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I found a car, 1988 Corniche. It's at Gullwingmotorcars. I think it needs way too much work for me. It's a shame because I like the colors. Anyway, the top on this car is completely ruined. They sent me some additional photos and it's much worse than I thought. Based on my very limited knowledge, my guess is the wood frame is rotten. They also told me that it doesn't even go up and down.

So what would it cost to get a top in the this condition replaced?

What's usually the cause of the up/down not working any more?

I'm trying to limit my search to 20000 series cars based on what I've read here.

Thanks
Dave
 

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Dave,
I know nothing about this car other than the listing on the Gullwing Motor Car website, so take this with a grain of salt. This is likely to be a quite expensive repair. I have seen some information from highly knowledgeable repair folks that the wood pieces are no longer available. In one post on the RROC forum the comment was made that a Corniche was totaled by the insurance company when the hood latch broke and the top blew back at speed breaking the bows. The roof repairs exceeded the value of the car. Even assuming you are just looking at a new top and headlining I would expect in excess of $10,000 with some additional bits.

I have to wonder about the rest of this car. I'd be surprised to see that the car has been well maintained while the roof was allowed to deteriorate to the extent the pictures seem to suggest. There are other things that make my "spidey sense" tingle. The seats look worn and dull making me wonder about the leather. The gap of the front valance to the front bumper appears to be wider on the driver's side than the passenger's, often an indication of impact. The bumpers (front and rear) show paint scuffing, so they've rubbed against something. I would want an expensive inspection by an expert in SZ cars.

Like you I am only interest in 20,000 series cars (I have an Eight and a Corniche II). For what it's worth, (another car I know nothing about but for the listing) there in a 20,000 series Corniche in Florida on BringATrailer.com at the moment. Happy hunting.

Best,

David
 

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I know Gullwing and have met and spoke to Kumar several times. He will sell anything, in any condition so it is up to the buyer to decide.

The Corniche top is electro-hydraulic in power and would require overhaul. The wood bow in the front will sometimes rot and can be checked with a upholstery needle for hardness.
I have a high school buddy that does my sewing and we often discuss Corniche top replacement. It's what you don't see that will require work. There is no point in a new top if the frame is not in spec. You can easily look at 12 to 16k for a total overhaul. The Corniche is a SY platform like the Shadows. I'm in the NY area if you want me to evaluate a car for you.

Footnote: I prefer German Haartz canvas over the Everflex if I were to do a replacement.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thank you both. Gullwing were kind enough to send me more photos of that top. There are sheet metal screws securing it at the rear. They also told me it's not running well. They seem pretty up front which is a good thing. I'll keep looking.
Dave
 

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I found a car, 1988 Corniche. It's at Gullwingmotorcars. I think it needs way too much work for me. It's a shame because I like the colors. Anyway, the top on this car is completely ruined. They sent me some additional photos and it's much worse than I thought. Based on my very limited knowledge, my guess is the wood frame is rotten. They also told me that it doesn't even go up and down.

So what would it cost to get a top in the this condition replaced?

What's usually the cause of the up/down not working any more?

I'm trying to limit my search to 20000 series cars based on what I've read here.

Thanks
Dave
Costs of top repairs on these cars can easily out run the value of the car. They are complicated and expensive. If you are searching for a 1980 to 1998 car and you are not extremely handy or well to do, buy a non convertible car. I am told by old Rolls Royce line workers that the mid 90s cars are most reliable. I have never owned one later than 1987. I would not be able to afford any Rolls Royce if I couldnt do and understand the work myself. If you can afford the cost you should buy a Cornish with a top in good condition if you insist on a convertible. I find the Cornish one of the most attractive of the mark. A good used S Y car with a hardtop will turn heads everywhere (pre 1980). I have been stopped in traffic for pictures while driving my Silver Shadow. Good luck. Yours in service. Scott.
 

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Saw a nice one at John Palma's recently, its on his website. I drove it too, and it seemed very nice. It has a replaced top from a year ago, it was not done with everflex.


There is also a green Bentley Continental DHC which is also a 50000 series, at thestableltd.com
I found that it needed paint and the price was high due to that, but their prices are usually very high to start, doesn't mean they don't hear offers. (either place)

Good luck on your search! Don't skimp the cars are too expensive to re-do, better to pay up front for a great example and then you will have a wonderful ownership experience rather than hell
 

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And there is another, which I had thought already sold but the ad is back up? so not sure.


looks like the green got sold already

 

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another listing for the 1990 is on this site's home page

 

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Continental drop heads are few and rarely come up for sale.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Here's another car not too far from me. I spoke to the dealer. They don't know much other than it's been repainted and there's no records. I think I'm seeing a rust hole in one rocker panel.
 

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I really like the colors on this car. I do have a question. I noticed a lot of black caulk on the firewall below the ID plate. I looked at engine compartment photos of others cars and I don't think I'm seeing this amount of goop. It doesn't strike me as a RR job.

Any ideas on what this caulk is all about?
Thanks
Dave

29216
1990-rolls-royce-corniche-caulk-mess.jpg

Saw a nice one at John Palma's recently, its on his website. I drove it too, and it seemed very nice. It has a replaced top from a year ago, it was not done with everflex.


There is also a green Bentley Continental DHC which is also a 50000 series, at thestableltd.com
I found that it needed paint and the price was high due to that, but their prices are usually very high to start, doesn't mean they don't hear offers. (either place)

Good luck on your search! Don't skimp the cars are too expensive to re-do, better to pay up front for a great example and then you will have a wonderful ownership experience rather than hell
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Dave,
Granted, the Palma Cornice is a 30,000 series and mine is a 20,000 series but none of that goop is used on mine.
View attachment 29217
Thanks. I looked at photos of other cars and didn't see it. It looks like a shoddy leak repair of some kind.

I don't live too far from that car. If I have time this week, I'll try to go look at it.

Dave
 

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Thanks. I looked at photos of other cars and didn't see it. It looks like a shoddy leak repair of some kind.

I don't live too far from that car. If I have time this week, I'll try to go look at it.

Dave
It's a cracked evaporator cover. They are made from plastic and cracks along the top bolts where it seals to the firewall are on basically 100% of them. They have been NLA forever and the best alternative is to remake it in metal or to make a bracket in metal to use to clamp it back down to the firewall to seal in the cabin air. What it appears was done in that photo (and is unfortunately very common) is to use a sealant to try to just patch it up. If you want to see more detail, look up part # UR70282 on the Bentley Heritage site. The repair you see is definitely not how it left from the factory.

Regarding your initial post, a top (headliner + Everflex) generally costs about $7-$10k in the US depending on what is needed. There are three areas of wood that are key: the header (where it latches down), the peak (above the rear passengers' heads) and the base piece where the window etc is anchored to. Typically the last two suffer from rot - the peak from the nailing strip and the base from the chrome/Everflex trim and window seams at the base. The wood can often be replaced or repaired with hardener/fillers (some incredible products now) but the piece that is most difficult to address is the base at the back under the window/around the base. The attachment to the body varied throughout the years, but generally replacement of this (if it can't be repaired) can result in extensive paint/body work given the way it is fastened to the body. (The pump, rams and few hoses on these cars are relatively simple to address and I wouldn't generally consider issues with them, especially if addressed when replacing the top, to be difficult for a competent shop to remedy.)

Don't forget to check any car with a rotting top for rust in the base of the top stowage well (simply pop out the trim piece laying flat behind the rear seats) and either side of the rear seat shoulders (sometimes can peek behind the headliner to see). Also be sure to check the top latches themselves for cracking of the handles and post base - very common.

Hope that helps. Fortunately a good top can last for decades once properly installed and taken care of!
 
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