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Hi,

I have never really considered owning a Rolls Royce or Bentley before, but was encoraged by friends to look at older models after I said that for my next car I would love something classic.

I am not a rev head by any stretch of the imagination and have always considered cars as just a means of getting from A to B. But I do love classic quality made things. So as it comes time to get a new car, maybe a Rolls or Bentley is the way to go. I currently drive a Lexus ES300 that I have had for 9 years. It goes well, is very comfortable and I saw no reason to change it. I really don't like the look of modern cars anyway as they all look the same to me.

But changing the Lexus for a classic Rolls. That is very appealing. I have a classic house (1878) and a classic boat (timber 1940) so this is certainly where my tastes lie.

But is it a good idea and would I be a worthy owner? Idealy I would like to use the car for work. Only a 10 min run to work, a few trips around Sydney now and then, and maybe a longer run to Canberra on occasion. So it would need to be quite reliable. Is that possible in an older model? (budget constraints)

I am certanly no mechanic. I could manage very minor stuff but I'd be worried about screwing up the car. So I'd definately have it regularly serviced professionally. Not sure how expensive this would be. My Lexus costs about $1,500 for its annual check up. (+ any parts)

Then in terms of budget, I would need to aim for about A$50,000 maximum. Less if possible.

What do you think? Are my expectations realistic in terms of budget and reliability?

Regards

Robo
 

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Robo,

Your budget as far as acquisition costs appears to be very reasonable if you're not looking for a concours quality car and not looking for something very "exotic" in the RR-Bentley world. It's definitely reasonable for the modern cars (Shadow/T period and forward). Given what's going on with the world economy, this is one of the softest markets price-wise that's been seen in a while.

However, your maintenance budget, particularly if you don't do practically any work yourself, is far too low. The general rule of thumb, in US Dollars, is $5K/yr if you aren't doing the work yourself. My costs have not been that high on my 1978 Silver Shadow II, but that's because I have tried (and continue to try) to do as much of the work myself as I can.

No matter what RR/Bentley you might consider, buy the *best* possible example you can afford and have it inspected before purchase by a person who works on the car type you're considering and knows their possible trouble spots well.

You absolutely can get a reliable RR/Bentley, and the more they are driven the more reliable they tend to be. These cars suffer more from lack of use/"Special Occasion Use Only" than overuse. But, and it's a big but, if you're expecting anything near to the "bulletproof transportation appliance" reliability of a contemporary Lexus then you will be sorely disappointed. The newer Japanese cars can, by an large, have a great deal of maintenance "safely ignored" and still function admirably. That's not so with a RR/Bentley. Keeping up the regular maintenance (which varies by the model year/type you're considering) is paramount for reliablility. My Shadow II took me 3/4 of the way across the US and back with no trouble, and I didn't hesitate to get in and drive this trip.

You would be very, very well advised to check out the Rolls-Royce Owners' Club of Australia website:

http://rroc.org.au/wiki/index.php?title=Main_Page

and peruse Tee-One Topics and the Technical Library for the model (or models) you are considering. The techiical libraries they have put on the web are an absolute treasure trove of information. Going to club events and getting to know the cars and the people who own/trade/sell them better is a good idea, too.

Good luck!!
 
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