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Classic Corniche has futurist history

Luxury coupe lists Star Wars actor Kenny Baker as previous owner

Published: September 18, 2016, 10:30 PM
Updated: September 23, 2016, 2:39 AM

1982 Rolls-Royce Corniche FHC

Kenny Baker in R2-D2 on Star Wars set

Any Star Wars aficionado will be looking forward to a classic automobile linked to one of the most likable characters in the franchise. R2-D2’s 1982 Rolls-Royce Corniche will be up for auction this coming weekend at the Warwickshire Exhibition Centre.

Well, it didn’t really belong to the beloved droid in the Star Wars universe, but rather to Kenny Baker, the 3-foot-8 actor who climbed into the droid canister for every scene in which the character was required.

“Kenny wanted the best car in the world which just happened to be one of the biggest,” comments Guy Lees-Milne, auction manager at Classic Car Auctions (CCA), which will be staging the auction at which the car will go under the hammer. “Today the only indication of the special adaptation are some small holes drilled in the pedals, evidence of the car’s special story and unique provenance, which is sure to attract the interest of Rolls-Royce and Star Wars fans alike on auction day.”

1982 Rolls-Royce Corniche FHC interior

Baker reportedly acquired the luxury coupe on June 6, 1982, a few weeks after filming wrapped up on Return of the Jedi, the third film released in the saga (and the finale of the original Star Wars trilogy). He used it as his daily driver, having it adapted to his short stature (with hefty seat cushions and wooden blocks affixed to the pedals) so he could drive it. The modifications have since been reversed, with the only indication being the holes in the pedals so the blocks could be attached.

One of the most expensive models of its day, the Corniche was powered by the renowned 6.75-litre overhead-valve V-8 and controlled by a 3-speed automatic. It was, of course, rich in natural materials with leather upholstery (blue in Baker’s car), real wood trim and accessories (walnut, here, including the steering wheel), and lambswool rugs.

As it heads to auction, it is rated in good condition with 76,500 miles on the odometer (about 123,115 km) and comes with a comprehensive history file, the original handbook, a V5 clearing showing Baker as a previous owner (he was one of four), and every tax disc since it was first licensed. It is estimated at between £32,000 and £36,000 (roughly $54,900 to $61,800, Canadian), as it is “in need of a little bit of love.”

1982 Rolls-Royce Corniche FHC

The car will be offered at auction on September 24th. More information is available on the auction-house’s website (www.classiccarauctions.co.uk/rolls-royce-corniche).