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Rolls-Royce/Bentley Published: 10th Jul 2015 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

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Yes, you can do it with a Rolls-Royce or Bentley if you buy right – here’s how!

When it comes to “if I won the lottery, I’d buy a…” moment, most folk would probably still say “a Rolls-Royce” because nothing shouts ‘you’ve made it’ more than that loud and proud grille and the female Spirit of Ecstasy ornament – well, does it? Yet, as a lot of less well heeled owners and enthusiasts have known for decades, you can live that dream on a working wage with a mortgage to pay – if you know the rules of Rolls-Royce ownership; that is buying a good car from the outset and relying upon a specialist for its upkeep. All Rollers – and Bentleys – are classics irrespective of their age to a degree like Aston Martins. And like that other great British badge, the real value for money can lie in the more modern models.

In this special Classic Motoring feature, we’re looking at the best value for money R-Rs and Bentleys, starting with the 35 year old Silver Spirit and Mulsanne and running right up to the recent Anarge. And of the many things these two ranges have in common, it is excellent value for money due in no small part to their perceived classic status. Silver Spirits and Mulsannes are currently suffering a bit of an identity crisis and the lowly standards of many around are keeping values down. In contrast, the Anarge’s comparative youth means it suffers typical used car deprecation, although we think this will soon bottom out as it largely has on the VW-inspired Bentley GT.


It would be a lie to say that you can run a Roller on a Ford Focus budget, but on the other hand, if you’re no stranger to Jaguar ownership then the jump is not that great at all thanks to a nationwide spread of good specialists. For example, Hanwells’ labour rates (go to start from under £60 an hour – impressive for West London – while Taylors of West Sussex, quotes £540 for a 50,000 miles service on a Bentley GT. It charges £388 to replace front brake pads and just under £1200 if discs are required using Bentley parts.

There’s also a handful of R-R experts who specialise in quality second-hand parts such as Flying Spares and Intro Car (the latter who has recently relocated to Wimbledon Chris Lees of Buckinghamshire (01494 675211) says running a sophisticated Bentley GT is pricey and has caught many ex BMW and Jaguar drivers trading up, on the hop. The basics are fine, it’s the complex electronics which are expensive to repair which is why it’s imperative to buy a good car from the outset. In general the earlier Rolls-powered classics will be the simplest and cheapest to maintain but the secret on any model – and any classic to be fair – is to budget sensibly and adopt a preventative maintenance approach to catch any problems before they grow.

Tempted to live the high life? We’d always advise buying from a known Rolls- Royce specialist for peace of mind as they will invariably hold the best stock and will back up a sale with a top notch warranty. But before you even do that, why not join the RREC? Far from being elitist, the Rolls- Royce Enthusiasts Club is a friendly helpful group of enthusiasts who even run special workshop seminars to help owners look after their cars.



Launched in 1995, four years after the Continental surfaced, the Azure was the true open air Bentley owners longed for and it’s a far more accomplished (as well as water tight) car than the SC (Sedanca Coupé) with even more style to spare. The Azure was broadly based upon the standard wheelbase Continental R which ensured decent rear seat room for four. It also gained all the benefits and upgrades as the Continetnal such as Zytec engine management and traction control plus has the distinction of being made by Italian Pininfarina with the final finishing carried out at Crewe. Unlike the coupé all Azures only came with normal 360bhp Turbo power and not 420bhp in the case of the sportier T but there again these cars are for stylish cruising and supreme owner satisfaction than haring around in! In 2006 the Azure switched over to Anarge platforms. Prices for the original car hover around the £60,000 mark but can easily double for later 2008-2009 versions.


First of the truly modern Rolls and Bentley saloons that stayed in production for 15 years and still formed the basis of its replacement, the Silver Spirit/ Mulsanne. After a short and sorry spell of being seen as simply a cheap old Roller to smoke around in (rather like what the Silver Spirit is currently going through), the Shadow has comes out of the shadows and evolved into a coveted classic, liked for their style and old money character. Post 1976 cars are regarded as the nicest drivers thanks to their revised suspensions with sharper rack and pinion steering although some actually prefer the feel of the older chassis. Having said that, pre-1969 cars are more for the purist and a bit mushy. There’s no shortage of choice, but beware of cheapies and freshly two-toned cars hiding rust; bank on a £15,000 spend from a good specialist that will pay for itself in the long run. Bentley models are ten times rarer and so it’s not unknown for a Shadow to take on a new identity…


The Cloud was the first post war Rolls and Bentley although it still featured a separate chassis frame which allowed special coachbuilders to do their own thing. Initially fitted with a straight six engine, the V8 didn’t arrive until 1959 (S2) but which wasn’t fully sorted until the S3 of 1962 and many regard the older engine the smoother and sweeter if not half a swift. Power steering didn’t arrive until 1956, and despite being finger light is worth having; these cars are no sports saloons but respond better to a gentler style behind the wheel. Clouds, along with the equivalent Bentley S Series alternatives, are rapidly outstripping Shadow values; bank on spending £25,000 for a nice example while top coachbuilt specials can command six figure sums. As with the Shadow, the danger is being tempted by low prices because while simple in design, Clouds are extremely costly to both repair and restore properly so buy the best you can stretch to. Pure class sums them all up if you get a good one.

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