Cohort Capsule: Rolls Royce Camargue – A Gorgeous Flop


Screenshot 2014-03-19 19.03.33

(first posted 3/20/2014)    It’s been a few months since DonAndreina posted pics of this gorgeous Rolls Royce coupe to the Cohort, but there’s never a bad time to admire a car this pretty.  The Camargue is not remembered as one of its makers finer efforts, and has even been called ugly.  I am very aware that my opinion of its looks is far from “correct” according to conventional wisdom, but I find it quite attractive, especially when viewed from the side.


A very cursory search reveals that the same man who designed this car also designed the similarly tasteful Fiat 130 coupe, and the Peugeot 104 (which is a bit stubby).  It’s rather clear that the Rolls front end was forced on a rather different design, but despite a rather bluff appearance, it all works, giving it a a less upright look versus the other cars it was sold alongside.


As a product of Pininfarina, there’s an obvious Italian influence, but it seems this was not what customers wanted from the most expensive Rolls Royce.  Too bad for them, I guess. I can certainly see the goal in making this car: over-the-top prestige in a smaller, leaner package.  Perhaps the problem was the rise of Mercedes SL/SLC, which did intimate indulgence for a good deal less.  Others blame the ’70s economy, but let’s face it, the über-wealthy usually weather economic recession without much in the way of sacrifice.  It’s more likely that the Rolls Royce way of doing things was increasingly dated while fans were simultaneously devoted to their existing designs.


As someone who’s never understood extreme luxury (there’s only so much wealth I can realistically envision), I can’t extensively speculate the reasons for this car’s failure.  I’ll let Rolls fans–there’s got to be a couple of you out there–set the record straight on the Camargue.

Related reading: Pininfarina Florida and 1973 Rolls Royce Phantom VI Drophead by Frua