In this job I have the pleasure of driving a lot of classic cars. Some are good, some are better than expected and some are a bit disappointing. If they fall in the last category you probably won’t find them on the Great Escape fleet. Which is how came to work my way through a few different examples of Crewe’s finest. And why we’ve just added one of Bentley’s best, a Turbo R, to our Cotswolds classic car hire fleet.
My Rolls and Bentley odyssey started with a 1989 Silver Spirit, which I had on the fleet for a few years until 18 months ago. Few cars create quite such a sense of occasion, and an undying sense of sheer embarrassment, as the big Spirit. I’ve never owned a pub but after a couple of hours behind the wheel of the wallowing behemoth I began to believe I did, such is the image created by the big bonneted Roller. It was incredibly luxurious, rode like a magic carpet and had a driving position best described as ‘lofty.’ But the best car in the world? No and indeed no. You don’t drive a Rolls for ultimate 10/10th handling, but the Spirit approached even the slightest of bends like a whinnying pony desperate not to proceed. It was also glacially slow, despite its 6.75 litre V8 engine and single figure consumption.
So we ditched the Spirit and put a Bentley T1 on the fleet. Now this was more like it. Sure, it pitched and rolled and wallowed like the Spirit but it looked good in a way that the Spirit looked bad. Despite shouting its presence louder than a member of One Direction, it didn’t dominate other road users to the point of gesticulation. I liked it, quite a lot. Until the point at which it broke down and kept on doing it, which was approximately 3 days after we got it. On the rare occasions when it had a steady supply of electricity, random features would stop working, perhaps the wipers one day, the lights the next. Several thousand pounds spent at a Bentley specialist succeeded in curing the T1’s maladies for up to 4 days, by which time I will admit my patience was wearing somewhat thin with the whole idea of making this otherwise glorious car available to any more customers.
And so we come to our latest addition, the Bentley Turbo R. After the T1 incident I will admit that I didn’t immediately rush out to find a replacement. Aside from my experience with the Rolls and Bentley, Crewe tends to make massive cars and massive cars don’t store very well, taking up considerably more space than anything else, so they cost more. But if I ever did add another Bentley it would be a Turbo R. After testing the water with a Turbo RL in Yorkshire, hired through one of our owner operated sites, I decided I might be ready to take the plunge and add one at one of our own managed sites.
The Turbo R we have added in the Cotswolds is, for me, possibly the perfect Crewe blunderbuss. Unlike the Spirit it looks good – despite sharing the same basic design – and it is reliable, unlike the T1. It also handles properly and delivers great gobs of power. The Turbo R wasn’t just a Rolls with a blower bolted on, Bentley did a proper job of turning the big saloon into a handy sports car, albeit an extremely luxurious one.
Our Bentley Turbo R in the Cotswolds is one of the last made, one of 100 special edition ‘Brooklands Mulliner’ cars that feature Brooklands metalllic green paintwork, tan leather interior, hydraulic sports suspension and an extended wheelbase with extra rear legroom. It’s a great car to drive or be driven in and, what’s more, it avoids the pub landlord image of an old Roller.
Our latest addition is available to hire now on a self drive basis for weddings or special occasions. To find out more visit http://www.greatescapecars.co.uk. Mention this article and claim 10% off. Or call 01527 893733.