This unusual yet underrated car was the first model entirely designed by a foreign company – the Italian design bureau Pininfarina. It was built for customers who wanted to drive Rolls-Royce on their own.
Source: Auto Vercity
Foreign experts (masters of Pininfarina) entirely developed the design of the Camargue. While creating an English pearl, Italian masters were inspired by their past works – the Mercedes-Benz SEL Coupé and Fiat 130 Coupé. Unfortunately, fans of the model did not appreciate the efforts of the design studio, considering it unsuccessful and even vulgar. As a result, buyers preferred the more conservative Corniche. At the same time, this automobile became popular in Middle Eastern markets, where owning such a car was a sign of pomp rather than good taste.
The Camargue was a classic example of a car trying to attract a new clientele and failing miserably. The company’s management decided to create a car designed for those of their customers who wish to drive Rolls-Royce on their own and not resort to the services of a driver. Such clients needed a vehicle with a modern, stylish body, and not a classic and strict one, so the British, for the first time in their history, entrusted the development of a body to a foreign bureau from Italy. The design was developed in 1970 by Paolo Martin, head of the Pininfarina styling department, and eventually, it went into the series without any changes. The novelty was demonstrated to the public in 1975, receiving its name from the area in the south of France. Pininfarina went to great lengths to combine their ideas with traditional Rolls-Royce elements, but the automobile felt more like an experiment. Specialists believe that the styling features for this coupe were borrowed from two other Pininfarina creations – the Bentley T, built for James Hanson in 1968, and the elegant FIAT 130 Coupe. In general, the vehicle’s appearance was unique but heavy.
The Camargue was based on another iconic model Silver Shadow: the technical filling was borrowed from it, mainly a V 8 engine with 6,750 ccs volume was installed on the novelty, as well as a three-speed automatic transmission manufactured by General Motors. The suspension type was independent. As usual, the manufacturer should have disclosed the automobile’s power range information. According to expert estimates, it ranged from 220 to 250 hp, which was enough to accelerate this massive machine to a speed of 193 km/h. The vehicle had impressive dimensions – 5170 mm in length, 1,920 mm in width, and 1470 mm in height. There were four separate seats and a multi-level climate control system inside, which was trendy for that time. The interior was designed according to the best traditions of the brand: the maximum number of electrical adjustments and extensive wood and leather in the design were impressive. As noted earlier, the Italian design did not appeal to fans of this brand. In addition, the model’s price was the highest on the market. As a result, a not-very-successful design, combined with a high price, affected the popularity of this model, and, as a result, it began to be produced exclusively for individual orders. Later, in the early 80s, the Camargue cost £83,000. As a result, for 11 years, only 531 copies of these cars were sold, about one or two per year. This did not even ensure the payback of their production.
Source: H&H Classics
In 1975, the Rolls-Royce Camargue was the most expensive production car in the world, costing $147,000 in the US – more than the Phantom VI limousine, including the cost of adapting to local safety regulations. However, the car was not popular: for 11 years, only 530 cars left the plant, including one exclusive Bentley Camargue.
Contact us if you have this or another classic vehicle to sell.