Half A Million Bucks of Depreciation: 1993 Bentley Continental R

The Bentley Continental R released in 1991 was the first machine from Bentley to not share a body with a Rolls Royce since the ’65 Series III Continental and it was comically expensive. The gargantuan 2-door sedan sold for something in the range of $272,000 in 1991, which is $519,500 in today’s money. It has now depreciated over $500k in today’s money, so it has likely cost the various owners $500k in depreciation, $80k in maintenance (wag), and $19k in gasoline (85k miles at 10 mpg, $2.25/gal). That adds up to $7 per mile over the last 30 years. Or, more than 3x the cost of uber ($2/mile) and still MORE than double the cost of NYC taxi ($3.50/mile). Only London (£8/mile) has more expensive cab fees than driving a Bentley Continental R. Find this 1993 Bentley Continental R offered for $19,000 in Heber Springs, AR via craigslist. Tip from Rock On!

From the seller:

1993 bentley Continental R
condition: good
cylinders: 8 cylinders
drive: rwd
fuel: gas
odometer: 84427
paint color: green
size: full-size
title status: rebuilt
transmission: automatic
type: coupe

I bought this “Bentley Green” Continental R thirteen years ago. Like every Proper Motor Car that I have owned, it has been both a source of joy and of exasperation. What are its current problems? The wiring to the facia is a mystery. The tachometer and the speedometer are both malfunctioning. I have added a GPS unit to help with the former. The turbo does not seem to “kick in” properly. The position of the key in the ignition does not correctly indicate what is happening. (The key needs to manually come back two “clicks” after ignition.) The windshield switch may or may not work at any given time. I am not sure the Bentley would pass the emissions test in a “strict” state. The car had been in a wreck before I purchased it (the airbag has been deployed) and considerable repairs have been done to get it properly titled and registered. I have receipts for over $20,000 in repair and service.

Well what’s right with the car? The engine runs smoothly and the AC is cold. The interior is good, if not great. Traditional problems like hydraulics and steering are not there — at least right now. The tires are good and the oversize chrome wheels are handsome – and worth a great deal of money. I have driven the Bentley on long trips with no problems.
An important note to buyers of used Rolls-Royce, Bentleys, Aston-Martins, etc.These cars are outrageously expensive when new, but will drop drastically in resale value within a few years. The Bentley Continental R was the most expensive, and fastest, production sedan in the world in 1993. If five years old when a wreck occurs, insurance companies rarely will pay to have the car repaired but will “total” the car instead because the repairs would be more expensive than the value of the car. The car will then be put on a salvage title, and sold cheaply although the damage to the car could be relatively manageable. Groups like AutoCheck and CarFax follow an algorithm that automatically greatly downgrades any car that has ever been on a salvage title, like the Bentley I have here for sale . Do not let that overly influence your decision about buying a used exotic.
It is a beautiful car, but as with all exotics, expect to encounter expense along with the joy of driving such a machine. There are no guarantees whatsoever, but somehow we still love these unique automobiles.

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