Rolls-Royce Camargue designed by Pininfarina is an ‘ugly’ classic automotive gem


This yr, Rolls-Royce is celebrating the a hundred and tenth anniversary of the founding of its goddess-like muse, the Spirit of Ecstasy.

Bronze sculpture of a lady in a costume flowing behind her like wings formally graced the entrance of a Rolls-Royce coach on February 6, 1911. Subsequently solid in every part from pure gold to frosted crystal, the determine has stood up for greater than a century to beautify luxurious vehicles probably the most prestigious in Nice Britain, even probably the most obscure. just like the Rolls-Royce Camargue. Greater than something, this automotive forces it to behave as a badge to warn the viewer that that is additionally a Rolls-Royce, though it’s not pretty much as good wanting as you would possibly count on.

If you have not heard of the Camargue, do not feel unhealthy. I hadn’t heard of it till a good friend lately began sending me footage of the one he needed to purchase. (We every owns Silver Shadows, so he knew he was in pleasant firm.) Heck, I did not even understand how pronounce Camargue.

Automobile exhibition in Paris, France in October 1980.

A Rolls-Royce Camargue on show on the 1980 Paris Motor Present.

Photographer: Gilbert UZAN / Gamma-Rapho

“It is Kar-Marg – arduous G,” a Rolls-Royce spokesperson instructed me once I requested the query. And re-requested. I am glad I did. To pronounce it like “ca-MARJ” (or, even worse, “car-mo-GUE”) in a circle of educated lovers can be a humiliation that I’m not able to endure.

You will need to observe that my good friend felt secure sending me these photographs as a result of, properly, the Camargue shouldn’t be thought-about probably the most stunning Rolls-Royce of all time. “Worse. Auto. Ever,” I lately instructed one gentleman to a different on his deserves.

Many have stated it was on the very least the worst Rolls-Royce ever. Which is sudden, provided that it was designed by Paolo Martin from Pininfarina. It has lengthy, flat physique traces on its sides, like a Volvo wagon from the Nineteen Nineties, an excessively elongated hood, and a sloping roofline on the rear at what can solely be described as a twist angle of the neck that chiropractors should adore it.

“Somewhat, evidently Farina tried to bend the very good traces of her Fiat 130 Coupe design round an outsized Rolls-Royce radiator – and failed,” the editors of MotorSport Journal written in a scathing criticism in 1975. “From the entrance, the overhang of the bodywork past the wheels reminds us of a tough {photograph} of the South African Grand Prix program of the behind of a really fats man astride a really small motorcycle.

relates to the 'ugliest' Rolls-Royce in history perhaps deserves a second look

“An sudden and unsatisfying level was the vibration and resonance of the rear suspension, coupled with the squeaking of stone chips within the rear wheel arches,” MotorSport Journal reported in 1975. “Clearly, Rolls-Royce’s engineering continues to be not good.”

Photographer: Andrew Bone / Flickr

The climate didn’t cut back the bile of the assaults. A Camargue from 1981 on the market on Carry A Trailer As “Tweaked Pininfarina” drew feedback describing it as “horrible” and urging potential patrons to “convey a mallet.”

“It is a monument to depressing extra and belongs to the again of an RR museum within the part marked ‘Freaks and Errors’,” stated a commentator known as Anscahuer – and received 310 likes in settlement. “It isn’t normally vituperative, but it surely brings it out in me. It’s going to present you that no quantity of make-up could make a pig look nice. “

Johnathan Klinger, vice-president of automotive tradition at Hagerty, put it just a little extra diplomatically: “Total, we do not get a whole lot of inquiries on the Camargue.”

However regardless of its unconventional Rolls-Royce aesthetic, the Camargue presents a singular likelihood to personal a uncommon Rolls-Royce that prices lower than its better-known dad and mom. Whereas a good Nineteen Eighties cornice can value $ 85,000, and a first-rate cornice from the early 90s prices $ 175,000, you will discover a Camargue in day by day driving situation for over $ 30,000.

Forgotten, however first amongst many

Famously overpriced and undernourished, the Camargue has been named after an idyllic lake area close to the Côte d’Azur. It was Rolls-Royce’s flagship sedan when it launched in 1975 and, with a base worth of £ 30,000 (round $ 65,500, or $ 316,000 in as we speak’s cash), probably the most manufacturing automotive pricey to the world.

relates to the 'ugliest' Rolls-Royce in history perhaps deserves a second look

The Rolls-Royce Camargue featured 450 sq. ft of leather-based trim, in addition to fashionable conveniences equivalent to electrically adjustable entrance seats with buttons on the padded base. A stereo radio and quad tape playback tools have been commonplace.

Photographer: Andrew Bone / Flickr

“We nonetheless do not know if the value of the two-door Camargue represents the most important rip-off within the automotive world or one of the best and most worthwhile gross sales gimmick ever made”, MotorSport editors wrote in one other zinger. Through the 11 years of manufacturing of the Camargue, its worth has risen to $ 171,231, or $ 410,000 as we speak and with out a lot noticeable enchancment.

Bought by rich drivers, from a Chicago physician has a Lengthy Island Artist has a Kuwaiti sheikh, the Camargue shared a platform with the aforementioned Rolls-Royce Corniche and Silver Shadow. It was powered by the identical 6.75-liter V8 engine and three-speed transmission because the Shadow, though the Camargue was extra highly effective.

The Camargue supplied many trade firsts: it was the primary post-war Rolls-Royce designed by the Italian Pininfarina and the model’s first designed in metric dimensions. It was the primary Rolls-Royce to characteristic a sloping grille, tilted at an angle of seven levels. It was the primary car already to offer twin zone air con.

relates to the 'ugliest' Rolls-Royce in history perhaps deserves a second look
Whereas a good Nineteen Eighties cornice can value $ 85,000, and a first-rate cornice from the early 90s prices $ 175,000, you will discover a Camargue in day by day driving situation for over $ 30,000.

Photographer: Andrew Bone / Flickr

A secret flight

Whereas different weird autos from the late Nineteen Seventies and 80s gained momentum among the many underneath 40 automotive shopping for ensemble (see Lancia Delta, Foxbody Mustang, microvans), the Camargue appears to comply with this pattern. Insurance coverage quotes for the car on Hagerty’s web site greater than doubled from 2019 to 2020, whereas the common worth for a car in wonderful situation is $ 47,440, up 2.3% over time. Final 12 months.

“Their values ​​are pretty much as good – if not barely higher – than cash within the financial institution,” says Klinger.

Moreover, the common promoting worth of prime public public sale examples has elevated from $ 54,000 in 2015 to $ 64,350 in 2020.

The one instance of a folding hardtop Camargue bought for $ 252,000 at an RM Sotheby’s sale in 2019 (this one is a big outlier; the second highest worth ever paid for a Camargue at public sale was considerably decrease: $ 85,800 at an RM public sale Sotheby’s final yr.)

In reality, the “drophead” Camargues (aka convertibles) look higher than their coupe siblings; their lack of a prime additional elongates the flat, boat-shaped sides and the angular hood and trunk within the thoughts’s eye. Probably the most aesthetic works with this snip.

The problem is to discover a respectable one. Throughout its complete manufacturing, solely 531 Camargues have been made, together with the instance of a singular retractable roof that Sotheby’s auctioned off in 2019. These now bought as convertibles have been transformed by aftermarket shops as soon as they have been bought. they left the manufacturing facility.

“Possibly 5 to seven [Carmargue] coupes have been minimize by house owners and was convertibles, ”stated John Wiley, director of valuation evaluation at Hagerty, in an emailed memo concerning the automotive. It is a certain signal that they’re on the rise: 4 of them bought final fall.


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