Stondon Motor Museum (23)

Rolls-Royce Camargue

The Rolls-Royce Camargue is a two-door coupé introduced by Rolls-Royce Motors in March 1975. The Camargue's body, built in London by their coachbuilding division Mulliner Park Ward, was designed by automotive designer Paolo Martin at Pininfarina. The Camargue was Rolls-Royce's first post-war production model not to be designed in-house.

When it was launched, the Camargue, which was the flagship of the Rolls-Royce lineup, was the most expensive production car in the world, eventually selling in North America for approximately US$147,000 ($588,000 in 2008 dollars). By the time of its official U.S. launch, the Carmargue had already been on sale in the UK for over a year. The New York Times made much of the fact that the U.S. price at this stage was approximately $15,000 higher than the UK price. In the 1970s, many European models retailed for significantly less in the U.S. than they did in Europe in order to compete with prices set aggressively by Detroit's Big Three and Japanese importers. The manufacturer rejected this approach with the Carmargue, referencing the high cost of safety and pollution engineering needed to adapt the few cars (approximately 30 per year) it expected to send to North America in 1976.

The recommended price of a new Camargue price at launch on the UK market in March 1975 was £29,250, including sales taxes. Rapid currency depreciation would greatly raise the price of the Camargue in the late 1970s, both the UK and in North America.

The car was sold in very limited numbers in European, American, Canadian, Australian and Asian markets. It was named after the southern French Camargue region.

When presenting their new car to the press in 1975, Rolls-Royce placed emphasis on the sophistication of the completely automatic split-level climate control system, the first of its kind in the world. It was developed, it was stated, during the eight years preceding the car's introduction, and according to Rolls-Royce, "superior to anything else in the field."

The Camargue shares a platform with the Rolls-Royce Corniche and Silver Shadow. It is powered by the same 6.75 L V8 engine as the Silver Shadow, though the Camargue is slightly more powerful. The transmission was also carried over — a General Motors Turbo-Hydramatic 3-speed automatic. The first 65 Camargues produced used SU carburettors, while the remaining 471 used Solex units. The Camargue was fitted with the Silver Shadow II's power rack and pinion steering rack in February 1977. In 1979, it received the rear independent suspension of the Silver Spirit. The car, which is large for a coupé, sits on a 3048 mm (120 in) wheelbase. It was the first Rolls-Royce automobile to be designed to metric dimensions, and was the first Rolls-Royce to feature a slanted grille; the Camargue's grille slants at an inclined angle of seven degrees.

Production of the Rolls-Royce Camargue ended in 1986. During the car's 11-year production run, 530 Rolls-Royce Camargues were built, as well as one specially-ordered Bentley Camargue.

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Rolls-Royce vehicles
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