I have purchased more cars in my head than you have ever seen in your life. This is possibly a slight exaggeration, but it’s true that my mind contains an unmatched capacity to imagine owning cars I should probably not own. A black hole of thought whose event horizon is littered with Sterlings and Meharis and Kia-badged Festivas. It is a sickness. Today’s bad idea: Sir Elton John’s Bentley.
Why do I want to down this? What is wrong with me?
Let’s get through the basics: This is a 1992 Bentley Continental R. The post-war history of Bentley isn’t pretty, becoming mostly a brand barely distinguishable from its sister company Rolls-Royce. The first car to change this pattern was the Bentley Continental R, which harkened back to an era when Bentleys were Bentleys and the brand stood on its own. It was also the first Bentley in decades to have its own unique body.
At launch, the Continental R featured a turbocharged 325-horsepower 6.75-liter V8 mated to a GM 4L80-E automatic four-speed. These are not world-beating specs now, but this was a big deal in the early ’90s. Almost any German equivalent from the era is probably a smarter choice and likely a cheaper one, though Classics World says it’s not the worst idea:
It would be ridiculous to consider that ownership of a Bentley Continental R could be a budget DIY project. That said, you should not be put off by the fear that parts are difficult to find, and expensive when sourced.
These sell for not-unreasonable prices and I definitely considered buying a black one listed on Craigslist in Charlottesville, Virginia for what seemed like six years at a curiously cheap $11,500. I should probably want a W140-derived C140 CL500, but what’s the fun in that?
Now compound this weird desire by the fact that Sir Elton John’s former Bentley Continental R is now for sale at auction. This has made me the madman across the water, because I can see myself buying and importing this car.
A little history:
Bought new in August 1992 by Sir Elton John, via his management company William A Bong Limited, and he kept it for four years until November 1996 when the previous owner bought the car, keeping it until now.
Do I want paperwork that says “WILLIAM A BONG LMTD” on it? Yes, yes I do.
…[T]his particular car is even more special thanks to its first owner being car mad music icon Sir Elton John, who took the bespoke nature of the Continental to a new level with the custom hi-fi install featuring 14 speakers (that we have found) and multiple amps all hidden or installed to look like factory fitment.
Hidden speakers! I’m in.
This will probably go for way more than the approximately $25k of the current bid. Princess Diana’s Escort just sold for $850,000, so somewhere between $25k and $850,000. Thankfully, this puts it out of my price range.
Why do I want this car? Is it the chance to dress up like glam-era Sir Elton and roll into Radwood like the gender-bending King of England? Is it because my middle name was derived from an Elton John song (I’ll let you figure that one out)? What is wrong with me? [Editor’s Note: Matthew Rocketman Hardigree? – JT]
Please explain to me why this is a terrible idea.
Top image via Cars & Classic, inset Elton John “Greatest Hits”