I’d always really wanted a Bentley, but horror stories abound and the fear had always kept me away. A quick once over of the car in the hall and it seemed in not bad shape – sure a few bubbles on the arches and someone had attacked the dash for a very DIY refurb – but 10 months Tax and Mot went some way to appease my major concerns. Was today my day to be brave? It was one of the first lots up, people were still milling around the hall or just finding seats so as the auction started there was little interest. I still wasn’t really sure this was a great idea, but when bidding started and almost immediately stalled at £2300, my right arm took control and a quick flick saw me as high bidder at £2400. An anxious few moments followed, could I really buy a roadworthy Bentley for less than £2500? Well no, another little flurry but my arm was not letting up quite yet, I was now up to £2800, a figure closing in on my “impulse” limit of £3000. But there it stayed, no more bidding and suddenly I found I had bought the old girl.
24 hours later I was back at the auction hall with insurance sorted and paying the balance. Would the car even drive I pondered, I hadn’t after all even heard it running yet!! I checked my wallet to make sure my trusty AA card was with me. It was decided a quick trip round the block would be prudent before setting off for home, passenger installed and we were ready. Big Blue blasted into life and settled to a nice even idle, a perfect start. 1 mile down the road and all going well, my co-pilot decided to idly open the glove box and a fine haze emerged! He questioned “Is that dust or…. er smoke?”. Stoic in response I advised it could only be dust… “Now be a good chap and shut the bloody glovebox“. Sadly, further investigation a few minutes later revealed more “dust” and perhaps even a slight burning smell. Then the judder came and the engine died…. ok, so it was smoke then.
Class is built into these cars though, Big Blue had opted to break down outside a fine eatery and it was after all lunchtime. We pushed the 2.25 ton car into the car park (it was around now I was glad to have brought “Big Andy”, by far the largest of my friends with me), we called the AA and promptly ordered some Moules Frites.
As it happens the issue was not a great one, the AA man, who arrived just after coffee, was one of the good ones, one who can fix things. Some corrosion on the fusebox, which is housed under the glovebox we now discover, had caused the fuse to burn and melt first, before finally giving up. This fuse controlled the fuel pump and following a quick and temporary rewire we were once again enjoying the sound of 6.75 litres of very British V8.
The Bentley wafted me home in fine fashion after than and has completed a number of journey since without hiccup. The fuseboard has been tidied and the temporary fix replaced with a more permanent one, fluids checked including the famous hydraulic fluid controlling both brakes and suspension. The car had initially sat slightly low to the rear but once topped up all came back to a nice and very comfortable level. The car has hibernated for most of the winter but is now back out and ready to be used for summer outings… well if summer ever comes that is. If there is one thing less reliable that a British car, it’s the British weather.