Car News: Oversteer
I Bought a Used Bentley Arnage for $45,750, and So Should You
Against the advice of every Internet automotive "expert," I did the unthinkable: I bought a used Bentley Arnage. And I'm not talking about a 3-year-old, certified pre-owned vehicle with a glorious comprehensive warranty. Oh, no. I purchased a 12-year-old, warranty-free, $250-per-oil-change Bentley Arnage. It's the Arnage T, to be precise.
No, I am not rich. I'm an average guy. I have a wife, 2.5 kids and a normal job title without any fancy letters at the end, like CEO or Ph.D. But I truly believe that buying this car makes me the smartest man in the world.
EDITOR'S NOTE: This is a guest post from a reader named Josh Kryzak, who -- as you've read -- recently purchased a 2004 Bentley Arnage, which carried an original MSRP of something like $250,000. Josh has created several interesting YouTube videos about the Arnage on his channel, which definitely deserves more subscribers.
This journey started back in 2004, when my future car was brand new. It was a magical time. The second installment of the "Shrek" movie series was topping box-office charts. The world had not yet turned its back on Nickelback, and a plucky politician named Howard Dean was trying to win the hearts of American voters with a blood-curdling scream. Yeaaaaaaahhh!
But most importantly, in 2004, my future Bentley Arnage T was sitting in a dealership, waiting for its first owner to snap it up -- for the modest price of $250,000. Of course, I didn't know at the time that I would be the future owner of this exotic luxury sedan. I was too busy mastering the art of text messaging on my sweet flip-phone.
Fast-forward to the summer of 2016: After months of research and shopping, and spending a small fortune on pre-purchase inspections, I finally crossed paths with my new, used Arnage -- a silver 2004 model in the extremely limited T-24 Mulliner trim. It was in excellent shape, and it found its way into my garage for the same price as a new BMW 3 Series: just $45,750. If you're keeping score, it only took twelve years for this car to shake off $200,000 of value. That's a house. This car depreciated... a house-worth of value.
This spectacular depreciation only reflects the price shoppers are willing to pay today. The price reduction doesn't reflect the labor-intensive craftsmanship and artistry that remains. All the man-hours, the fine materials, the hand-stitched leather, the woodwork... all that beauty is still there. What had once commanded almost a quarter of a million dollars is now a fraction of that price -- solely because a few years have passed, and the odometer has added a few digits. And now it's my turn to be the curator of this fine automobile.
So what's it like owning a used Bentley Arnage? In a word: surreal. Driving a Bentley is unlike anything else; it stirs the emotions. There's no way to avoid the cliche, but sometimes I feel like I'm living a dream. Other times, I feel like I'm tricking the world into thinking I'm an eccentric millionaire, out shopping for groceries at 10 p.m. in the only car in my fleet with keys I could locate. Either way, I'm having fun. Two months into this experiment, and the car has been flawless.
Now I know what you're thinking: Bentley maintenance will destroy you. Almost every online forum or comment section I visit is filled with messages from people who "knew a guy with an Arnage, and it cost $5,000 to fix the ashtray." I see this everywhere. I'm starting to think there are more horror stories about "a friend of a friend with an Arnage" than there are actual Arnages.
But when I read the experiences of actual Arnage owners, the story is quite different. The car is solid and reliable. The engine has been around since the 1950s. The transmission is a GM 4-speed that's found in millions of vehicles. The drivetrain is battle-tested. Yes, I'm fully aware that service is going to be costly on this vehicle. And no, I don't expect the same maintenance prices as my 1997 Toyota 4Runner. But I also understand that when it comes time to sell, money spent on well-documented service is going to add value.
Will the car ruin me financially? We'll see. Will the thrill die? I wouldn't count on it. I'm keeping track of all my expenses and adventures in a video diary that documents my experience. My intention is to demonstrate that these cars shouldn't be feared. Don't let the internet scare you away from driving a vehicle you're passionate about. Instead, follow your dreams and buy the car you've always wanted in your garage... unless it's an old Jag, because I knew a guy who had one of those, and it always had costly repairs.
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