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Video | The Cheapest Bentley Continental GT in the USA Goes Up in Smoke, and Other Project Updates

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author photo by Tyler Hoover December 2017

I've been trying to figure out how to squeeze in an update on my basket-case 2004 Bentley Continental GT by the end of the year -- but it's challenging, since such little progress has been made on the project. As my mechanic, The Car Wizard, becomes more successful, he has less time for my silly projects -- and I've also taken on way too many others. So, before the holiday break, I've decided to give an update on all of my bad ideas, much the way Jay Leno does with his garage update videos -- only with my fleet of flunkies.

For a short, glorious period, the car wizard and I thought the Bentley would be brought back from the brink by a simple one-dollar hose clamp. When I purchased my cheap W12-powered wonder, it was barely running due to a massive vacuum leak. This is a common issue with these engines, caused by brittle plastic vacuum lines cracking deep inside the drivetrain. These lines are accessible by removing the power steering rack, which the car wizard did -- but he discovered the lines had already been upgraded to more durable rubber hoses. So the car actually did receive a little love during its decade in Russia.

This was great news -- but unfortunately, one of the hoses came loose with the clamp. This was a very easy fix -- and for the first time, I was able to hear the engine idle smoothly and rev effortlessly, along with the whooshing of the W12 engine's twin turbos. Unfortunately, not long after this victory, the exhaust began billowing smoke from the right side. It appears one of the turbos is ingesting its own oil supply, and will need to be replaced before the car can run again without doubling as a mosquito sprayer. I found a used turbo for $500 -- and hopefully this will be installed soon after the new year.

Other projects are moving at a better pace, including the impossible journey of making my Toyota Prius look cool; it's about to get a fresh paint job. My BMW M3 and 850i are also almost finished with their initial purchase repairs, and the 850i will soon be rolling on some gorgeous M-parallel 18-inch wheels. I recently got the freshly machined cylinder head back for my 1998 Jeep Cherokee as well -- and have ordered lots of parts for my other 4x4 project, the 1999 Lexus LX 470.

It feels like I'm running a car lot again, only with one really crazy customer -- but I'm excited for what the new year will bring with these projects. Hopefully a few will get finished before the credit card maxes out again.

Tyler Hoover went broke after 10 years in the car business and now sells hamburgers to support his fleet of needy cars. He lives in Wichita, Kansas.

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Video | The Cheapest Bentley Continental GT in the USA Goes Up in Smoke, and Other Project Updates - Autotrader