The Bentley Arnage is a stately ride, and is usually reserved for the most discriminating of automobile owners. Today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe Bentley homage Town Car may be for those without a single discriminating bone in their bodies, but is its price still biased?
Cars that look like other cars go way back - even to the Volkswagen Beetles of the Seventies fitted with fiberglass Rolls Royce hoods and bustles. Many people like to put on airs and today's custom 1994 Lincoln Town Car is about as airy as money can buy.
The Bentley Arnage and its Rolls twin, the Silver Seraph, were the first new saloons for each brand since 1980, and were the last that the marques shared before the great telenovela that was the BMW/VW split of the companies. Built between 1998 and 2009, the Arnage was powered by a series of turbocharged V8s- the first from BMW, and then a pair of revamped pushrodders under VW's tutelage. All of those engines produced in excess of 350-bhp, which was needed to move the car's 5,600-lb weight with anything resembling alacrity.
This Lincoln most likely weighs appreciably less - like three-quarters of a ton less - which is a good thing as the 4.6-litre V8 under this car's Bentley-fide hood only put out a factory-claimed 210 horses. The good thing is that the seller claims both it and the AOD transmission backing it up have been rebuilt. With nearly 200K under those shiny 24s it would probably be a stationary art installation otherwise.
And arty it is with a full-Cleveland take on the Bentley meme. There's the expected egg crate grille in a rounded shell bookended by four covered round sealed beams. However above that grille, instead of getting a B in hood ornament 101, there is an exaggerated flying lady whose wings are big enough to block motorcycles ahead from view. The back end is equally Crewe'd and the vinyl wrapping on the license plate cap - which echos that of the roof - is a nice touch. In between there's some massive chrome wheels upon which has been mounted what looks like spray-painted bed liner in lieu of tires. The carriage roof includes extensions onto the door tops, and for theft deterrence the outer door handles have been given a Brazilian. The English White paint appears, in the pictures at least, to shine, as does the brightwork, which is a little more subdued than stock.
Inside things are equally a mashup of the big-B and traditional Town Car smoking lounge. The '94 dash is angular and severe, and rocks florescent gauges. The builder of this Arnage wannabe has done something to the dash and steering wheel center making it appear to have the color and texture of Keith Richards. Bentley badges on the airbags guarantee their ingestion should one be unfortunate enough to be involved in their deployment.
Now, right off the bat, it's plainly obvious that this is not a car for everyone, and in fact the vast majority of you right reading this now probably wouldn't be caught dead in such a beast, but that's not to say it doesn't have its appeal to someone. Who would buy a car like this? Well, possibly a porn actor past his prime, someone with enough remaining delusion of fame and judgement clouded by innumerable STDs. Other potentially interested parties are the not so straight up Gs, pimps who also favor cubic zirconia bling and pyrite-capped teeth, and those who lust after the late model Bentley, but cannot fathom the cost of ownership.
The real deal not only cost a pretty penny more than the Town Car did new, but as has been the case with each ensuing generation of Flying B, they are weighed down not just by the lead in their panel seams, but by onerous amounts of technology - all of which becomes increasingly sketchy with age, and will prove exceedingly more expensive to repair as tome goes on. Few such issues are carried on the Panther platform Town Car, however.
Whatever the audience, the seller is having nothing of fools who get thrills out of bidding and not willing to pay. He also notes in his own indomitable manner that those huge 24s set him back a cool 2800, while the padded roof lessened the padding provided by his wallet to the tune of 7500.
At the end of the day all that investment means little when calculating the overall value of this custom Town Car. Apparently picking a number at random - after all what baseline would you set for such a car? - the seller has settled on $16,000. Now that's about ten times the value of a non-custom '94 Townie, even in spectacular shape, but it's also about half the asking price on a real Arnage from a decade back. And truthfully, who could tell the difference. . . at night, at speed, while passing the Braille Institute?
So what do you think, is this homage too homely for that $16,000 price tag? Or, is this a faux-nage that no price could make palatable?
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