The Jensen's aims for the unknown in its final photoshoot before being sold.
It was five years ago that I mistakenly went to a classic car auction and raised my hand at the wrong time, burdening myself with a slice of British automotive history powered by a lump of iron Detroit muscle.
Come to think of it, 7.2 litres is probably as big as engines got in postwar British production cars.
The fuel bills were eye-watering, and although it had never let me down (I had called out the AA once in five years of ownership), the Jensen SP was now in its 40th year and would probably become more difficult to maintain.
I never expected to keep it five years so it was perhaps more surprising that I hadn't put it up for sale before now. Within a week of advertising it was gone. A gentleman who already owned two royal blue Jensen SPs and decided he needed a third, giving him a 1.3% share of all the SPs ever built.
So that was the end of this chapter and with a bundle of cash in my pocket, what would be next. The Honda NSX I'd always wanted would be beyond my limited budget. A Porsche 928 would have a similar feel to the Jensen in many ways, but two generations closer to modernity. I'd also entertained thoughts of an early Jaguar XKR. Good ones are surprisingly accessible.The Bentley Turbo R runs on 17-inch alloys and has twin headlamps.
What about a car I'd never have to worry about. There was something appealing about the Y60 Nissan Patrol, preferably with the 4.2-litre diesel. A car that would survive pretty much anything. Or what about a Volvo 240. The GLT estate is both cool and practical, as well as cheap.
Much of my working day deals with issues concerning new cars. There has recently been a move by car manufacturers to improve fuel efficiency through downsizing engines - particularly petrol engines - and adding a turbo to help remove any performance deficit. Maybe there was something in this.
I decided to downsize from 7.2-litres to 6.75 litres with a turbo. The new car is much more practical than the Jensen; it has four doors and four full-size seats. A Bentley. A motor car.
I wanted a fuel-injected, ABS equipped one if possible. Not green. Open to choosing a later active ride car if it was within my means. But happy to consider Eights, Mulsannes, Turbos and Brooklands models within my limited budget.
I was about to go to Hanwells (in London), and called into Colbrook (a Rolls-Royce and Bentley specialist in Stilton, near Peterborough, where I'd been storing my Jensen when it wasn't being used) to tell Colin, the owner, I wanted something later than the 1984 Eight he had in stock, but couldn't afford the other cars advertised on the site. He then showed me this Turbo R he'd just taken in part exchange for a Brooklands because the owner fancied a change, which he said was in very good condition and had a full service history.
It has twin headlamps retro-fitted (it was registered a year before Bentleys switched to twin headlamps), and ran on later 17-inch Bentley wheels rather than the original 15-inch alloys fitted to the Turbo R.
The tool kit is complete, down to the little unmarked cotton gloves supplied to owners (or their drivers) don't have to get their hands dirty at the roadside.
Although Hanwells has a good choice of Rolls-Royces and Bentleys, there could be the risk of buying a 'London' car that might have only been used for short-ish, urban journeys, as well as potentially poor repairs for minor crashes.
It looked so good I decided a trip to London wasn't necessary. I've decided to support my local Bentley specialist and invest in its future. It'll be far easier to get any servicing and maintenance work done locally than travelling across the country to the next nearest specialist.
So here goes Bentley ownership, and if you're interested in how the car copes, come back for regular updates.
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