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The Dilapidated Duo: Northeast Snowpocalypse Edition

Jay Ramey February 11, 2013 Project Cars 40 Comments

rrs 1

What do you do when the headlights on your Bentley Turbo fog up and then short out? Replace them? Pfff, not worth it, not for what the dealer charges per hour. Makes more sense to just upgrade to a newer car. But what do you do with the old one, trade it in or sell it to an independent dealer? He’d give you five grand if he’s feeling generous, which only buys you and the gang half a shopping trip to the city, maybe just a couple hours’ worth. And what can you buy on 5th Ave with that much anyway? Not even a proper suit. A bunch of ties and a belt maybe, if they’re on sale. Maybe a pair of leather shoes. Not the good ones, just a spare to keep in the office when it’s mucky outside with all the leaves. Oh well, might as well park the Turbo next to the Shadow in the backyard and figure out what to do with them later, let Rocco play around in them in the summertime when he’s not at camp on Block Island. Let him pretend he’s like his old man back in the 80s when he used to work in the city, trading something or other, but mostly just tapping golf balls into styrofoam cups while on speakerphone with Singapore. Later he’d drive the Turbo to the Hunt Club and hang out with the guys, smoking embargoed Habanos while trading dirty jokes. And then on Saturdays they’d hit the links, mixing bourbon with Pepsi till one of them, usually Chip, drives the golf cart into the bunker again! Hah! Whatever happened to those days?

All right, so this isn’t quite a common sight in the northeast. And clearly this duo isn’t going to get any worse sitting under all that snow for a week or two. But what exactly makes them different from just another pair of used sedans that aren’t especially worth fixing, like a busted E65 behind that shady repair shop run by that guy with tattoos on his neck? (They must be prison tattoos, right?) Let’s face it, most “ran when parked” Bentleys and R-Rs are worth more as parts than they are as drivers. That birdbomb-stuccoed 30 foot yacht that your neighbor hasn’t used in eleven years (he’s been meaning to start working on it any spring now but the weekend weather’s always bad) is actually worth messing with even in the condition that it’s in. And unlike this sad pair, a yacht can be refitted with brand new everything.

rrs 2

The reverse-Gestalt principle very much applies to busted bespoke rides from the 80s: the sum of the parts is greater than the whole. Especially on eBay. The glass alone could probably find a dozen bidders in the Baltic states. And those wheels?  Two bidders from Kiev and Osaka are going to stay up 28 hours slugging it out, until the Kiev bidder’s dialup internet connection craps out. And what about the seats and door inserts? A shop in Cali wants them badly, and is prepared to pay for them. Don’t forget about the Ping Zings that are still in the trunk, those are worth something too.

rrs 3

What would you be inclined to do with these turkeys, assuming both have running engines? Restore them, or divide and conquer?

[Images: Copyright 2013 Redusernab/Jay Ramey]

  • Kris_01

    Well, I'm a mechanic by trade, so we have the easy answer. Ebay grille and headlights for the Bentley, parts store headlights for the Roller.

    Redone wiring harnesses with more-reliable Denso components wherever possible.

    A pair of I dunno, Mopar 440s with the 727 Torqueflite? Single 4 barrel and duals, maybe a higher lift cam, headers for sure, but nothing too pricey. No need for a full drag build here.

    There aren't musclecars by any means. No, what we want to do here is keep things mobile with an easy to keep in parts American driveline and reliable wiring.

    • No need to swap the transmission. These things (at least the older one) come from the factory with a Hydramatic Turbo 400. Just drop the proper bolt pattern GM V-8 in there.

  • Sorry this is totally OFF TOPIC, but it's an EMERGENCY:

    <img src="; width="400">
    I need to either assemble an unassailable arsenal of convincing arguments before showing this to the Tanshamissus, or y'all need to talk me out of it, quick.

    • Wolfie

      Talk you out of it my ass,lucky I did not buy it .Fishbowl woody wagons for all.

    • onrails

      Talk you out of sure fire LUST AND GLORY!!!! ?

      No chance. This has adventure written all over it. No good story ever came from things that went right.

    • "I bought this for $1300 dollars."
      How's that for a good argument?

      • I bow to your superior skills in maintaining matrimonial bliss.

    • Felis_Concolor

      Tell her to think of the potential!
      <img src=";
      Yes, it fits.
      <img src=";

    • I'm betting you've got better odds than me, when I tried to talk my son into that very car as his first vehicle. He wasn't having any of my, "that is SO cool!"

      • False alarm. My own words were used against me:
        "I thought you wanted a lathe."

        The thing is, I really would rather have a lathe.

        • They know us so well.

          IIRC, she was instrumental in your acquisition of the W650. You've got nothing to complain about.

          • I hope it didn't sound like I was complaining. If I was, I would be the stupidest man alive.

          • Vairship

            W650? And here I thought the W8 and W12 were expensive to maintain engines!

        • Tell her you'll install a PTO & use it to drive a lathe that you can then use anywhere it's needed!

          Also, forgiveness > permission.

      • I have to ask, "that very car?" How long has it been rattling around Craigslist?

        • We looked at it late last week.

    • Devin

      Well it's got a big load area, Tanshamissus have any hobbies that require wide and potentially messy objects to be carried home? A "you can bring home your spring gardening plants with lots of room" type scenario.

      • dukeisduke

        Just don't tell her that its nickname is "Big Ass".

        • dukeisduke

          It has leather?!? YGBFKM!

        • Devin

          Well if she didn't want a big ass she shouldn't have married him!

          If I've learned one thing in life, never turn down a setup for a bad joke.

          • Alcology

            He'll be here all night folks. And all week. All month. All year. Every year.

    • Maymar

      It's not the hatch.

      Don't get me wrong, it's cool for what it is. But It doesn't have the funhouse mirror Porsche 928 style of the hatch.

      • Now see, I would totally give a wagon my love over the hatch. Different strokes and all that.

      • topdeadcentre

        Both flavors are great, hatch and wagon… but the hatches have no woodgrain.

  • I see a new LeMans team with the matching Rollers.

    • Jay_Ramey

      That's exactly the answer I was fishing for.

  • dculberson

    The Lemons team I run with is currently answering this question. Look for the on-track debut this season. It should be at the Monticello race as a judgemobile.

  • I'd like to put that Shadow II on blocks in front of my triple-wide. It would really help property values here.

  • joshuman

    I have a set of Ping Zings. What that says about me I do not know. Perhaps I need to play golf more often?

    • Jay_Ramey

      Ping Zings rock, one of the few pieces of kit from 20 years back that's still competitive with today's stuff, I'd buy a set anyday. Saw a 2 thru SW set at a garage sale for like $65 a year ago, best deal on anything I'd seen that whole year.

  • Maymar

    Considering a number of Bentley and Rollers of the Turbo's generation used sealed beams, I can't imagine it'd be that hard to get something functional fabricated up. Really though, just use these as your golf cart – what does it matter if Chip drives it into the bunker, or even the water trap?

    • Jay_Ramey

      True. They're worth about the same as a golf cart I suppose.

  • Rover 1

    Because they are so handmade, everything on these cars is fixable. So I would fix them and start a limo service/Wedding car hire for all those people who think Escalades and Navigators are just too tacky

    . There must be some, right?

  • Mr. Smee

    I'd drop in a Ford/Chev/Mopar crate motor, then turn the rest into a John Lennon psychedelic replica Roller. Then, find "Magic Alex" and convince him I'd built a time machine.

  • TThe 6.75 is a pretty basic engine… Wouldn't surprise me if there's a 4bbl intake that fits it. Behind that is a BOPC pattern TH400, again pretty easy to work with.

    I can't imagine the electrical stuff on these is all that complex, either.

    I guess what I'm saying is I'll take them both.

    • HoondavanDude

      Famous last words…what could possibly go wrong!

  • Synchromesh

    This is rather funny. A few years back my buddy owned an ambulance business near Stoughton, MA. His company was renting a large garage that was part of a big garage block. I was visiting him one day and in the bushes next to the building saw a very familiar tail light sticking out. Yup, it was a dilapidated RR Silver Spirit from the 80s. It had all of 5000 miles on it but the dash was already cracked, which made it look glorious and derelict at the same time.

    Later I found out that the owner of the place had a garage with exotic cars and this one didn't fit. I wonder if it's still there.

    • topdeadcentre

      Was it white paint and bashed in all along the driver's side?

  • mallthus

    I'm not a Roller guy, despite the glorious experience of driving a Corniche convertible from the beach to Palm Springs on a glorious fall day.

    Because of that, I'd part the two out (assuming there's as many problems not shown as shown) and use the money on something I'd like.

  • nutzforautos

    Take 'em both. Phony RR grille (one of those ones they used to sell for Lincolns in the late 70's) and some ghost flames, with a big fat turbo muffler. For the Bentley, just graft on a Cadillac nose, tint the windows and put the fattest tires you can squeeze under it. Done.

    Ride to the next "Caffeine and Octane" with Van Halen blaring. Oh..wait ..add a bumpersticker to both "Momma never liked me."


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