Affordable Luxury? 1989 Bentley Eight

When one thinks of esteemed British luxury cars, Rolls-Royce is probably the vaunted marque that first comes to mind. But take a Rolls, knock off a slice of pretentiousness, add a share of sportiness and voila, you have a Bentley. And one of the finest examples ever produced, IMHO, is the Bentley Eight like this 1989 Granada Hills, California domiciled example. It’s a beautiful car and is available, here on craigslist for $10,500. Thanks to Pat L. for this tip!

Bentley’s origins were that of highly durable, performance-oriented motorcars, the performance part losing some of its zeal, but not the durability and bespoke luxury appointments, after acquisition by Rolls-Royce in 1931. While the two world-wide recognizable brands were joined at the hip for decades, their holding company, Vickers plc, ended its ownership in 1998 by selling out to VW who had outbid BMW for the combined brands. A complicated licensing agreement (engines, naming rights, logos, etc.) between VW and BMW ensued, and in 2003 Bentley became a ward of Volkswagen AG while Rolls-Royce continued on with BMW. This 1989 Bentley Eight (1984-1992) is from the Vickers ownership period and was considered an “entry-level” Bentley. With 1,700 copies produced, some may think it was too down-stream a car for Bentley’s established rank, I like to think of it as a perfect example of less being more.

This 80K mile example is resplendent with its unmarred, deep while finish and impressive mesh grille. The seller claims the paint is original and a rare color combination with its beige upholstery. This has been a garage kept car, it has been off the road for some length of time and is not currently registered. The body shows perfectly and it seems unlikely that it has encountered any sort of corrosion or mayhem, either minor or major.

It is a curious color combination between the interior and exterior, made even more so by the maroon upholstery piping. Bentley Eight’s were originally equipped with cloth upholstery but had migrated to typical Connolly leather hides by the time this car was assembled. The driver’s seat is showing the usual cracking and could probably use a cleaning – light beige, regardless of fabric, is tough to keep clean, especially the carpet! The instrument panel appears to be in perfect shape with a very purposeful design and layout. It’s safe to say that this very welcoming environment needs nothing.

Power for this Bentley Eight is provided by a Rolls-Royce sourced, 221 HP, 6.75 liter, V-8 engine operating through a three-speed, GM sourced, automatic transmission. The seller claims, “runs and drives very very well” and then further adds, “Mechiacly (sic) this car will take you anywhere.” The engine compartment is clean and tidy, somewhat belying its 80K miles – it all appears to have been well maintained.

The crisp, understated lines of this renowned luxury automobile are what sets it off – it shows that its owner “has arrived” but does so in a muted and understated way. The price seems reasonable for this Bentley considering its condition and existential representation. I would never have thought of a Bentley as an affordable option, but this model Eight makes the case don’t you think?

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Comments

  1. Mitchell Gildea Member

    Affordable until something breaks and it needs to be fixed

    Like 10
    • Timothy Phaff

      Not if you’re a mechanic. I would love to repair anything on this baby.

      Like 9
    • Tony Primo

      You would hope that anyone purchasing a 31 year old automobile irregardless of make or model, would be mechanically inclined enough to perform some basic maintenance. If not, it can become a very expensive hobby.

      Like 13
  2. CCFisher

    I think your description of the sale of Bentley and Rolls-Royce is missing a little of the drama. VW outbid BMW and bought the combined Bentley/Rolls-Royce automotive operations from Vickers, but did not secure the rights to the Rolls-Royce name from the owner, Rolls-Royce PLC. Rolls-Royce PLC had wanted the brand to go to BMW, and sold the rights to the name to BMW for $66 million, a fraction of the $780 million VW paid for the automotive operations. The deal was an embarrassment for VW and a victory for BMW.

    Like 14
    • Jim ODonnell Staff

      CC Fisher:

      Yes, it did intentionally. I wanted a little RR/Bentley color but not a history lesson. The post is supposed to be about the ’89 Bentley Eight.

      Thx,

      JO

      Like 5
      • MikeH

        I, for one, enjoyed the history lesson. Just because you chose not to include it, doesn’t mean it has no value.

        Like 6
      • Jim ODonnell Staff

        I didn’t say it didn’t and I’m glad that CC Fisher provided it. But my goal, and BF’s goals, are to focus on the subject and keep the post length within a manageable size.

        JO

        Like 6
    • Dave Mazz

      When VW learned that they had purchased the Rolls–Royce factory and some inventory, but *not* the R/R brand name, someone suggested they simply continue production but re-name the cars “Rolls_Wagens”. I think this was a darn good idea :-) :-)

  3. Timothy Phaff

    Very nice ride & if I had space and time I would add it to my toys. I like this gem. Driving something that blocks out all of the elements and noise is a perfect experience. Let’s not forget the safety issues when some nit-wit plows into it I’m sure the average car on today’s roads would not survive this luxury gems impact.

    Like 2
  4. Argy

    These 80s Bentleys and Rolls Royces have got to be the biggest luxury brand bargains on the planet right now. I recently spotted an ‘88 Turbo R for even less than this car… Of course you’d need someone above a Quik Lube level of technical training to keep it roadworthy, but considering it cost over $100K in 1989 I’d say it’s a steal today for used Corolla money.

    Like 6
  5. luke arnott Member

    Parts are VERY expensive so tread carefully!

    Like 5
  6. Maestro1 Member

    Thank you Jim for the post. I’m not a fan of white paint on any car, to me they look like refrigerators, especially something this size, but the interior is lovely and the car taken together is a dream to drive and own provided one is near a dealer or independent who knows what they are doing.
    Frankly as much as I like Rollers the car’s statement is too much for me. So I’ve had two Bentleys, both mid 60s, and they were a pleasure. You are right about 80s cars low priced now so this is a great buying opportunity. If I had the room I would be looking for something very close to this, meaning in exterior color. Thanks again.

    Like 2
    • Ted-M

      White is so easy to keep clean!

      Like 1
  7. Malcolm Boyes

    We have a home on the British Virgin Island of Tortola..right down the road from the best boutique hotel in the islands “The Sugar Mill”. A three years ago the owner Denis and his wife Mary imported a rhd green Bentley 8 from the UK. It really is a sight to see this lovely car cruising the narrow roads and serious hills so sedately. So far there have only been some minor issues and it survived Hurricane Irma ( along with my 73 Thing). Nothing like getting picked up at the airport or ferry dock in that Bentley..ask Led Zepellin’s Robert Plant who came to stay for a couple of weeks!

    Like 5
    • Kenneth

      re: Nothing like getting picked up at the airport or ferry dock in that Bentley.

      Might it be a good business investment for a luxury or wannabe-upscale hotel for local livery to/from the airport?

      Like 2
  8. Bob

    Very attractive and the price is quite reasonable. If you are interested I recommend either personally inspect the car or hire a reputable/professional inspection service to do that job. If you take the latter path, ensure that service has a history dealing with high end luxury cars. Remember, people with a lot of money buy such cars new. They can afford “routine repairs”, as the vehicles age and follow on buyers purchase those cars, such things as: air conditioning, major brake components, alternators, dash instrumentation, automatic window and seat regulators/controllers etc. can run into the thousands to repair or replace. The minute you use the words “Bentley” or “Rolls Royce”, both of which share a myriad of parts/components, the folks on the other side of the parts counter see $$$. Also get a car fax to see what the maintenance history looks like.

    Like 4
  9. Rustytech

    Even a mechanic will get sticker shock standing at the parts counter on one of these. Add to that the people coming out of the woodwork wanting to borrow money because they think you have plenty. No thanks.

    Like 2
  10. JOHN SKEDAS

    No big deal, there is actually no such word as irregardless. Its a,double negative. Just like I cant get no satisfaction!
    Regardless or irrespective. Best wishes

    Like 2
    • Smokey Member

      Wheeeeeeeeeee…………..BF is improving So Much. English lessons and History lessons all the same same location now. Can credits for reading BF now be transferred to my local college transcript. Oh, the humanity !!

      Like 3
  11. Kenn

    Finally, a vehicle that gives the lie to all the “low original miles” statements of
    so many cars here. Seller is truthful about the mileage and the evidence looks like less than half that has been driven. ie: lots of miles on the odometer doesn’t have to mean dirty and ragged. Wish more sellers were as honest.

    Like 1
  12. Steve Clinton

    ‘Upulsrty’? ‘Mechiacly’? Those who have the cash to buy a Bentley should be able to spell curwrecktly!

    Like 4
  13. Chris C

    Ten G’sss something must be wrong with it . Plus a nightmare to repair unless you are a mechanic . I would have better things to spend my money on . Nice looking car ,but way to many predictable problems .

    Like 1

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