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Not New Bentley

Discussion in 'British' started by whart, Dec 4, 2003.

  1. whart

    whart F1 Veteran
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    Dec 5, 2001
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    This is for Taek and any of you with experience of slightly older Bentleys. Why are the Continental convertibles and the so-called Corniche Bentleys so cheap? I know these cars are not the most reliable, or state of the art (maybe they were circa 1940), but they seem to be alot of car for the money. I am talking about the mid-eighties convertibles. Any insight would be appreciated.
     
  2. Juice It

    Juice It F1 Rookie
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    What are you considering cheap and for what models?
     
  3. kdross

    kdross Formula Junior
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    Whart:

    The RR and Bentley's from the 80's are worthless (except a Bentley Continential that you are asking about - they are very rare). A used Rolls or Bentley is worth its salvage value in scrap steel. This is a sad statement since they are nice cars. I believe the reason for a used Rolls being so cheap is because they are very large cars that require a lot of maintenance. Figure on paying more in maintenance than a TR. We averaged about $5K a year in maintenance for our 1980 Silver Shadow II. With that said, the 1981 cars and newer are cheaper to maintain, and the 1987 1/2 - 1989 cars are even cheaper to maintain (see below).

    You really want to get a 20,000 series car that were made from 1987 1/2 through 1989. They are the best cars to get, and the best cars ever made by Rolls. Make sure to call John Palma at (856) 547-6522. He is the best mechanic in the country for Rolls and Bentley's and is familiar with many of the cars that are currently for sale. He is also very friendly and will give you any info that you may need. Most people in the Rolls Royce club (RROC) will not buy a car unless John has either serviced it, or does a PPI on the car. If you look in Hemmings you will usually see his name in the ads for the cars for sale as being the person who has serviced the car. A car will carry a premium and will be much easier to sell if John has worked on the car.

    Feel free to email me at kdross@msn.com if you have any questions.

    Ken
     
  4. whart

    whart F1 Veteran
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    Ken, Thanks. I'm facing the prospect of dumping our 740i Sport at the end of the lease, and don't have any interest whatsoever in the "new" 7 series. Perhaps an M5, new MB's leave me cold (save for the amg version of the cl, but its a tad overpriced and still has loads o' plastic in the interior), and i just can't get excited about an Audi. This car will be our sedan, the car that we go out to dinner in, don't really drive in the snow, but will take on the highway. I will also drive it into the city. Looking at lux sedans in the below 100k category, there ain't alot that turns me on. For some reason, the Bentley convertibles that look like Corniches are appealing to me. And, the prices seem pretty low.

    Jeff- over 50k up to around 100k, for a car which is far more lux. and elegant than the Maybach.
     
  5. Kds

    Kds F1 World Champ

    Bill.....

    One of my long time personal friends for the last 15 years is the ex-president of the Canadian chapter of the RR club and a long time owner of several of the cars from the late 80's early 90's. I have also sold a couple of these in the last 5 years and personally know a few owners of the cars in question.

    FWIW......in his reasoning, anything from this era that would be driven 20K miles a year as a daily driver would probably cost you $5-10K a year in servicing. We just replaced the rear shocks on an 88 Corniche a few months ago. $2K per side !! Brake pads and rotors every 18-24 months. Hydraulic suspension accumulators every few years...etc...etc. They also are prone to rust in a few areas as well. Some of the parts prices and labor charges he has told me that you can potentially incur on these cars make my planned TR acquisition look like a Hyundai purchase in comparison. He suggestd E-bay as a parts source as for a lot of the stuff, trim, etc, as it can be found there for reasonable prices.

    In his opinion you must get the convertible.

    You sure get lots of shizzle for the bling......on that we both agree wholeheartedly.
     
  6. kdross

    kdross Formula Junior
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    For about $75K you can get a really nice 1995 ish Bentley Contential Coupe (4 seater). They are great cars with lots of power. They have over 400hp and 600 plus pounds of torque. They are also reliable. As previously mentioned, they cost a lot to run. Give John a call. He can tell you which model will fit you best.


    On a final note, do not buy anything from Champion. They are your local Bentley dealer in NY. The cars they sell (used) are a time bomb waiting to go off. Stay clear of them. If you need more info email me.


    Ken
     
  7. JaguarXJ6

    JaguarXJ6 F1 Veteran

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    Good posts, thanks for the info :)
     
  8. Juice It

    Juice It F1 Rookie
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    Jeff- over 50k up to around 100k, for a car which is far more lux. and elegant than the Maybach.[/QUOTE]


    Good luck hunting, I agree with you about the new sedans out. Thats why I went with the Arnage. I love it, even though its not the most advanced thing on the market, it has plenty of style. Very luxurious interior and you won't have another pull up next to you at every light. Well, maybe where you live! What do you think about the late 80's Turbo R. I don't know if they went into the 90's or not but see some low mile cars in the 30's. Not bad at all for what you get. As far as the converts, I love em but don't know how old I would go on one. Keep us posted on what you find!
     
  9. Stickanddice

    Stickanddice Formula 3

    Nov 2, 2002
    2,473
    Hello Bill,

    Your best bet really is to find the mechanic first, then the car. Last thing you want is to be like the oft seen wayward souls in Ferrarichat seeking absolution from their mechanical woes only to find no qualified Ferrari mechanic within a reasonable distance. You would want them to conduct a PPI also.

    Bentleys are indeed finicky cars, but like all marques many of their woes can be solved for good once addressed by the proper person. The list of maladies really is not very extensive to the best of my knowledge.

    My dad's take on Bentley prices is as such. Take Ferrari. Now lets say Ferrari hasn't won a single race for 70 years. Add to the equation that Ferraris are horribly expensive to repair and only around five people in the country can actually fix it right. What do you think that would do to their resale?

    My father is probably on his 15th or 20th Bentley. He has had just about all major iterations. He is not even close to fanatical about the 80s cars except for the Continentals and Turbos. Do you have to have a convertible? My only first hand experience was with my wife's 1998 Azure, which was purchased new. I think these early Azures (1995) can be had for a bit over 100k and are better than the 80-90s Continental convertibles. 1998 was the first year where they changed the grille from the vertical slats to the meshy look so you may get some bargaining room by complaining you like the latest bling bling meshy look. Oh and styling is from Pininfarina! Also the convertible top or hood if you're feeling British completely disappears beneath the tonneau cover, unlike the Continental's (think 996 cabriolet vs. 930 cabriolet). The suspension is also a lot more rigid. Electrics are a lot better. My wife had a trouble free car for about 5 years and drove it daily in Boston, MA weather and crummy roads. The car was much more in it's element in Miami, FL, where I also had the opportunity to enjoy the car. She had problems with the top once, which was fixed imporperly and it led to a second problem which was just adjusting the top (started to leak on the passenger side). I'll ask her later if she had any other problems if you want to pursue this route.

    If you absolutely must have the 80s drop top continentals for their look, I can't particularly blame you. I think they look quite handsome as well. I would want to spring for the later convertibles. Definitely post 1987 or 1988 when they put ABS on these heavy monsters. 1990 was when they first put in better fuel injection.

    A word on Bentley depreciation...
    You will find that a lot of what you hear is myth, much like the Ferrari world, but that is not to say that there aren't nightmare stories. Yes, the problem is compounded by the kick in the nuts bills that comes out of these cars. Mechanics are not always to blame since parts alone are exhorbitantly priced. A capable mechanic should be able find the stuff priced well though. Bentley parts sourcing is about as archaic as an abacus in the computer world, hence prices will have a tremendous discrepancy.

    Bentley relied very heavily in it's old roots to sell cars. Keep in mind also that throughout RRs ownership of Bentley they tried their hardest to always keep Bentleys in their shadow. There aren't enough Bentley fans out there to support the older secondary market. That isn't to say that all Bentleys are doomed. As you have no doubt found, the right cars do pretty well in holding their values. My take on it is because although there might not be enough fans to support a large secondary market, there are enough fans out there to keep prices afloat on the niche cars. A convertible Bentley is always on the top of the desireability list, which is why you'll see prices sky high compared to their hard topped counterparts. Sporting Bentleys are also tops, which is why you'll see Continentals selling pretty high.

    Final thought. I would personally opt for a post 1995 Bentley Continental R. I've driven many and it is my favorite Bentley and a 1995 should be able to be had for under 100k after tax and licensing. As conspicuous spending comes back in vogue Bentleys have certainly gotten a lot of attention. The Aranges are nice, but there is only one option for the well heeled Bentley enthusiast, and that's the Continental. Unless you want a drop top, then you don't have a choice. Best of luck!

    Cheers
     
  10. Stickanddice

    Stickanddice Formula 3

    Nov 2, 2002
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    Jeff,

    The Turbo model made it all the way to 1998 in Turbo RT guise! :)

    Cheers
     
  11. Stickanddice

    Stickanddice Formula 3

    Nov 2, 2002
    2,473
    By the way, I emphatically agree about the new stock of luxury sedans.

    Maddening, isn't it?

    Cheers
     
  12. whart

    whart F1 Veteran
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    Thanks, Taek. I put a call into the mechanic that Ken recommended (apparently he is in Joisey, so he's close) and i'll take it from there. I have heard alot of horror stories about post-war RR and Bentley, but, you are right, the stories about ferrari abound too, and i've managed to survive quite a few of them. :)

    Jeff: Not every car of mine has to be a high performance car.
     
  13. Stickanddice

    Stickanddice Formula 3

    Nov 2, 2002
    2,473
    Called my wife. I overlooked something. Her Azure had a problem with the rear electronic suspension set up and the A/C went out on her once.

    Good thing you found an independent. Much like other exotica, most dealers are truly worthless when it comes to proper work for the car. Its one thing to fix a problem, and quite another trace the root of the problem and fix it and other issues once and for all.

    Cheers
     
  14. Juice It

    Juice It F1 Rookie
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  15. Nibblesworth

    Nibblesworth Formula 3
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    You know, I'm a big fan of luxo-sedans. I love a smooth, powerful, quite ride that has sport hidden deep within. I've driven some pretty sweet luxo-rides, so I have a *tiny* idea of what I'm talking about - although not nearly as much as others on this board.

    There are two cars that are really, really cool cars (IMHO) that are CHEAP and will last forever. They also happen to be cars that accepts mods relatively well, and can be made into VERY fast and good handling cars for under $10k in add-ons.

    Both have rear-wheel drive V8 driven powerplants. Both a big, well insulated, and pretty damn quiet to drive. Both are under $35k.

    The first is the Mercuary Marauder. I almost convinced my step-pops to buy one a month or so ago. We drove one and it was AMAZING. A true sleeper. Pretty damn cool interior, truly amazing powerplant, and good handling.

    The second is a Crown Vic with the sport package. Again, a very nice and fun luxo-sedan. It is low on power when compared to the Marauder (60hp less, I think), but it's got great torque, a nice ride, and fairly decent handling.

    I know these cars are the "crap" of the luxo-market when considering a Mercedes, BMW, or the plutocratic RR's and Bentlys. But they really aren't crap. Most people have never driven either a Marauder or a Sport Pkg Crown Vic, so they really don't know what they are talking about.

    I think you really oughtta look at both of these cars - make sure if you do to look at the sport pkg Crown Vic - it's the only crown vic with a floor shifter and buckets.

    I love F-cars, Mercedes, BMW, blah blah blah, but I am convinced that a Crown Vic or Marauder will be what I drive when I'm done with law school. Really, really nice cars.

    Final point - a new Vic with sport pkg can be had for about $24k. A new Marauder can be had for about $30k.
     
  16. Enzo

    Enzo F1 Rookie

    Feb 14, 2002
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    I have always thought the Crown Vic looks mean with the right rims and paint. And if you can get the cop motor and brakes they haul ass. I was in one squad car (my father was a policeman for 30yrs) and it had a sticker that read "Please close windows after 140mph"
     
  17. Stickanddice

    Stickanddice Formula 3

    Nov 2, 2002
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    I absolutely despise civillian Crown Victorias! They make me slow down and make my heart skip a beat! :)

    Cheers
     
  18. whart

    whart F1 Veteran
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    Yeah, isn't one of them a "kenny brown" special with so much torque you are buying new rear tyres, as well as underwear? Dunno.Cause the last time i drove a Mercury Marquis, as a rental car a few years ago, i found out the only thing they changed since the 60's was to move the high beam switch from the little floor button, up to the stalks.

    But, it might be fun to play "undercover" cop.
     
  19. tbakowsky

    tbakowsky F1 World Champ
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    Sep 18, 2002
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    Why on earth would you want to even consider a trouble some, probbably inpropperly maintain Bently or RR? These cars are nothing but JUNK!! I will repeat that again JUNK!! I don't think i have ever seen one that doesn't leak oil..have a problem with the braking system(mineral oil for @#@$sakes) or just run like a bag of sh-t. The suspension systems are junk,the interior components are junk..A radio out of a Pontiac Sunbird or Cavialer? C'mon guys look past the name and really look at what your buying? Geez I had one of these things in the shop for some carzy electrical problems..You ever see how the factory routes the wiring on these things? It's amazing that they don't catch fire on the assembly line!!.

    If you guys think Ferrari's are expensive to run, they seem like kids play compared to a Bentley or RR. Just look at how there put together,and you'l' realize why the dealer charges so much to fix the thing. Knowbody in there right mind would want to work on one for less then 150 bucks an hour. Heck i won't even let one in the door of my shop anymore..not even to "just check the oil".

    But if you really want one then i guess you must do you homework like everything else. Make for damn sure you know sombody who works on these cars for a living. Not just a shop that does 1 or 2. They are not a car for the neighbour hood garage. Most places will not even look under the hood. I've learned my lesson with these cars. The amount of effort and time involved servicing them is just not worth the door rate I charge. I end up losing money on the cars. This is why I will not service them anymore. I have customers with Ferrari's that also own Bentlys and RR..And I have told them I won't fix their "other" car for the reasons I mentioned here. They agreed and are still loyal customers.
     
  20. 134282

    134282 Four Time F1 World Champ

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    Ken, are you referring to Bentley of Long Island, formerly Champion or is there a place near Bill that's also called Champion...? Just wondering... Congratulations on being a father by the way, i hope all is well...

    Bill, good luck; if i had anything to say about it, i'd say steer clear of anything and everything american-made...
    Good luck and definitely keep us posted on what you do... :)
     
  21. Stickanddice

    Stickanddice Formula 3

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    Tom, you've indirectly brought up a few very good points I made in my earlier posts.

    First off, find a guy who REALLY knows what he is doing. Which I think Bill has done via the glowing recommendation here. Or will continue to do so prior to his purchase. Just like any other preowned car.

    Secondly, dealers don't know **** when it comes to these cars. Which is why you need a good independent...see above. But this is true of Ferraris and Lamborghinis too. Even Porsches to an extent.

    Thirdly, the problems are common and if fixed right, they are righted. Yes, the wiring is a mess, but once sorted intelligently, it'll work. I don't know about suspension, but it doesn't surprise me given how my wife's had a problem with it (see above). Brakes can also be upgraded, although the ones I've driven have brakes that are OK. Just like Ferraris have their known maladies (ie. 355s with their valve guides etc).

    That said, just like you don't take a Ferrari to your local Honda shop, you don't take Bentleys to a Ferrari guy unless he does a bunch of them. Not because they are superior cars or so advanced. Just because they are so different.

    Cheers
     
  22. kdross

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    I am referring to Bentley of Long Island (a/k/a Champion). They are trouble, and so are their used cars (do not even consider buying a used Bentley or Ferrari from them). Stay away. They have a very bad reputation that is well earned.

    Thanks for the kind words. I took off work last week to spend some time with my wife and new born son. So far everyone is doing well. We are just a little tired. Take care.

    Ken
     
  23. kdross

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    Did you get a chance to talk with John Palma?

    Ken
     
  24. whart

    whart F1 Veteran
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    Ken: I did. He was delightful. He referred me to a very late Continental Convertible located in the midwest that has virtually no miles, but for that reason, has a premium price tag. I told him i would look into that car, but was not necessarily looking to buy a collectible or queen, and that i wanted to keep the price down to the current big German sedan levels or a little higher, but i wasn't looking for a kilobuck car, either at purchase or in repairs. I also like the later Continental coupes and he endorsed this, as well. He is now a dealer as well as a repair shop, and mentioned a couple real cheap cars that are well below my budget. So, we might be able to work together; i promised to keep in touch with him as my research progresses. Thanks for the referral. If you speak to him, let him know i thought highly of him, and appreciated the time he gave me on the phone.
     
  25. kdross

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    I am glad that you had a chance to talk to John. He is a good guy and really knows his stuff. If it were my money, I would buy either a 1988 or 1989 Bentley Turbo R (20,000 series car) or a late model Bentley Continental Coupe (1993-1999??? - I forget the years of production).

    A 20,000 series Bentley Turbo R can be had real cheap. I just missed a 1989 Peacock blue (dark pacific blue) and tan Turbo R with 41K miles for $25K at John's. Someone beat me by a few hours. The car was really nice and fully serviced. These cars are fairly fast (0-60 in 6.5 seconds) and have a ton of power. In 1990 the Turbo R received more advanced electronics and a very expensive (and problematic) electronic suspension. While a late model Turbo R is still a great car, the 20,000 series cars look pretty much the same and will be much cheaper to maintain.

    For a few more bucks, you can get a late model Bentley Continental Coupe. These run from $60K to about $90K used, and are perhaps a really good car for what you are looking for. For my money, this is the car to get. Ask John as to which are the better years to get. These cars offer explosive performance at a relatively moderate price (for a used version). The Azure would be the convertible version, but even used they start at $130K and go to $400K for a new one.

    If you really want a Continental convertible then buy one, but I think they are really over priced for what you get due to their rarity. They are not turbo charged and use older technology (even for Bentley). With that said, they are one of the better looking cars Bentley has produced and have a timeless design. There are two for sale on Ebay right now, and one is a 1993 British Racing Green model in Great Neck, LI New York. The price seems a little high, but the current bid is only $77K.

    Good luck in your search.

    Ken
     

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