CC Capsule: 1985 Bentley Continental – What’s Not To Like?


Fellow Curbivore GN has recently shown us a Car and Driver feature on the 1966 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow, so it seems appropriate to show this, an example of something that could be considered as almost the ultimate development of the Silver Shadow.


The Shadow was Rolls-Royce’s first monocoque vehicle, and therefore the potential range of coach built bodies offered on the preceding models, such as the Silver Shadow, was reduced. Rolls-Royce adapted to this by building in house the first convertible and coupe models, known as the Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow convertible and two door saloon, bodywork for which was produced by Mulliner Park Ward or for just a few examples by James Young., introduced in 1967


The first use of the Corniche name came in 1971, when the Mulliner Park Ward car was renamed. It was also offered as a Bentley Corniche, differing only in the radiator shell and badging details. Production numbers were low, even by Rolls_Royce standards, with 4400 of the first version being produced, up to 1986.

There were a series of minor changes in 1986, in 1989 and again in 1992. By then the car had the GM THM-400 gearbox rather then the Hydramatic, fuel injection had been added to the 6.75 litre pushrod V8, and airbags and ABS were also fitted, and of course the Silver Shadow itself had been superseded by the related Silver Spirit, in 1980. To the end of production in 1996, the hood was latched manually.

This example is a 1985 Bentley Continental. The Bentley took the Continental name in 1984, and had a few trim and interior changes over the Rolls-Royce. In reality, the level of customisation available and usually taken by customers for these cars means that the likelihood of another being the same is low.

I saw this example recently on the perhaps the first decent spring day we have had, taking the air in the late afternoon sunshine. Somehow, all seems well with the world when you can park a car like this with the roof (almost) down near an ice cream van.