In the early years of Rolls-Royce, a wide variety of coachbuilders were available to suit the needs, wants and whims of their customers. From the earliest Ghosts to the post-war Silver Clouds, if a client wanted something special, even if it was a bit out of the ordinary, Rolls-Royce and their select group of craftsmen were only too happy to oblige. Sadly, by the 1970s, the days of the custom-built Rolls-Royce had drawn to a close. However, there remained some craftsmen with the imagination, desire and old-world ideals to create a fabulous, one-of-a-kind automobile that befitted the most recognized name in luxury motorcars.
The tale behind this marvelous car begins in late 1986 when Rolls-Royce began production on a limited series of 12 Camargues that were built to commemorate 80,000 Rolls-Royce sold in America since 1904. All 12 had the same distinctive livery of white over scarlet Connolly hides and blue piping. To complement the upholstery, these special models were equipped with a white Everflex top, beautiful silver inlay, burl walnut trim and a special plaque testifying to their rarity and purpose.
Presented here is the second car of the dozen examples built. Delivered new in 1987 to Carriage House Motor Cars Ltd. of New York, the largest factory-authorized dealer in the world, this car was soon sold to a prominent car collector on Long Island. Very impressed by the skill of one of the finest remaining custom coachbuilders, Niko-Michael Coachworks in Port Washington, he commissioned them to create an even more dramatic car than his current grand, limited-edition Camargue.
Having learned their trade in Europe before coming to the US in 1959, Niko-Michael Coachworks are among the most talented custom-body builders remaining and, over the years, this firm has created the only four-door Rolls-Royce Corniche Convertible and the only Rolls-Royce two-seater Roadster. Their precise workmanship, attention to detail and ingenious engineering solutions ideally suited their mission – to create a special Camargue Retractable Hardtop.
After two years and significant sums of money, this sensational, fully retractable hardtop with a disappearing roof emerged. Needless to say, this is the only such Camargue in the world. With the top fully closed, it is impossible to distinguish from the standard Camarague. However, with the push of a button, the car transforms into something completely different!
The top is lowered in a complex and fascinating process. Before lowering, a hard-cover boot slides forward allowing the retractable hard-top to be lowered into the trunk. Once stowed, the hard-covered boot slides back into its original position, thus creating a sleek and seamless appearance. Furthermore, while standard production cars have stationary rear-quarter windows, this Camargue was fashioned with fully articulating windows, completing the experience of drop-top motoring.
When completed, the CEO of Rolls-Royce, as well as company engineers, came to look at the finished product and were absolutely overwhelmed by this incredible presentation of modern coachbuilding. Not only were they impressed with the beauty and quality of the work performed, but also in the masterful engineering that went into creating this one-off wonder. Considering the standards Rolls-Royce adheres to, this is truly impressive praise.
Series Production Car
Bosch Fuel Injection
6750 cc / 411.91 in³
Auction Sales History
1987 Rolls-Royce Camargue Retractable Hardtop – did not sell for $121,000 This one-off Camargue displayed only 610 miles on the odometer at the time of cataloguing and remains in exceptional, as-delivered appearance throughout. For some time, this unique Rolls-Royce has resided in the personal collection of Michael Schudroff, owner of Carriage House Motor Cars and life-long Rolls-Royce collector and enthusiast. Inside and out, it is a true time capsule – from the original interior complete with a period car phone, to the clean, unspoiled appearance of the exterior.
For the collector always in search of the most interesting, unique pieces, we recommend close inspection of this fabulous Camargue – a rare masterpiece of modern coachbuilding.