This is one sweet ride
The cool thing about an auction is that you will probably see a special car that you’ve never heard of before. Such is the case of a 71 Rolls-Royce Corniche Convertible that came up for sale a couple of weeks ago at the Mecum auction in Chicago this week’s car spot. Blogging partner Mark Savage was at the event and grabbed these pictures.
Like just about every collector car, it has a story, this one with a little bit of mystery. It was owned by Helen Voorhees Brach. If you’re 30 or under, you probably won’t recognize the name, but if you’re older, you have eaten the candy that her father Emil J. Brach founded in 1904.
Emil Brach is your classic rags-to-riches story. He took $1,000 and on the corner of North Avenue and Towne Street in Chicago opened Brach’s Palace of Sweets. He undersold the competition and parlay that into four factories with a fifth one in the works in 1923 producing 2.23 million pounds of candy in 127 varieties. Name not ringing a bell? Have you ever eaten candy corn or jelly beans? Chances are they were made by Brach’s.
The family company was sold in 1966 for $136 million, around $1.24 billion in today’s dollars. Helen’s husband, Frank, died in 1970 leaving Helen’s share of the Brach inheritance equated to nearly $149 million in today’s dollars. Helen spent her time socializing with friends, and loved the color pink, all her Caddys and Roll-Royces were pink. In 1973 the story gets interesting when she met a young guy through her show horse connections, Richard Bailey, He had a history of scamming the high-income show horse set and did the same with Brach.
On February 17, 1977, Brach headed to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester Minnesota, and never returned. There have been investigations and books written about her disappearance. Bailey was not convicted of Brach’s murder but sentenced to thirty years for defrauding her. In May 1984 she was officially declared dead. In 2019, the case was still considered open and unsolved, with no one ever facing state murder charges for her death. A Who Done It for sure.
OK, back to the car. A super-clean 71 Rolls-Royce Corniche Convertible with just 16,000 miles with an automatic transmission, off-white leather interior with coordinating Magenta piping, and finished in the specialty color known as Brach Candy Purple. Some lucky bidder took this car home, along with a hell of a story for $99,000.
Thanks for stopping by and be sure to check back next Friday for another one of my car spots along with some history of the vehicle. Have a great weekend.
2 thoughts on “Car Spot: 71 Rolls-Royce Corniche Convertible”
Very interesting story, thanks for sharing. Many years ago, we were transporting a 1972 Rolls Royce to a classic car show, in Brazil. It was a 600km trip, on top of a flat bead truck. The car bounced a lot on the truck and one of the front shocks blew its insulation and we lost the suspension hydraulic fluid. But nobody knew the suspension shares its fluid with the brakes… Isn’t it weird? It was a pain driving the car around the show using only the parking brakes.
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That sounds like a great adventure. I’ve seen some car shows where they try to modify one of these and the engineering is complex. Thanks so much for sharing.