1989 Corniche Convertible - Rolls-Royce and Bentley Forums
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-20-2020, 10:49 PM Thread Starter
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1989 Corniche Convertible

A family member owns a 1989 Corniche Convertible. He bought it new from a dealer in NYC and it’s been stored in his garage ever since. It is serviced and driven from time to time, but has very low miles. Less than 5k.

He purchased it as a “trophy” when he retired. He is selling it and I think it’s a beautiful car but no nothing about Rolls Royce.

It has been well maintained, but I expect there could be some issues after years of minimal driving. But for sake of a starting point, what would be a fair price point for a car like that in above average condition?

Is there anything specific I need to check for that make/model/year or just the usual? I expect to drive it for 50-100 miles to make sure everything works, and if not have it evaluated for repair.

Is there anything you can tell me about the car? How many were made that year? Any special history?

Hoping to learn more about the car and what I am getting myself into before I commit.

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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-20-2020, 11:47 PM
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The 1989 model year was during the period that you will see described as the SZ cars, which means the car has hydraulics with mineral oil as the fluid, among many other things.

You may find it helpful to look at this page at the Rolls-Royce Owners' Club of Australia Post-War Technical library: http://rrtechnical.info/sz/05_sz.htm In particular the changes that came with the 30000 series cars. I can never recall exactly when the series numbers changed, but look at the last 5 digits of your VIN and you will know whether yours in the 20000 series or 30000 series. I think you'll be at the tail end of the 20K series cars.

In my opinion, unless they are exceptionally carefully maintained, and even sometimes if they are, they will suffer more from lack of use than actual use. A car with 5K miles on it at 31 model years old has truly, barely moved. That also means that windows have not likely been put up and down, or the top up and down, and all sorts of other electromechanical items remain utterly un-exercised. I trust a car like this, that's cosmetically perfect but has not been used, far less than one that has far more use. There are kinds of maintenance that come as a direct result of use (as you know from your own daily driver) that simply do not happen on cars that are what I call "rolling sculpture."

If the car is still located near to where it was purchased you are in an area that has far more mechanics with deep Rolls-Royce experience than almost anywhere else in the country. One of the best things you could do is to have a very thorough pre-purchase inspection done by one of them, not because you don't trust your uncle, but because neither one of you can really say you can make an informed decision about what may or may not need to be attended to. A pre-purchase inspection can help to determine this, and also to come to a price determination. If you look in the RR & Bentley Parts, Repair, Restoration & Other Resources Compilation at the shops in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut and you can find several excellent choices for pre-purchase inspections.

It would be most helpful to have the SZ Chassis Number Derivation from VIN so that potential assistants can give correct answers based on details that can only be known if a chassis number is known.


The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement. But the opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth.
~ Niels Bohr

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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-03-2020, 10:58 PM
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B. I own an 88 Corniche and love it.

The car you are thinking of buying has 31 year old hoses, rubber mounting devices, seals, top, hydraulics, tires, and many other items that deteriorate from age. If the car has not been updated with these items in the past 8 -10 years, then the next care taker has some catching up to do. If the body, interior, paint and engine are in good shape then figure about $4,000.00 to 5,000.00 in parts. Unless you have the skill to perform these repairs yourself, then you will have to pay 1 to 5 times the parts cost to have them installed.

A pre purchase inspection by a QUALIFIED Rolls-Royce inspector will be invaluable in your decision to purchase this or any car.

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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-04-2020, 08:36 AM
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Where are you located?

1980 SWII LRL-41587C FInj
1976 SS LWB LRE-23114 Harkness RR
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-04-2020, 10:04 AM
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Location: Ballwin, Missouri
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Ballwin Missouri, 20 miles West of the St. Louis Arch.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-04-2020, 02:30 PM
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Have Simon Curzon look at the car. He is a RROC judge, highly informed, and has a shop that is very well respected in Missouri.

1980 SWII LRL-41587C FInj
1976 SS LWB LRE-23114 Harkness RR
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