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Rolls-Royce Camargue: Buying guide and review (1975-1986)

Rolls-Royce Camargue Rolls-Royce Camargue
In line with Rolls-Royce’s position at the top of the luxury car market, the Camargue was the most expensive production car at its launch in 1975. To justify this, the level of luxury and opulence that the car offered was unmatched, with split-level climate control and peerless ride quality elevating it above its contemporaries.
 
Despite being penned by Pininfarina, many found the styling a somewhat underwhelming, but it’s one that has grown old very gracefully. The ultra-luxurious two-door coupe remained in production for a total of 11 years, and managed to find 531 buyers during that time. 
 
Today its lines exude a certain brutish charm that while not to everyone’s tastes, certainly has its own appeal. Values are on the rise and well-maintained cars are now in demand.
 
Which one to buy?
 
Rolls-Royce  officially only sold a two-door coupe, however various coachbuilders did convert some cars into convertibles. Slightly less tasteful conversions can be found in the Middle East, however the majority of cars available in the UK are of the higher quality standard variety.
 
The basic platform was ahared with the Corniche and Silver Shadow, meaning that updates carried out on these cars also found their way into the Camargue. The very early cars used SU carburettors, but cars built from 1977-on had the more efficient Solex setup. Power was up on the Corniche, but the additional weight meant that performance was not largely unchanged. 
 
Cars built from 1979 had uprated independent suspension sourced from the Silver Spirit, and these models do handle noticably better. Owners could also specify a number of customisations that were added to cars at the end of the production line.
 
When new, the pricing of the Camargue was a major sticking point. It cost nearly twice as much as the Silver Shadow and 50 per cent more than the mechanically similar convertible Corniche, making it a hard sell. Today the Camargue’s values are more in line with its lesser stable mates.
 
Maintaining such a complex and specialised vehicle means that neglected ones can be a nightmare, if there isn’t a comprehensive and verifiable service history then walk away. The limited production numbers add to its exclusivity, and it’s worth going for one of the later models with the uprated power steering and suspension. As long as you follow the rule of buying the best one you can afford, it can be a satisfyingly eccentric way to get to the pub for Sunday lunch.
 
Performance and specs
 
Engine 6750cc 16valve, OHV V8 
Power 220bhp 
Torque 330lb ft 
Top speed 118 mph 
0-60mph 10.9 seconds 
Fuel consumption 12mpg 
Gearbox Three-speed automatic
 
Dimensions and weight
 
Wheelbase 3048mm
Length 5169mm
Width 1918mm
Height 1473mm
Curb weight 2329kg 
 
Common problems
 
• Rust is common, and the cost to repair corroded panels can easily escalate. Body panel resprays are a specialist job and will also become very expensive. Check over all external panels, paying particular attention to wheel arch surrounds, door sills and footwells.

• The low stressed 6.75 V8 has been a staple Rolls-Royce engine for decades and even in the ‘70s had already developed a reputation for reliability. In non-turbocharged form as found on the Camargue, it tends not to have head gasket issues however water seepage from around gasket bolts can indicate a warped head. 

• Oil leakage around valve covers tends to be normal and while a spot or two of oil underneath the car is acceptable any larger leaks need to be investigated.

• Regular coolant changes are essential to prevent cylinder liners from corroding, the best way to check this without opening up the engine is to see evidence of regular servicing.

• Suspension systems are a Citroen based hydraulic system and while quite reliable require regular maintenance and fluid changes every four to five years. Check the fluid levels in the engine bay, as a low level can cause havoc with the system.

• A major overhaul should usually be carried out every 100,000 miles, but with few cars reaching that sort of mileage they should be checked over thoroughly every ten years.

• The rear spring mountings have been known to corrode, and the sub frame mounting bushes wear out regularly so a thorough inspection in this area is a must.

• Front brakes are straight forward to maintain however the rear drum units are an expensive specialist only job so check them over thoroughly.

• Cars with power steering can develop leaks and pipes become brittle over time. Check for any leaks or erratic power assistance when turning.

• There are a lot of electronic systems on a Camargue and corrosion as well as bad wiring can cause a lot of headaches. The best thing is to check that all buttons and switches work properly. Electric windows can become very slow, and the only solution is to refurbish the winding mechanism.

• Electric seat motors can be refurbished by specialists and central door mechanisms can be troublesome on the earlier cars.
 
Model history
 
1975: Rolls-Royce Camargue is launched with 220bhp 6.75-litre V8 and three-speed automatic drivetrain. Split level air conditioning, a world first in production cars
1976: US production started with minor changes to meet regulations
1977: Powered rack and pinion steering introduced. Solex carburettors replace SU units adding some extra power.
1979: Independent rear suspension from Silver Spirit replaces old setup
1986: 12 run-out limited edition cars were built for the US market featuring white exterior paint and very high interior specifications. Final Camargue rolls off the production line with a total of 531 cars produced
 
Owners clubs, forums and websites
 
• www.rrec.org.uk - Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts site
• www.flyingspares.com - Parts supplier for Rolls-Royce Models
• www.rolls-roycemotorcars.com - Rolls-Royce Motor Cars site
 
Summary and prices
 
If you’re feeling brave or just want to show off your car maintenance prowess, then £15,000 is your starting point for a Camargue. For everyone else, restored examples with comprehensive service histories range between £35,000 for an early model up to £45,000 for one of the more desirable later cars. Time warp condition cars have changed hands for anything up to £80,000, and with so few left values are definitely on the way up.
 
Words: John Tallodi
Rolls-Royce Camargue Rolls-Royce Camargue
Last updated: 27th Jan 2016
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Rolls-Royce Camargue cars for sale

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Rolls-Royce Camargue
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  • 1982 ROLLS ROYCE Camargue

    POA POA

    The Camargue is the only Rolls Royce model designed by a non - Rolls Royce designer: Pininfarina. A total of 534 cars were produced between 1973 and 1986. Â This car, chassis no. BCX02515, was delivered new in Belgium. A few years later, the owner brought the car to his residence in the US. In Greenwich, it was maintained by the famous Carriage House Motor cars. Then, the car was sold to its second and last owner. Â This Camargue is totally original, with a very beautiful patinated original interior. The paint, a beautiful luminous light blue, is also original and in very good condition. The car was never restored and has always been well maintained and garaged. The clock shows less than 70.000 Kms. Â US title - European taxes paid

    • Mileage: 69683 mi
    For sale
    GTC Collection Cars
    + 33 (0)4 91 83 01 50 VIEW CONTACT NUMBER
  • Rolls-Royce Camargue

    £69,950 £69,950

    Air Conditioning, Full Leather, Electric Mirrors Boss Motor Company are extremely proud to present this very rare 1985 Rolls Royce Camargue. Finished in Acrylic Silver Sand with a Dark Brown Everflex Roof. Stone Nuella Main Hide with Dark Brown Nuella Top Roll. Only 500 examples were ever produced and it remains to this day the only Rolls Royce to have been designed by Pininfarina. It was also the most expensive car in the world when released in March 1975 and very much became Rolls Royce's flagship model. This example was ordered by and delivered to Bentley Munich in April 1985 and has since resided in dry climates for the duration of its life. Having covered only 16,000 miles from new, in our opinion this car truly represents a fantastic investment opportunity.

    • Mileage: 16000 mi
    For sale
  • 1976 ROLLS ROYCE Camargue

    POA POA

    The Camargue is the only Rolls Royce model designed by a non - Rolls Royce designer: Pininfarina. A total of 534 cars were produced between 1973 and 1986. Delivered new in France in 1976, this car, chassis JRX 20784, is one of the 178 cars made between January 1973 and May 1978. She had only three owners from new and always stayed in France. As the service book can testifies it, the car has been serviced by Rolls Royce British Motors in Monaco until 1990, when the car was sold to its second owner. It is an original car, never restored. The Magnolia leather interior and the paint are in very good original condition. French carte grise. Service book.

    • Mileage: 89854 mi
    For sale
  • Rolls-Royce Camargue

    £69,950 £69,950

    Air Conditioning, Full Leather, Electric Mirrors Boss Motor Company are extremely proud to present this very rare 1985 Rolls Royce Camargue. Finished in Acrylic Silver Sand with a Dark Brown Everflex Roof. Stone Nuella Main Hide with Dark Brown Nuella Top Roll. Only 500 examples were ever produced and it remains to this day the only Rolls Royce to have been designed by Pininfarina. It was also the most expensive car in the world when released in March 1975 and very much became Rolls Royce's flagship model. This example was ordered by and delivered to Bentley Munich in April 1985 and has since resided in dry climates for the duration of its life. Having covered only 16,000 miles from new, in our opinion this car truly represents a fantastic investment opportunity.

    • Mileage: 16000 mi
    For sale
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