If I Buy A 13-Year-Old Bentley Arnage, Will It Destroy My Life?

Hello, good people of Jalopnik, and welcome to this week’s version of Letters to Doug, wherein you send me letters – presumably strung together to make words and sentences – and, in return, send you Doug.


If you want to participate in Letters to Doug, you can! Just send me an e-mail at Letters2Doug@gmail.com, or write me a note on my Facebook page. Admittedly, there is a slim chance that your letter will be featured. But then again, there was a slim chance of you being born at all, am I right?!

Anyway: this week’s letter comes to us from a reader who did not sign his name, so I am going to assume it is Hoyt. Hoyt writes:

Hey Doug,

My question is: how bad of an idea would it be to buy a 55k mile 2003 Bentley Arnage T that I found for sale, from an ownership perspective? I own a GTI currently, but my girlfriend needs a car sometimes, so I was thinking of buying another car and letting her use the GTI whenever she needs it. The second car would be something awesome and mostly reliable, but I’ll take something a little risky as long as it’s super rad and I’m not constantly rebuilding it like Raph’s Baja. I can afford to buy the Bentley, but ownership is the concern.

Will the Arnage destroy my life savings, or do you think it would be fine for a part-time driver?

Thanks dude

Hoyt, you ask an excellent question, because buying a used Bentley Arnage is something that I have considered many times before.

There are several reasons for this. One is the fact that a used Bentley Arnage is now worth approximately the same amount of money as a four-pack of itch cream. I mean this sincerely. When these things were new, some of them crested $300,000. Right now, there are 41 Arnages on Autotrader for under fifty grand. There are several under thirty grand. My guess is they do not come with free Carfax reports.

The other reason I’ve always kind of wanted an Arnage is the fact that it just looks so damn stately. I mean, yeah, sure, the Continental GT is kind of cool and all, but the Arnage is a serious luxury car. It’s like comparing one of those dollar-store balsa wood gliders to a beautiful piece of wood furniture handcrafted by some designer who doesn’t have enough vowels in his name.

For proof: I once read in a car magazine that the average Continental GT buyer was worth $3 million, while the average Arnage buyer was worth $30 million. He would have to be, in order to stomach $300,000-to-itch cream depreciation.

So why don’t you get an Arnage? I mean, sure they’ll be expensive — but how bad could they be?


The answer is: really bad.

To explain what I mean, I bring you to Ferraris-Online.com, the Internet home of world-renowned Ferrari broker and expert Michael Sheehan, who occasionally sells other vehicles with full histories and service records. About three years ago, he sold a 2003 Bentley Arnage T, and I stumbled across it one night while I was looking for bad four-wheeled decisions to make. And I have never forgotten the prices listed on the service records.


For example: the most recent repair, reportedly done “at wholesale cost,” totaled $19,409.47. The 30,000 mile service — which also included new rear brake pads and rotors — was $6,177.26. Tires cost $2,500, and one single oil change service plus drive belt replacement was $796.25.

And then you have my favorite service: On June 20, 2007, the Bentley dealer in San Diego, California, replaced the turn signal switch in this particular Arnage. The cost of this repair: $819.65.


I am going to repeat that for effect: if you want a new turn signal switch in your 2003 Bentley Arnage, it will cost you eight hundred and twenty dollars. And that was in 2007 money! God knows what a turn signal switch costs now! Though my guess is it’s edging ever closer to the price of the cheapest running automobile on San Diego Craigslist.

And so, Hoyt, do I think buying a 13-year-old Bentley Arnage will ruin your life? Yes. It will ruin your life, and it will ruin the lives of everyone around you, and eventually you will steal your mother’s DVD player and attempt to sell it back to her in order to fund your Arnage repairs. In short, buying an Arnage is like getting addicted to meth, except you have lamb’s wool floormats.


So, yeah, I wouldn’t buy one. But if you do, definitely let me know how it goes! And stay away from my DVD player.

@DougDeMuro is the author of Bumper to Bumper and Plays With Cars, which his mother says are “fairly decent.” He worked as a manager for Porsche Cars North America before quitting to become a writer.


The Compromiser

We all know that “Hoyt” is really Tavarish. Who do you think you are fooling???