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Discussion Starter #1
How feasable is it to get a late 80s RR and use it as your only car? I saw an episode of Top Gear where James May took his Mark 2 I think it was for a service and had a rather frightening service bill. The servicing costs are obviously subjective, depending on your salary but for an average jo, how feasable is it living with one of these?
 

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If one were to choose a Rolls-Royce or Bentley as a daily driver the 20000 series SZ cars (right in the age range you're thinking of) is one of the most reliable to come out of Crewe. Mind you, if you're expecting Toyota-type reliability, walk away now.

Before you buy any Crewe-built car it is more than worth your while to spend the money to have a mechanic who is very familiar with these cars and their trouble spots do a pre-purchase inspection and report.

There is a great deal of routine maintenance that can be done on these cars by the owner if they're mechanically inclined and interested in doing it. This can greatly decrease the cost of ownership.

It is most often said that one should expect to spend a minimum of $3K (US) per year to keep a decently maintained RR/Bentley running.

You would also do well to join the "official" Rolls-Royce/Bentley owner's club in your country of residence and network with owners near you. This can give you a much better idea of what is involved where you are.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Well I'm certainly not looking for toyota reliability. But thats not to say that I want to be under the car every day either. The fact that you claim these cars are robust is a massive bonus though. "Failing to proceed" as they call it is certainly not something I want to be doing too much of if indeed I decide to go down this road and purchase either a Bentley or a RR.

Speaking of which... I'm not quite sure what the 20000 series SZ cars are as you were referring to in your reply and the models I'm most interested in would be the 80-98 silver spirits and their equivalent Bentleys.

Also I just wanted to clarify that I'm in Australia.
 

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First, since you're in Australia -

Immediately go to these sites:

a) The Rolls-Royce Owner's Club of Australia
http://rroc.org.au/wiki/index.php?title=Main_Page

b) Tee-One Topics

http://www.rroc.org.au/wiki/index.php?title=Tee-One_Topics

c) rrtechnical.info - Section 5 on the SZ series
http://rrtechnical.info/sz/05_sz.htm

and start reading. Consider joining the RROC-Australia.

If you look at the page referred to in "c" you'll quickly come to understand the 20000-SZ series comment. However, the Shadow and its derivatives were known as the SY series. The Spirit/Spur/Eight/Mulsanne/etc. were known as the SZ series. The middle production of that series, with chassis numbers in the 20000-range, is considered by many to be the most reliable set of cars to come out of Crewe.

These cars are *not* delicate, but do require that you keep up on maintenance to a far greater degree than many people with the "transportation appliance" [Read: Toyota, Honda, and the like] mindset wants to deal with.

The hydraulic system, while far less finicky in these cars than the Shadow series, still needs to be attended to according to the factory requirements. If that system is allowed to fail then it is very expensive to replace. There are frequent issues with the steering racks on these cars. (See http://rrtechnical.info/sz/rack_featured_article.pdf for detailed info).

The really good news is that these cars behave *far* better when they are driven regularly. A great many of the problems with RR & Bentley automobiles comes about from a combination of lack of use and, because of that (and, sometimes, the expense) lack of maintenance. They can and do make excellent daily drivers if you are willing to look after their basic needs.
 

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Here's my experience: I have owned my 1990 Bentley Turbo R for less than a year so I don't have a long history. I own two other cars (2006 Audi A4 and 2004 Porsche Boxster) and I put about equal miles, maybe 5000 miles/year, on each. So although it's not a "daily driver" I bought my Bentley to drive it. There's a small, private Rolls-Royce repair shop not far from where I live that's been there since I was a kid. That's one of the reasons I felt comfortable buying the car - I knew I had a reliable place to bring it. I expect to have the Bentley in the shop once or twice a year for routine maintenance and to fix the stuff that is going to fail on a 20-year-old car. For example, two of the four power window mechanisms have failed since I've owned the car. Repair costs do not seem inordinately high for this car as compared to other cars I've owned, nonetheless I'm expecting to average about $5000/year in maintenance and repair.

One thing I'm not expecting is power train problems. This vintage of Rolls-Royce/Bentley has a pretty solid reputation for reliable power trains. I worry more about failures of auxiliaries - fuel pump, alternator, etc. - leaving me stranded, though that hasn't happened yet.

For me, the real key to owning and driving and enjoying a 20-year-old car - Rolls-Royce or otherwise - is to have at least one other car, preferably one that's more modern that you can beat on. An A4 is a good beater. My Bentley doesn't have to see bad weather, doesn't have to go to nasty places (I live in New Jersey) and can stay in the garage if she's not feeling up to par.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks dclarke for the links... great wealth of info on there. And you have certainly made owning one of these cars sound very reasonable indeed.


guyslp... well the idea of having a garage full of cars is not only appealing but is also sensible for the reasons you have described. The only issue is that I definately don't have the sort of budget that you have to play with. As a uni grad I can safely say I'm not going to have both an audi for a basher :shock: and a bentley/rr to enjoy any time soon. But even if my wheels fail to proceed, then I can always use public transport which I have been using for years and years. Despite all the headlines each day in the papers regarding train cancellations and disgruntled customers etc, I think the network in Melbourne is pretty good. Trams, busses and trains get you pretty much anywhere you want to go. May take longer to get there but you get "chauffeured" to your destination and you don't have to worry about finding a parking spot.

I'm not a booze hound nor a party animal so my expenses are not that great, therefore I am pretty confident that owning one of these things won't be too much of a problem.
 

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Atomic_Sheep said:
I'm not booze hound nor a party animal
Are you sure? ;-) You seem to have me confused with Mr. Clarke.

Atomic_Sheep said:
so my expenses are not that great, therefore I am pretty confident that owning one of these things won't be too much of a problem.
Ah, ever the optimist!! Actually, owning a RR is an adventure (that includes some problems, but many joys, too). One thing's for sure, a buyer's market like the current one is unlikely to come around again anytime soon.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
The fact that I'm a grad I'm sure would put a smile on the face of those who read this, that's why I mentioned the booze and the party lifestyle, in a bid to make me sound less crazy and unrealistic. I was in no way insinuating that you guys are any of that and even if you are... well then that's your business and I'm in no way judging. I will admit that quite often my expectations are quite high and I do tend to linger in the clouds but I've been trying to cut down on that addiction... as they say... acceptance is the first stage of change.

As you pointed out, it is a buyers market and that is why my interest has shifted into this exclusive segment. I may change my mind when and if I go out looking for one, as to their suitability taste and need wise but I can only imagine that they are as you described a much more exciting and pleasurable experience to own than any of the other cars that you would consider in the same price range.
 

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I'm barely a high school grad. Old topic, but I'm looking at starting an executive car service in Vancouver, B.C. We are known as Hollywood North. Plus we have the winter Olympics coming up. For that end I'm looking at Seraphs and Arnage's. Little less expensive to aquire over a Phantom, but still modern and much nicer than the lincoln town cars most like services use. I also do weddings with my Spur 20000 series. Adding a Shadow because they have more classic looks for this area of business. Eventually want to add older vehicles. Clouds on back. The main reason besides the Olympics has the gov scrambling to increase transportation from the international airport up to the Olympics in Whistler a 2 1/2 hour drive away. I want more cars, but do not want them sitting in the garage. Regular use is a major portion of having reliability.
 

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Hi I have owned shadows turbo’s and have a RT at present
I have used them all on a dally basis and haven’t had any problems ( only what I have inflected on the RT)
I have jumped in to a turbo and driven around France 1500m
I went to Brussels on the spur of the moment in the RT 900m
I have done 10000m in 8 months in the RT My last turbo (1987) I covered 30000m in 2 years
And haven’t spent a lot of money as I have made shore there good cars when I have peachiest them
All I will say is Get a Good One and look after it and it will look after you
Michael
 

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Like the last post excellent usage. Its all about regular use. Even on Shadows. Even if like mine currently. Sits for long times before driving. When I do use her, pick drives that take me long distance and at higher speeds. Biggest reason I'm creating a situation to use an RR/B more then once in awhile.
 
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