Amelia Island | Lot 154
1983 Rolls-Royce Corniche Drophead Coupe by Mulliner Park Ward
Offered from the Pray Collection
$71,500 USD | Sold
| Amelia Island, Florida
8 March 2014
- Offered from the Pray Collection
- Driven by Malcolm S. Pray Jr. for two decades
- Cosmetically restored by D.L. George Coachworks
- Extensive, professional service records
Est. 220 bhp, 412 cu. in. overhead-valve V-8 engine, three-speed automatic transmission, front lower-wishbone suspension with coil springs and anti-roll bar, independent rear suspension with semi-trailing arms and coil springs, and four-wheel disc brakes. Wheelbase: 119.75 in.
Truly great design never grows old. Rolls-Royce’s Corniche Drophead Coupe was introduced in 1970 as a convertible variant of the popular Silver Shadow, and it would last in production for a remarkable 25 years. Each was built to individual customer order at Rolls-Royce’s Mulliner Park Ward coachworks in London, taking over a month to handcraft to magnificent standards. Only the finest Connolly leather was used within, and the top alone was crafted so perfectly that it fit like the roof of a coupe.
Not just long-lived, the Corniche Drophead Coupe was also as desirable at the end of those 25 years as it was at the beginning. It was a magnificent rolling status symbol, signifying its owner’s superb taste and success, which allowed him to enjoy the greater things in life.
It was only natural, then, that a Corniche would find its way into Malcolm S. Pray Jr.’s renowned carriage houses. Mr. Pray acquired this 1983 model out of Canada in 1993, and it has remained in his collection for the 21 years since. For many years, it was regularly driven between the Pray homes in Connecticut and Florida, accumulating a present total of 28,642 miles, which are believed to be since new.
It was typical of Mr. Pray that his “drivers” would enjoy the same attention to detail as his treasured antiques. Accordingly, in 2009, with the Corniche showing its age, he elected to have the 26-year-old Rolls restored by a well-known Pennsylvania facility, D.L. George Coachworks. The body was stripped to bare metal, the minor rust damage was repaired, and it was repainted in Pearl White. All of the interior wood was removed and refinished, new carpets were made and installed, and the leather upholstery was re-dyed in tan to factory standards. The top was also rebuilt and recovered with correct material.
Both before and since the restoration, the car has enjoyed routine service by marque specialists on the East Coast and Florida, with copies of receipts for which, along with documentation of the restoration, which remains in its file today. The Rolls remains in very good overall condition, which is evidence of the care given to it over the years.
In James Keogh’s One Of A Kind, Mrs. Natalie Pray recalled visiting her future husband in Palm Beach: “I stepped out at the airport, turned around to a sea of faces, and there was handsome Malcolm—wearing a blazer and a pink shirt, tanned and smiling. We came out of the terminal and there was his beautiful white Rolls-Royce convertible, playing some very low-key music. We drove into Palm Beach with the top down, and he was delightful. And that’s very easy to fall in love with.” After a life well lived on the Palm Beach Coast and the Merritt Parkway, Mr. Pray’s beloved Corniche is proudly offered to a new caretaker.