The mid-80's were a time when Rolls-Royce and Bentley's were allowed to be coachbuilt again. Some of the richer individuals of this planet decided that the British factory couldn't build what they desired. Rolls-Royces and Bentley's converted by companies like Hooper and Robert Jankel clearly show the need for customization of these very expensive automobiles. However, it was not only in Britain that Silver Spurs and Bentley Mulsannes were modified.
The unique modifications you see in this article were built in Turin, Italy by Salvatore Diomante. Apparently the lack of a Rolls-Royce 4-door convertible inspired customers from the Middle-East to order a 4-door Silver Spirit convertible with retained all of it's four doors. The cars were cut open from front to back, but in the middle a rollbar was placed between the front- and rear doors to keep the car in shape.
The conversions were made in conjuction with Al Ajda Motoring, the official Saudi-Arabian importer for Rolls-Royce and Bentley. Al Ajda was owned by an Italian who had links with Salvatore Diomante that dated back to the 1970s. The 4-door convertible Silver Spirit was priced at about 200.000 UK Pounds in 1986 which was real serious money. At least four of these cars have survived the 25 years since they've been built.
When it comes to 80s coachbuilding this is as good as it gets: the Salvatore Diomante (Autocostruzione SD) Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit 4-door convertible in yellow. At least two of these convertibles were made. Note that the rims have a "Al Ajda Automotive" inscription on them. The car is disguised as a Bentley, but don't be fooled.
Although based on a Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit, the car has a 24-carat gilded Bentley grille. To maintain structural rigidity of the Silver Spirit a rollbar was installed.
Front of a Bentley and logo on the trunk is that of a Rolls-Royce. Identity crisis.
This is a very fine demonstration what you can do with a Clarion G80 soundsystem. Since it consists of separate components you can place the different parts wherever you want. Autocostruzione SD placed the cassette deck and control amplifier the top part of the centre console facing the dashboard, and the radio tuner and 4 power amplifiers lying flat in the custom made centre console. The joystick for the ballance centers the 4 power amps. The switches to operate the seats are relocated (and gilded as well).
The interior has been completely redecorated in yellow leather, with all previously chrome details, such as the door handles and ashtray, all gilded.
The yellow Autocostruzione SD Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit wasn't a one-off. This white convertible, which retains it's original Rolls-Royce grille, is except for the color, exactly the same as the yellow car. It has the SD front and rear bumpers as well as wheels with inscriptions that read "Al Ajda Automotive".
With the cover taken off the convertible roof the car looks quite different.
The biggest differences with the yellow convertible are the white color and the lack of gilded trim.
The interior is the same too, with the special centre console that has the built-in Clarion G80 soundsystem, the picnic tables in the doors and the small console for the rear passengers.
Text: copyright Bram Corts 2013