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Discussion Starter #1
Hello everyone, hope you're all doing OK.

I've decided now that I'm in my early 40s that I want to own one of these beautiful Crewe cars. I'm really drawn to the SZ cars in particular as they're the last of a line, and I prefer the "less fussy" more sporty appeal of the Bentley ones over the Rolls-Royces. The fact that they are hand built is really important to me and makes them much more special than the later cars.

I've been doing a bit of research and wanted to hear some other opinions and hopefully get answers to some of the questions I have.

Firstly, is it still possible to get a decent Turbo R for around £15000 or have the prices risen beyond that? And also is even worth the extra money for a Turbo R over a Brooklands (or even a Mulsanne)? Looking at what's on Auto Trader and Car and Classic at the moment the Brooklands seem a few thousand pounds cheaper. I've never really been a boy racer type so I'm not convinced I need the turbo at all, and it seems that makes the car easier to look after, though I do wonder if the Turbo R would end up being more desirable in future when I eventually end up selling it (though I hope that won't be for at least 10-15 years).

I'm not really rich, though I understand these cars do need a decent amount of money spending on them and am willing and able to put £5-6 thousand a year aside to keep whatever I end up with in the condition it deserves to be in, I don't think I'm going in to anything with my eyes closed or anything like that.

I've seen some talk about problems with the handbrakes on these cars. I live in a city famed for it's hills so that concerns me somewhat. It's likely it'll end up parked on a 12.5% slope, is that too steep to safely leave in park without the handbrake on? I've never had an automatic (though have driven them in the past) so I don't know how robust park is on its own.

I've also seen quite a lot of chatter around the Zytek EMS, which is in the later cars. A lot of the cars I can see in my budget here in the UK at the moment are 1995 or 1996 cars so presumably have this system, which is very difficult to replace. Are failures with these really that common and should I avoid these cars as much as I can? That would be a pity as honestly I do prefer the look of these later cars, but I'd rather have a slightly less good looking car that worked compared to one that didn't!

I'm going to look in to having a car port and drive fitted to the side of my house for it to keep it out of the elements a bit. The subject of covers seems like it can be controversial. I've seen ones that claim to wick away any moisture and can even be put on to wet cars, is that just wishful thinking? I've also seen people advocating for regular washing instead, how regular is regular? What do I need to do to keep whatever I get as rust-free as practically possible without a full garage?

Usage wise it won't be a daily driver but I'm thinking of insuring it for 3000 miles a year. That would be three or four 400 mile round trips, which leaves just under 40 miles a week for the rest of the time which will almost be every other weekend. Is that enough to keep in good running order? This will be my only car, but I get by mostly fine without one at the moment so it's not like a normal "only car".

As we're in lockdown at the moment it's going to be a while before I can start really looking but it would be great to hear what people have to say.

Thank you all in advance for your advice.
 

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Hello
First, I'm not sure if it is a good idea to have SZ as the only one car in family. Sometimes it is just not worth to use it, especially if it is raining, snowy, slippery or misty. Any part like bumper, blinker or light are really expensive ;) If in your locality is a salt on the road in winter, I can advise to not use SZ car in winter months at all. So, the second thing is a storage. I believe that it is just a nonsense to keep a car like SZ without full garage. Take attention, that it is a really big car and it can not fit in typical garage.

Previous owner of my car said, that the hand brake is working and he was really proud of that. However I never used it, as my city is quite flat (I don't use hand brake too in my Mercedes with automatic gearbox that I drive many years). I believe, that in SZ cars hand brake is more for emergency breaking, when all other brake systems will stop to work 🤣.

I think, that £5-6 thousand yearly is enough to keep this cars to drive. You must remember, that if you will buy a car with faulty hydraulics or struts, possible, that you will spend £2-3k just at once, at the beginning of the play. Take attention at all not working gadgets like electrically moveable seats, windows, central locking etc. It is all repairable, but will cost a lot of money or time (note that not working DIP needs to be replaced usually!).

The rest should tell someone from UK ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for your comments. I forgot to mention in my original post that I'll be budgeting for £2-3k over the purchase price as you've mentioned. I'll also get a potential car checked out by an expert before buying it, I'd rather be safe in that regard, and I'll be asking for recommendations later down the line.

It doesn't snow often here but it does rain. A full garage isn't feasible at my house unfortunately but there may be options nearby I can look in to.

Although it will be our only car it won't get daily use so not that many opportunities for mishaps.

I'll eagerly await contributions from UK members ;)
 

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I'm not really rich, though I understand these cars do need a decent amount of money spending on them and am willing and able to put £5-6 thousand a year aside to keep whatever I end up with in the condition it deserves to be in, I don't think I'm going in to anything with my eyes closed or anything like that.
Welcome, I'm not rich either. I'm been considering trading mine in for a MK5 Cortina (Ghia of course). 90% of the looks 10% of the running costs.

29354
 

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That's a beautiful colour example as well! I've not seen any of these for years. Wouldn't a Granada be more fitting? ;)
 

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The preinspection must be performed by a shop that knows these cars or you risk items specific to these cars that the average inspector misses or does not understand.
Fully up to date service records are very important.
A daily driver.....not the best choice.
 

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1999 Rolls-Royce Silver Spur, British Racing Green
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I love these SZ cars and am on my second (a ‘99 Rolls Silver Spur). As some of the other have alluded to, they are costly to maintain. I paid way too much for my ‘99–I’m frankly embarrassed by how much—simply because I have a complete weakness for British Racing Green and have never seen another. Bought it on line from someone I thought I could trust. Clean carfax and owner history. It was represented to be in excellent “show” condition. After I got it, I found out what condition it was actually in. It’s in the shop now—bill is going to be around $9-$10K total. Had to replace the tires. They were new five years ago and had no miles but flat spotted. The car had not had its maintenance chores kept up with. Change the oil, trans fluid, coolant, spark plugs—also needed a bunch of light bulbs. Washer pump didn’t work. Rear power window regulator had to be sent off for a rebuild. Rear axle bearings were bad. Had to buy an expensive specialized tool to remove them or replace half shafts at a huge cost. When we took it apart we found out all the brake discs were too thin and had to be replaced. Lug nuts were buggered up by the last person who worked on it. Then a caliper was discovered to be leaking. Had a couple hydraulic lines we had to replace. Difficult and needed OEM part. Needed a radiator hose. Luggage compartment springs are weak. The lid won’t stay up. Have to deal with that yet. Has a leaky power steering rack. Was replaced by prior owner three years ago and from what I know, that’s about how long they last. Also has a leaky valve cover gasket but too costly to replace so I am instead hoping a new flame trap will make it leak less. When I get all this done I still have a wonky HVAC control and stereo speakers that need replacing, as well as a couple issues on the body, one of which was caused by a prior repair not showing up on Carfax.

IF you want a reliable car you can drive every day with limited repair and maintenance expenses, go with something else. I love these cars and fortunately have other vehicles to drive. But that said, they also HAVE to be driven or you will develop a whole host of other problems.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
But that said, they also HAVE to be driven or you will develop a whole host of other problems.
How much would you say they need to be driven? Would 20-30 miles every couple of weeks be OK or would that be a bad idea?

Hope you get your Silver Spur running smoothly soon!
 

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1999 Rolls-Royce Silver Spur, British Racing Green
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I’m really fussy about my cars and will get this as close to perfect as I can. It actually drove pretty good before getting it to the shop but wow—lots of unexpected expense! I love that it has no vinyl top and doesn’t have whitewalls.

I can’t say how often you need to drive your hypothetical new car but you will have less issues with one that is used. Sitting is hard in relays and seals of all kinds. And the batteries tend to wear down. A trickle charger (factory charger is best) may be a good idea!
29355
 

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UK Turbo R driver here 👋

Have had mine for over a year now and have spent just over a grand on maintenance since I’ve had it. They tend to average £1-2k per year here in the UK (it’s cheaper here as there is more specialists at better rates and good part availability). If you are handy with the spanners then get a pre ‘93 car (Bosch not Zytec) - it is a lot easier to work on with far more part availability as the Bosch CIS system was on a lot of Mercs and Porche in the 80/90s.

Here in Manchester we are spoilt for choice with good specialists but if you say where you are I might know a few I could recommend. I guessed Sheffield from your description of “hilly”!

As you say the key to these things is getting one that is driven regularly, many of the fabled reliability problems are from people keeping them as garage queens and expecting them to start at the push of a button for its annual trip to the MOT man.
Have a good look at the history and check that it has been kept up to scratch by someone who knows what to look for, and if there are any leaks (particularly hydraulics) then be sure to put a grand aside to sort it out.
Above all get an inspection from a specialist, expect to pay about £150 but it’s worth every penny.
Mileage isn’t that important on these, as you would expect with an un-stressed V8.
 

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Inspection IS critical. And getting a good car to start with is as well. Do you think that this budget will buy a car that only needs 1-2k lbs in work?
 

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Being lucky helps too! Sometimes you just get a dog!

£15k is a generous budget for what I described earlier as my ideal car, the later cars fetch more money (despite the issues) because of the improved performance. Ofcourse a lot of the older Turbo Rs have sleepy boost solenoids or knackered knock sensors which mean they are not running up to scratch. I am investigating mine as its only getting 0.2 bar, I suspect its the knock sensors which are a relatively cheap fix.

As above I would rather have a ‘89 - ‘93 (pre ‘89 arguably the simplest years mechanically) which has a few miles under its belt than a “mint” of any era which has barely moved in 10 years.

All subjective ofcourse, the world would be a boring place otherwise!
 

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Discussion Starter #20
UK Turbo R driver here 👋

Have had mine for over a year now and have spent just over a grand on maintenance since I’ve had it. They tend to average £1-2k per year here in the UK (it’s cheaper here as there is more specialists at better rates and good part availability). If you are handy with the spanners then get a pre ‘93 car (Bosch not Zytec) - it is a lot easier to work on with far more part availability as the Bosch CIS system was on a lot of Mercs and Porche in the 80/90s.

Here in Manchester we are spoilt for choice with good specialists but if you say where you are I might know a few I could recommend. I guessed Sheffield from your description of “hilly”!

As you say the key to these things is getting one that is driven regularly, many of the fabled reliability problems are from people keeping them as garage queens and expecting them to start at the push of a button for its annual trip to the MOT man.
Have a good look at the history and check that it has been kept up to scratch by someone who knows what to look for, and if there are any leaks (particularly hydraulics) then be sure to put a grand aside to sort it out.
Above all get an inspection from a specialist, expect to pay about £150 but it’s worth every penny.
Mileage isn’t that important on these, as you would expect with an un-stressed V8.
Thanks for all this info, that's very helpful. For some reason I didn't get the usual notification email so I've just seen this now.

Good guess with the hills, I am indeed in Sheffield :) I'll definitely be after recommendations of specialists near here, sadly I'm not that practical, though maybe I can learn.

Is there a definitive source (other than the VIN/chassis number) for finding if a car has Bosch or Zytec? Wikipedia seems to think it was introduced in 1995 for the 1996 model year, but then you've mentioned 1993, and I think I've seen that mentioned in other places as well.

I'll be asking for recommendations for the inspection when I'm a bit further down the road, I guess getting someone local to the car would be more important than being local to me, and most I've seen online so far aren't that near to here.
 
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