The Bentley, with a month of ownership under my belt I thought it might be high time for a bit of an update.
As you might expect, it's good, and thankfully it's not yet gone off with a pop. But, one of the things that I feel most surprised about is how it's just not quite as good as I thought it might be, I mean it is really good, and I'm really happy with it, but somehow I thought it would be better than it is. Let me explain.
Over the years along with the junk that keeps me entertained, I've had some quite nice cars. I had a nineties Thunderbird, which at the time I thought was the most luxurious car I'd ever owned, it was just lovely, wafted along beautifully, and frankly I still miss that car today (G946 WEW where are you?) I followed this up with a very nice Mercedes 500SEC, which although was very nice I felt that if I was some sort of high end executive back in the eighties and had upgraded from my Thunderbird to the Mercedes I would've been quite dissapointed. The Mercedes was good, very good, but I felt that for the money when it was new it should've been better. Several years later, in 2015 I decided to indulge in my first S-type Jaguar, this I thought was a very nice car, so much so that after having my V6 S-type I decided to indulge in a V8 S-type which I thought was marginally better than the V6, but not enough to warrant the extra money it cost to buy it. But for me that S-type became the bench mark by which my luxury car experiences where measured by. I like the S-type, despite having the Bentley, and zero money in the bank there are still three in my fleabay watchlist right now. To me, the S-type feels like a special car, I like how it looks, I like how they drive, and I like the lovely interior, they're good, and for the relatively small outlay it costs to get one, they're really good value for money. So, am I really going to tell you that the Bentley GT isn't as good as a Jaguar S-type? Umm, I am on the cusp of it, but no, no I'm not.
The Bentley GT is better than the Jaguar S-type, however much like the Mercedes 500SEC was better than the early ninties Ford Thunderbird I owned I just don't think that it's better enough. When this car was new back in 2005 I could've bought more than three top of the line Jaguar S-types for the same money, and I can't help but feel that if I was some sort of high end executive back in 2005 and had upgraded from my Jaguar S-type to the Bentley GT I would've been quite dissapointed. The Bentley is good, very good, but I feel that for the money when it was new it should've been better. Incase you're wondering, that today, after checking the completed listings on fleabay I could've had almost twenty Jaguar S-types for the price of my Bentley. Is a used Bentley GT better than twenty used Jaguar S-types? No, but it is a lot easier to store!
But am I glad I've got it? Are you kidding me? I drive a Bentley GT as my daily driver. How many people get to say that? Certainly nobody I know personally, and I think thats kinda cool. Although I do find myself wondering, and indeed worrying that my family and friends think I'm being more of a knob than usual, or worse, some sort of obnoxious anchor beginning with W. But I'll get into that a bit later.
But all that aside, how does it drive? Well to be fair it drives wonderfully. When I climb in and plonk my luxurious old ass down on the even more luxurious Mulliner leather interior I must admit it does feel quite special. I push the start button and the W12 engine burbles into life, and settles into a quiet growl. I've never had a start button before and to be frank I do think this adds to the theatre of the whole experience. I'm fairly sure I could just start it on the key alone, but how dull would that be? I pop it into gear, and gently, or maybe even nervously press the GO pedal and pull away. It is just effortless. For the past month I have been quite careful as I've been driving it around, it's a lot of car, more power than I've ever had before, and most of all a lot of money for me, and so I've been driving about on full Grandma mode. But the other day while sitting there in the traffic during the school run this little light came on on the dashboard. I must admit that I've been waiting for the dashboard to start lighting up like a Christmas tree ever since I got it. Oh dear I said to myself. My littlest Monster asked me what was up? I said that I had a warning light on the dashboard. She leant over to take a look, "That little one under the 4?" She asked. I said, yep, that's the one. "Oh that's nothing to worry about" She said before following it up with, "I think it just wants you to do a burnout!" Oh, I said, well maybe we should give that a try. We were approaching the railway station at the time, and knowing that theres a huge part of the car park that never seems to get used, and always seems empty, I pulled in. Sure enough, at the other end of the car park there was a good three of four hundred meter stretch with not a single car parked in it. I pulled up to a stop, and looking at the empty car park ahead of me I said to my littlest Monster as I blipped the GO pedal, ready? She tightened her seatbelt, looked back at me and just said "Yep". Right then I said, and blipped the pedal again before mashing it into the Axminster. MAN ALIVE!!! There was absolutely no burnout whatsoever, that thing just hooked up straight away and the 6.0 litre W12 engine just howled as it hurled that thing at the other end of the carpark. I've no idea how fast we were going as I was far too busy hanging on to the steering wheel and wondering if it was time to stand on the WOAH pedal yet. I felt like I was being stuffed into me seat, and I'm fairly sure that rate rate at which this thing accelerated has even ironed out some of the wrinkles on my forehead. At what I thought was the last minute, or where I just got too chicken to keep my foot planted on the Go pedal, I stood on the woah pedal to hopefully stop before going up the muddy grassy bank at the end of the carpark. Not only did it go fast, but it stopped pretty quickly too. We sat there, and then my little Monster spoke, "That felt pretty quick" she said. I agreed, that was pretty quick, but better yet, the burnout light had gone off again!
Of course all that power does come at a cost, and so here's the obligatory first fill shot...
So here we find the Bentley in its natural habitat, you might think that it's natural habitat would be the road, the motorway, or even the racetrack, but no, it's the petrol station. I realise that weighing in at about 2.5 tonnes, and with the best part of 600 brake horsey power under the bonnet it going to have a bit of a thirst. But I've been Grannying it about and this thing has a drinking habit that would frighten Oliver Reed! Whenever I want to go out in it, which admittedly is all the time, my first port of call, no matter where I'm going is the petrol station. There is just no way, while I own this lovely car will I ever be able to save any money, I just wont have any spare. But, much like having an alcoholic girlfriend, you know she drinks, but she's exciting so you love it anyway. That being said, when I did have an alcoholic girlfriend she did come home one night drunk, smash up the whole house and then try to kill me! Lets just hope the Bentley doesn't do that to me.
Anyway, as I said at the beginning of this little update, that's the first month of ownership under my belt, so where do I go from here?
Well, to be honest, as I'm sure you can imagine I'm not done with it yet, infact, I would say I'm not even close. I'd like to think that the Bentley and I can sustain our relationship for atleast a year. I realise that I said that it's not as good as I thought it would be, but despite this I like it, I like it a lot. It's a cool car and it's epic to drive, so drinking problem or not, I'm keeping it... For now atleast.
However, apart from it going off with a pop at any minute there is still one thing that concerns me a little, and that is like I said earlier the worry that my family and friends think I'm being more of a knob than usual, or worse still, some sort of obnoxious anchor beginning with W. I think that my family, and closest friends are probably OK with it, I've been talking about getting one for ages, so they've probably been prepared for it to some extent. That being said, the day that I got it my Dad came to see me, however I wasn't home because I was out testing it. But I got home just as he was sitting in his car getting ready to leave. I pulled up next to his Rover, and wound the window down to talk to him. We chatted for about five minutes before he suddenly said, "What are you driving?" I said it was my Bentley GT. He said "Shit, that's very nice, well done." Now, I'm in my mid fifties, but my whole life I've only known my Dad to swear once, and I think he's only said shit to me three or four times, so I'm guessing he was quite impressed with it. My wife and two little Monsters think it's pretty cool, although they're less than impressed with the lack of central heating, but they somehow understand that you have to get your priorities straight, and living in a house with no central heating helps to build character. I think my brothers quite like it to, as do my closest friends.
But then there's other people, people that I know and talk to, but we don't know one another really well. They seem to be different towards me. The thing is, I live on what is for the most part a council estate, and suddenly rocking up with a Bentley does look a bit showy especially as so many people are really struggling right now. A good case in point is a fella from the other end of the street, now this particular fella I see walking his dog every day, but he always says hello, and we occaisionally have a little chat. Anyway, he's just bought a brand new Transit with metallic paint, alloy wheels et cetera, it looks to be a pretty well spec'd up van, so I'm guessing he's spalshed out a good £25,000+ on it, which is far more than my Bentley. But just after I got it he saw me getting out of it and just said, "Bentley, eh?" To which I replied, Yeah, and he just said "huh." and walked off. He's not talked to me since, and actually blanks me when I see him on the street now. What the heck? But he's not the only one whos attitude towards me seems to have changed, there are several people on our estate that now seem to be a bit funny towards me. I find it very odd, it's just a car, and I'm the same guy, so what's changed? Wierd. Anyhoo, I guess I shouldn't let it get to me, they're not really my friends, they're just other folk that live on the same estate as I do, why should they make me feel bad for buying this thing, and suck some of the joy out of owning it? But still, I must confess that it does play on my mind a little bit, and I wonder what the problem is.
Anyway, I guess for now atleast the only thing I can do is to try not to worry about what these people think about me, and/or my Bentley. But instead try to focus on just driving, fuelling, and enjoying the Bentley, and hope that it doesn't go off with a pop in the meantime.