Seeing double: 1957 Rolls and 1959 Bentley

Rolls Royce And Bently

There were several possible titles for this write-up, including Pass The Mustard and Double Trouble. Late ’50s Rolls Royces and Bentleys aren’t cheap to restore, but this duo might be interesting to have. We have to wonder though, why would someone have their Rolls and Bentley painted alike? For $16,000 or best offer, you can have these near twins listed on craigslist. Both cars run, but that’s all that’s revealed. They are located in Marysville, California. For an extra $10,000 he’ll throw in a 1948 Willys Jeep with a, 302, 4 speed and 33 inch tires.

inside front

The interiors look nice, but you can see someone has already discovered some electrical miseries. Right hand drive makes these even less desirable and knocks 15% off the value. You can’t tell from the pictures which car is the one with the best interior, but this one doesn’t look too bad.

right

These are beautiful cars, but even running and driving they are still not worth enough to justify any restoration work. Is there a devoted Rolls/Bentley fan willing to take on two projects? Perhaps one could serve as a parts car for the other. The average retail is only about $32,000, less 15% for right hand drive or about $27,000 for the Rolls and a bit less for the Bentley. These would make great drivers. Is there anything one could do with these that would make sense?  Perhaps if one could do minimal work to get one running and driving you might recover enough to start on the remaining car.

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Comments

  1. Dolphin Member

    Actually, it’s Willie’s Jeep. Maybe it used to belong to Willie Nelson. I really wanted to have a look at Willie’s idea of a hot motor for a vintage Jeep, but no luck.

    This is probably the most unusual group of vehicles that’s ever been on Barn Finds together, especially if the Jeep really was once owned by Willie, but still so even if it wasn’t.

    • brakeservo

      I don’t know if Willie Nelson ever had a Jeep, but I do know he once owned a Euro Mercedes 6.9 because I sold it! Now the Rolls & Bentley – if you want to own either, these are about as new as you want to get if you want something that can be dependable and relatively easy to fix. The V8 model that came later was awful initially, and while the same basic engine is still in production and quite a powerhouse when installed in a turbo charged Bentley Mulsanne, it wasn’t until about 1963 that they had the major design flaws worked out. Then in 1966 Rolls came out with the Silver Shadow model – a vehicle that anyone with any lick of sense will run,not walk away from! All that being said, it is still amazing to me that these early post-war Bentley and Rolls-Royce cars have remained so cheap and affordable and I don’t understand why – they are an absolute pleasure to drive (well actually I prefer the preceding model with a manual transmission) and it’s amazing the number of service and wear parts you can get at your local corner auto parts store so I found my old Rolls to be cheaper to maintain and repair than my Toyota! And with at least 9 out of 10 people, when you say the words “Rolls-Royce” this is the model that springs to mind. Built far better than anything from Detroit and Europe, if properly maintained they can still be used regularly for both the daily commute and long-distance touring. But if neglected, like any car they are a lot of work to be put right again. However virtually any part you’ll ever need is still available and usually (but not always) at a reasonable price. Over the past 30 years I have owned well over 230 Rolls-Royce and Bentley automobiles, the oldest being a 1932 Rolls 20/25 and the newest a 1965 Rolls Silver Cloud III. In my humble opinion, the 1946 – 1954/5 cars with the manual transmissions are the absolute best cars ever built by Bentley and Rolls!

      Like 1
      • jtnc

        I’ve owned a 1950 Bentley Mk. VI for 23 years and I wholeheartedly agree! I also own a modern Toyota and I’m not so sure I would say the Bentley is cheaper to maintain than the Toyota, but if the point is that as old crocks go the early postwar Bentley and Rolls is extremely reliable and relatively simple to maintain, I agree with that too. The highest quality and most enjoyable classic car I’ve ever owned out of about 15, American, British and European.

  2. jimbosidecar

    Just attended a car show at the Moapa Tribe Plaza in Nevada. There I saw a 1957 Rolls Royce with a big ol’ jar of Grey Poupon on the dash

    Like 1
  3. jimbosidecar

    Here’s the exterior of the car

  4. waynard

    I wish everyone would get past (no pun) the Poupon Mustard thing already.

    Had a ’59 Silver Cloud, “fully restored” (but not really), found in a garage, sitting for 3 1/2 years. Wasn’t a great restoration, but it was a great 10 footer. Needed a complete brake job: $3700.00 and 7 weeks; and most of the parts had to come from over the pond. Plus another $2300.00 for odds and ends to make it safely drivable.

    Sold for $30,000.00 two years ago. Won’t be investing in RR/B’s again.

    • brakeservo

      You should have talked to me before embarking on that brake overhaul. A servo can be re-lined for about $35, the two master-cylinders are easily and cheaply rebuildable – take all the old seals out and simply match them up at the corner auto parts store, the brake hoses can be duplicated by any hose shop for about $30 each and the brake shoes re-lined for about $12 each! But yes, I know – I’ve heard the horror stories of owners who didn’t really know the story who get ripped off by specialists or insist on buying parts from either Albers in America or one of the UK specialists when really all they’re buying are ordinary hydraulic seals and hoses! And done bother paying a high price for Castrol RR363 – any good quality DOT3 or 4 is fine.

      Like 1
  5. John H. in CT

    Ironically, the Jaguar Mark VII, VIII, and IX that were designed to compete with these cars at half their price, now command higher prices in the collector market. An excellent condition Mark IX will fetch $50K in today’s market.

    • brakeservo

      Well, I’ve sold any number of good Mark VI and R Type Bentleys for $50,000 or more and a truly spectacular but standard bodied RHD R Type for $84,500 not too long ago! And unlike a Jag, the Bentley will not only get you where you’re going, it will get you home again too without a single call to a tow truck!! I still think they’re way too cheap for what they are.

      Like 1
  6. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    Burke’s Law….did it for me…..

  7. Richard

    Brakeservo said “Then in 1966 Rolls came out with the Silver Shadow model – a vehicle that anyone with any lick of sense will run,not walk away from!”

    I must have “limited intelligence” because I love the Silver Shadow as I own 3 of them! They are high maintenance but all RR are! If you can’t afford the upkeep, then don’t purchase one! One of the Shadows is indeed RHD chrome bumper! So I am have “double lack of sense”!

  8. Bruce Best

    A friend of mine purchased a 1947 Bently with a James Young Razor Edge body on it. The car was not complex at all to restore except the wood and aluminum panels. The rest was dead simple and as other have noted you can get many if not most of the wearing parts and gaskets made here for far less money.

    The electrical system had the original rubber coated wires and we replace all of those with new teflon coated wires of the same colors of the original and that took some time as we used the original for a pattern and for all the connectors.

    The thing I was most impressed with was the car had over 250,000 miles on it and when we opened up the transmission and broke the paint seals over some of the bolts proving it had never been opened before we found we had wasted our time. It was almost as new. We checked everything and nothing needed replacing. The gears were almost double the size of other gears we had seen on more powerful cars but sync and all were good.

    The quality of these cars and this era is simple straight forward design, excellent materials assembled with the utmost care. Much of this care you can not see until you open them up but be certain it is there. Yea I would restore them in a heart beat and I would pick these up and return them to the standard that they were when they left the factory. However the interior restoration could easily
    match the cost of the car without much trouble.

    Like 1
  9. Howard A Member

    Just wonderful automobiles. Owners of these cars show us how bland the rest of us really are, just kidding. I’d never own one, but my story with one of these, many years ago, 70’s, my old man had a dr. friend that had a car like this. He knew I was “into” cars, and asked my dad if I could come over. There was an annoying clicking noise he wanted to see if I knew what it was. Well, these cars are WAY out of my league, but I said, I’ll take a look. On the “test ride” I heard the noise,,, turns out, ( I think RR owners know where this is going), turns out,,, it was the clock ticking, I shxx you not!

    Like 1
  10. brakeservo

    Hey Howard A – don’t know why you say these cars are “WAY out of my league” – if you can fathom a six cylinder Chevy, deal with a General Motors Hydramatic and understand four-wheel drum brakes and simple body on frame construction you’re 99% of the way there! In the late 1950s, Rolls-Royce built the finest cars with the best 1930’s technology! The only things a little different to many Americans were the SU carburetors and the mechanical brakeservo brakes!

    Like 1
  11. Palandi

    I’d restore one to factory specs and restomod the other (painting it black). which one would get each faith, no idea.

  12. Mark-A

    Wasn’t it always said that, “You get Driven in a Rolls Royce BUT if you’re a Driver you buy a Bentley as it’s “more” of a driver’s car?” I’d love to see the Bentley with a later model Turbo V8 & transmission fitted! Reckon it could/would surprise a few people in the good ole “Traffic Light Grand Prix”.

  13. brakeservo

    I knew a guy in Oregon who had a 1960 Bentley with that awful first generation Rolls V8. He replaced it with a hot-rodded 502 Chevy big-block and found the parts to bolt it right up to the original Hydramatic automatic transmission so no alterations to the brakes or anything else were needed and from the outside you could never tell the car had been modified . . . until he stepped on the accelerator! Twin black streaks of rubber for as long as he chose to smoke the tires! Normally I don’t like engine conversions, but in this case he had no real choice – the original aluminum block had corroded to the point it was no longer any good.

    Like 1

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