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Annual mileage in the Turbo R demonstrates what a practical everyday car this is for a classic. If I didn’t store it during the winter, it’s possible that it could be covering 8,000 or more miles a year.

That’s if I could afford the fuel and more than one annual service. Costs have mounted up this year and although the Bentley has never broken down, a few jobs have been required (gas spheres, drive shaft boots, air-con re-gas, noisy fuel pump).

But maintaining the car at this level allows me to decide on a whim that perhaps today I’ll drive to a far-flung part of the country, and a few hours later I’m there.


 
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Volvo has announced the new  Concept Coupé to be unveiled at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show.

It might seem unusual for a company still strongly associated with practical and safe estate cars, the company actually has a rich coupé heritage.


 
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A call out of the blue an hour before a planned drive from the office to Wiltshire for an overnight stay gave me a dilemma.

"Your car is ready for collection. Would you like to pick it up?"

The Bentley had been in the workshop to get to the bottom of the grumbling fuel pump, while the drive shaft boots were also replaced, air conditioning re-gassed and the car was given a fresh MOT. Yes, I've owned it for a year.

Would I pick it up and leave it unattended at the office for up to two days or would I take it on a near 400-mile round trip to Warminster? The question was, of course, redundant as I pulled in to refuel.


 
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Bentley Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. A customer in reception with a 1965 S3 has a smashed rear window.

A cyclist wasn't paying attention and didn't see the car brake suddenly when a pedestrian appeared to step into the road without warning.

No lasting harm done to the cyclist, who was wearing a helmet, and evidence of the incident on the Bentley's bodywork is minimal: minor scratches on the boot lid with no metal damage, but that smashed rear window.

Just 72 hours later the Bentley driver is contacted with news that the car is ready to collect after a genuine rear screen was fitted. How? A state-of-the-art parts warehouse and dispatch process in Crewe exists purely to solve such problems.


 
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Bentley Motors. The name has hung on the front of the headquarters at Crewe since BMW's ownership of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars left the Volkswagen-owned brand with the resources and facilities in the North West.

Now, 25 years after my car was hand-built there I decided it was time to take the long journey back to see how things have changed since the German owners separated the top luxury brands in automotive.


 
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Confusion exists over which 2.2-litre diesel engine are shared between different vehicles.

Allow me to explain.

Land Rover Defender 2.2 TDCi - engine shared with Ford Transit, Ford Ranger and derived from four-cylinder used in previous Ford Mondeo ST TDCi and Jaguar X-Type 2.2D. Engine is NOT shared with Land Rover Freelander and Range Rover Evoque.


 
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When I was warned that the gas spheres needed replacing, I just assumed it was something that was easy money for my local Bentley specialist.

Some mysterious yet crucial sounding component hidden from view would be enough to make a non-techie like me rather jittery.

And sure enough, with a long drive around the corner I persuaded the garage to find a slot for the Turbo R to get its annual service, the gas spheres done and replace a noisy fuel pump.


 
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Waking up the car at the end of its hibernation always comes with a certain level of trepidation. It’s a tense game of chance that can sometimes result in relief or lead to a money being spent.

Rousing the Turbo R after its winter sleep –interrupted only for a weekend blast in early-January – was the same, but so far the results are mixed.

The warning light sequence seems more prolonged than usual, but only when starting from cold. It could be time for work on the gas spheres for the suspension, according to the experts who look after my car during the winter (who incidentally would also stand to profit from the work carried out).


 
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With another car to rely on for the day-to-day grind, my classic goes into hibernation each winter.

The ritual has become as familiar as the childood Blue Peter episodes every autumn when the tortoises were put away in a cardboard box for a few months.

So in the last week of October I reluctantly put the Turbo R into storage expecting to live without it for the next five months, but knowing it was a better idea than being tempted to drive it on salted roads.


 
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The true test of a newly purchased classic is its first long run. Hundreds of miles on a journey taking in the UK’s busy roads are likely to show up any faults or flaws that might need attention or sow the seeds of regret.

Attending a friend’s wedding in Kent seemed to be an ideal opportunity for the Turbo R to stretch its legs as well as lend a sense of occasion to the trip – although it wouldn’t be deployed as a wedding car.

While the bulk of the mileage would be completed on motorways there would be a fair share of sweeping A-roads and country lanes.