Oh crap, I mean that's the thought that was keeping me awake as I lay there in bed at night. As her Worshipfulness laid there besdide me gently snoring, not like a happy little kitten purring away in it's sleep, but more like a steam train shunting trucks around at the freight yard, I was wide awake. It's hard for me to get to sleep at the best of times, but when I've got something on my mind it's almost impossible. I'm not one for keeping a diary as I always kinda think it's a bit of a pointless excercise, but that being said I guess that this blog of mine is kind of a diary in some respects. But despite not being much of a diary keeper, during lockdown, with me really struggling to sleep one of my friends suggested that if I was having trouble nodding off at night I should try writing down the thoughts in my head that were keeping me awake as once they're out then I might be able to get some sleep. He tells me that it works for him, and now that I've tried it to some extent it seems to be working for me... But not this night! This night I was filled with I guess excitement, but a fair bit of doubt, and worry accompanying it. The thing was, I've just bought this...
A Bentley Continental GT... And no, it's not broken, that's just it arriving because it was a fair distance from home, and by the time I'd taken a day off, paid for the train, and paid for the go-go juice to drive it home it was just cheaper and easier to have it transported. Man alive I was glad to see it, and even happier that it was running, driving, and pretty much as the seller had descrbed it to me. Honestly, since winning the bid several days before, I had been awake for what seems to have been forever filling my 'No sleep 'till bedtime mind dump journal' with page after page of both worry and euphoria. The thing is I've never spent this amount of money on a car before, even my Mustang that was brand new when I bought it back in 2005 didn't cost this much! It was so much that before I even put in the bid I consulted with Mrs Clint to ask her permission. She just said, "Buy it!" Normally for me that would be the green light to go, but I needed to make sure, and I said to her that what she needed to know was that this would empty my car buying fund account completely, and it would also empty the emergency car buying account completely. Further more, if I were to buy it, then it would also empty the house fund which is used to pay the bills and day to day house type stuff, aaaaaand, it would also empty the emergency house fund which is used to pay for anything that we, or the house needs suddenly.
I went on to explain that if I bought this car, then we would be spending yet another Winter without central heating as I won't have the money to finish it off. Added to that she will get no new kitchen next year, and no bathroom either. Our flat, BelongaClint needed a lot of work when we moved into it ten years ago or so, and due to work etc I've never got around to it, but I promised her that next year I would start to fix the place up. The buying of the Bentley, I explained, means that it probably won't get fixed up next year either. Her Worshipfulness sat there listening to my excuses over why I shouldn't buy it, and then said, "Just buy it, we'll get by." I asked her again if she was sure, and she asked me if I'd bought her Christmas presents yet? I said that I had to which she replied, "Well, as long as I don't end up with a Joni Mitchell CD, and Girlfriend gets a necklace, pearl or otherwise, then you'll be OK. When the bidding ends, make sure you win!" Make no mistake, with a Wife like mine, I've already won.
Now, no doubt if you've been following me along on my automotive journey for a long time you might be wondering why a Bentley? I mean, with all the other junk I drive, and like, a Bentley is probably not what you've expect me to buy, right? The thing was that I was approaching my 100th car which I realise for some of you guys following along is not that many, but for me it felt huge, and so I wanted something big, and extravagant. I like the Bentley Continental GT, I've liked it since it came out, and infact as odd as this might sound I've liked it since it since I was in school... In the EIGHTIES!! Bear with me, I'll explain that crazy little statement in a mo...
This being said, as much as I like the look of the Bentley, it was almost not a Bentley at all.
With my 99th car purchased I had been quietly putting cheeky bids in on various Bentley GT's that I had seen on fleabay. Real low bids in the hope that I might get one cheaply, the truth was that firstly I was firghtened of spending this amount of money, even with her Worshipfulness' permission, but secondly, I've got too many cars already, and just don't have the room for another car at the moment. However, I have a good friend called James, and he and I had arrived at car number 99 pretty much together, so we had spent a fair while talking about cars we wanted to have for our 100th. I'd pretty much talked about Bentley GT's, but I was semi open to other ideas. He was thinking Porsche 911, but then he was scuppered, and there was a bit of a cock up with his 100th car when he came home to a car on the front lawn and a note that read "saw this and thought of you – lots of love your friendly recovery man x" It arrived without warning and without a doubt his scrap man had his heart in the right place rescuing it for him, and his foresight was greatly appreciated by my friend as let's not forget, a free car is a free car. (Even if, in my case it was some of a Ford StreetKa). However while my friend does love a cheap GTi, it was not quite the grand statement he had hoped for his centenarian, and car number one hundred in his automotive back catalogue became a Peugeot 206 GTi. I sat there reading his words and looking at his pictures, to be fair to him, the scrapman, and the car it didn't look too bad, and if it had been car number 99, 101, or any other number then I think I'd have been very pleased with my new car. But for both he, and I, car number 100 needed to be special, and neither he or I wanted car number 101 to be the special car.
The thing is, after reading his words I thought that this could happen to me, I've already been given the remains of a Ford StreetKa this year, and I talk to a lot of the old fellas in my area about their cars. I even say to a few of them if they ever want to get rid of their cars please let me know, they're nothing particularly special, but they're in pretty good shape for the most part. Old fellas keep their cars good, and keep them for a long time. One guy that lives down the street from me is late eighties probably, and drives a Chrysler Neon that he's had from pretty much new. I'm always telling him that I'd love first dibs if he ever wants to sell it, and I'd love it. But as car number 100, a Chrysler Neon, hmm, doesn't sound great does it? I sat there and thought that as cool as a free car is, I didn't want that to happen to me too. I was starting to get fidgety, and as I kept being outbid on Bentleys I
was thinking that I needed to start looking at other cars. So I filled
my watchlist with other stuff, late model Thunderbirds, BMW 635csi, BMW
840 & 850, big Mercedes coupés, infact all sorts of coupés. I had
decided that I needed to get my 100th car done and dusted as I was starting to feel that I was in
real danger if it being a Punto, Rover 25, Suzuki Ignis, or
something else that really had no place being my 100th car. I thought that no matter what, by the end of the week I was going to buy something.
As the week went on I bid and lost out on several cars. But I noticed
that there was a car ending at about 16:00hrs the Saturday before Christmas. Who
was going to be there at 16:00hrs on the Saturday before Christmas to bid on a car? Me, thats who! Well
it was a bit further than I really wanted to travel, and not really the
colour I was after, but it was far cheaper than any of the other ones
I'd looked at or bid on. So I was there with my bidding finger poised.
As the seconds counted down I stabbed in my bid, and at seven seconds to
go I hit confirm! The page refreshed and it was mine!
My mind was instantly filled with, YES I'VE GOT A BENTLEY! Which then instantly flipped to, Oh shit, that's more money than I've ever spent on a car in my life. Euphoria and panic flipped over and over in my mind, almost like two sides of the same coin that my mind was constantly flipping endlessly. But, I'd won it on fleabay, so I knew I needed to pay up and get it. I asked the seller for his bank details and told him I would wire him the money on Monday. I went to the bank to send the money and they refused to let me send it. The reason was that they have been dealing with a lot of fraud cases recently, one a week apparently, so they would give me the cash to go and collect it myself, because then I would know it was real, but they wouldn't wire it to him. Well, being Christmas, and just not having the time to collect it, I was planning to have it collected for me. In the end we did a video call with him, and he showed the lady in the bank and I the car over the phone. The bank was happy, and sent the money. As happy as the bank was I've got to say that I am even happier. I would've been happy with a late model Thunderbird, BMW 635csi, BMW 840 & 850, or big Mercedes coupé, and I'd like to think that at some point I will get to buy some, if not all of the above. However, a Bentley Continental GT has been at the top of my list for some time, like I said before, since the eighties!
Now I realise that as the Bentley GT came out in 2003 that statement does sound crazy, but back in school I was a bit of a prolific doodler, I doodled all of the time, and on everything. My chosen subject of doodles? Cars, although I would deviate to other things from time to time. Anyway, one day while doodling during a lesson (not art) at college as I left the lesson my teacher wondered what I was drawing, and so I showed him. It was a Morris Minor, which I thought was averagely average, but good enough for a doodle. Anyway, he thought it looked pretty good, but he wasn't that into old cars, and said he wondered what a Morris Minor would look like if it was made in the next century. Being a good fifteen or so years from the next century at the time I had no idea, but during his next lesson I doodled what I thought it might look like, and showed it to him. He liked it better than the previous Morris Minor, but felt he would've liked it far more if I was paying attention to him instead. Which I thought was a fair comment, however, in my mind I really liked how it looked, and wished that at some point Rover would create such a car, but of course they never did.
However, fast forward to 2005 and I was driving across the Severn bridge in my (at the time) new Mustang, and I get passed buy a Bentley GT, same colour as my Mustang and everything. I wasn't really sure what it was, and so I set off after it. As I pulled up along side it to get a better look the thing the thing I kept thinking was how much it looked (to me atleast) like my Morris Minor concept drawing that I had done probably the best part of two decades previously. I realise that the Bentley is longer, and doesn't have the front wings quite the same, but the basic shape of the profile is in my mind very similar. This was, in my mind the only way I would get to own my Morris Minor concept even if I had to have it as a Bentley instead. From that moment on the Severn bridge I knew that I just had to have one, the problem was I just didn't have a spare £170,000 to buy one. I put it to the back of my mind for a little while, but then I started to think that at some point if I saved enough money, and they depreciated enough I might be able to meet them in the middle and buy one. So that's what I've done, although I really didn't think I'd have to spend every penny I have to do it.
So here we are, car number 100, a Bentley Continental GT, definately better than a late model Thunderbird, BMW 635csi, BMW
840 & 850, or big Mercedes coupé, and infinately better than a Punto, Rover 25, Suzuki Ignis, Chrysler Neon, or even a
Peugeot 206 GTi (sorry James). Let's just keep everything crossed that it doesn't go off with a pop! Roll on pay day.