Come drive with me: Frank Sinatra’s Rolls up for sale

| 30 Oct 2018
Come drive with me: Frank Sinatra’s Rolls-Royce Corniche up for sale

Always fancied yourself as the missing member of the Rat Pack? Bid smart on Sunday 11 November and you could be sitting in the same seat as Ol' Blue Eyes himself.

Yes, the Chairman of the Board’s own Rolls-Royce is going under the hammer at the NEC Classic Motor Show – and it’s a car with quite a story.

While it won’t give you the voice of The Voice (or fly you to the moon, for that matter), to own a Corniche steered by Sinatra would be quite something – which probably explains why it’s expected to fetch upwards of £105k ($135k).

Come drive with me: Frank Sinatra’s Rolls-Royce Corniche up for sale
Come drive with me: Frank Sinatra’s Rolls-Royce Corniche up for sale
Come drive with me: Frank Sinatra’s Rolls-Royce Corniche up for sale
The Rolls was given to Sinatra by Sammy Davis Jr and Dean Martin; finished in red leather, it came with ‘cocktail requisites’ in the doors

The story of Sinatra’s Corniche starts with The Rat Pack. 

When the singer turned 70 in 1985, then-president Ronald Reagan threw him a party at the White House. Sinatra’s great friends and fellow Rat Packers Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr decided that such an occasion demanded a similarly impressive gift, so they teamed up to buy him this Rolls-Royce Corniche.

A 1984 example in convertible guise, it arrived in the USA in November 1984, finished in black with a red leather interior. It even came complete with rear picnic tables and ‘cocktail requisites’ for both doors, naturally.

Come drive with me: Frank Sinatra’s Rolls-Royce Corniche up for sale
Remarkably, the Corniche was one of two given to Sinatra for his 70th

It’s not clear whether Martin and Davis Jr ordered the car as such or found it at the dealership – though the fact that Sinatra’s 70th birthday occurred more than a year after the Rolls arrived in the USA suggests it was probably the latter.

In any case, a few weeks after Frank turned 70, the birthday Corniche rocked up at the singer’s Palm Springs home. 

Mercifully, the purchasing pair didn’t notice the Corniche that Sinatra’s record company had also gifted to him. Don’t you hate it when that happens?

While the second Rolls-Royce was used by Sinatra’s wife Barbara, the model gifted by Martin and Davis Jr was used by the man himself for some five years until, in 1990, he gifted it to one Ingemar Fredriksson.

Come drive with me: Frank Sinatra’s Rolls-Royce Corniche up for sale
Sinatra passed the Rolls on to his assistant Ingemar Fredriksson as a reward for long service

Fredriksson had known Sinatra since the ’60s (when they’d met at a boxing match in Sweden) – but it wasn’t until he bumped into the singer again in New York that their friendship truly took off, with Fredriksson moving into an apartment owned by Sinatra and even accompanying the singer to an evening at the White House.

From 1980, Fredriksson acted as Sinatra’s assistant in Palm Springs and, in 1990, the Roller was given to him in recognition of his decade of service. Not a bad bonus from your boss, eh?

Fredriksson remained friends with Sinatra until the singer’s passing in 1998, and all throughout that time drove the Corniche almost daily, taking it with him when he moved to Spain in 2001 after retiring in 1997.

Come drive with me: Frank Sinatra’s Rolls-Royce Corniche up for sale
Come drive with me: Frank Sinatra’s Rolls-Royce Corniche up for sale
The Corniche was the subject of an extensive restoration, to the value of £47,000, between 2015 and ’17

Several years later, the Corniche was accepted as part-payment for a property and put into storage by the current owner, where it would reside for some 15 years before being carefully recommissioned by marque specialists in the UK.

A raft of invoices detail the extensive work undertaken between 2015 and 2017 in an effort to present the car at its absolute best, with every effort made to maintain its historical integrity – from re-finishing the wooden door cappings to re-touching the paintwork (rather than respraying entirely).

Much mechanical work was undertaken, too, to ensure that the Rolls remained in a condition fit for the Sultan of Swoon himself – and, with a final bill of £47,000, you’d certainly hope it did.

Now the Corniche is set to go under the hammer with Silverstone Auctions, being offered for the first time at a public auction and set to go to only its fourth owner – some 33 years after originally being given to Sinatra.

Naturally, such a storied machine comes at a price – and estimates suggest the Rat Pack Corniche could claim anything from £105k to £125k when the hammer falls at the auction, which takes place at the NEC Classic Motor Show in Birmingham on 10 and 11 November. 


BUY A CLASSIC ROLLS-ROYCE CORNICHE

You'll find dozens of them in our classifieds section here


READ MORE

7 of Jamiroquai star Jay Kay's cars are up for grabs

Yours for £20m: Ferrari 290MM raced by Fangio and Moss

Steve McQueen’s Willys Jeep is for sale

The 50 most expensive cars ever sold at auction