Understated styling ● As easy to own as T series ● Turbocharged s model

What’s their attraction?

To all intents and purposes the Corniche is simply a two-door Bentley T Series (or Silver Shadow) but in reality this cultured coupé or delectable drophead is one of the classiest and most delectable Bentleys you could wish for, being full of good taste and almost ageless in appeal – witness the fact that it stayed in production well after the Bentley T1/T2 had been discontinued and evolved into great drivers’ cars once Mulsanne Turbo running gear was fitted to last of the line models. Corniche is not to be confused with the earlier coupé and convertible T Series models which were produced before this variant took over.

Driving

Based on the Shadow/T Series, the Corniche drives much the same, meaning that the real satisfaction comes from the sense of well being and sense of occasion each time you climb aboard – even for the shortest journey. The soft suspension takes some getting used to if you want to travel fast over country roads, but that’s missing the point of a Corniche by a mile. Cruising along has this majestic classic in its element and there are few modern cars with such a pliant ride.

Best of all, as the Corniches survived almost as long as the Mulsanne in production it benefited for many of its numerous enhancements with post ’89 versions sporting niceties such as ABS, active suspension, and fuel injection. With more power over the saloons, thanks to a four barrel carb, a 0-60 time of around 10 seconds and a 120mph top speed means this cultured classic can still hold its own in modern traffic. The best performer is the admittedly harder riding Turbo S model which is a real surprise and well up to later Continental prowess but less showy. What a Q Car!

Prices to pay

With values as high as £100,000 prices are way above those of the T Series that sired this model and even surpass later Continental prices. Top cars are worth £80,000 + regardless of era with later Corniche II and IV perhaps £20,000 dearer; dropheads are by-and-large worth at least 25 per cent more over the Coupé. Rolls-Royce models can be slightly dearer although there appears to be little variance between the brands and with so few made, it’s a seller’s rather than a buyer’s market. Average cars start from £40,000 but any repairs and restorations will wipe any upfront savings out and then some.

Top buying tips

Generalr

 

Vary in quality and condition so vital to check out as many as you can to set a datum. Corniches are valued differently to a two-door T Series.

Bodyr

 

Panels are rarer than the saloons to find. The usual suspects are sills, wheelarches and valances. Check spring pans for the trailing arms at the rear. A main worry is likelihood of pans rotting, allowing springs to fall out but repair kits are available for this. See that the power hood works ok.

Enginer

 

Cylinder liners contract through corrosion, causing a knocking. Lack of use leads to scuffed pistons and ‘picked up’ cylinder liners. Exhaust manifold crack, check turbo for wear.

Brakesr

 

High pressure hydraulics under tremendous strain and why £2000+ overhaul demanded every 96,000 miles.

Running gear

Rack and pinion superior but not possible to swap over. Play in Series I system can usually be adjusted out; lots of bushes to wear out resulting in a sloppy drive. See that the active suspension works properly on post 1989 cars and any warning lights work when they should.

Dates to remember

1971 Earlier two-door specials relaunched as the Corniche both in Rolls and Bentley forms. Deeper radiator was raked forward. Under the bonnet there was now a more efficient four-barrel carb for extra power.

1977 Receives all of the revised T2 modifications. 1979 Gains later Silver Spirit suspension and its mineral oil hydraulics system.

1989 Corniche III arrives on the scene with new active suspension, ABS and fuel injection.

1992 Corniche IV sees final run of 25 called the Corniche S in 1995 and they came with full on Mulsanne Turbo power and a similar, sportier suspension set up.



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