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Well Sorted Driver: 1989 Bentley Turbo R

While it’s easy to think of nearly any Bentley sedan as solely a luxury car, the truth of the matter is that the Bentley Turbo R was a super sedan of the 80s and one that was intended to give the big sedan some sporting credentials. While it may have looked like a standard Mulsanne, the Turbo R was significantly improved underneath, which breathed new life into Bentley’s flagship sedan. This 1989 Turbo R shown here on craigslist is listed for $20,000 and is said to been extensively maintained, with no regard to what were likely some pretty extravagant service bills.

That’s always the challenge with a car like this: how do justify continuing to spend money on maintenance when you know it will be very hard to make the math work against what it is actually worth? So, when such a car is looked after by the somewhat inevitable second- or third-owner who bought a Bentley Turbo R at a discount, the question as to whether that individual will maintain it at a high level undoubtedly comes up. Based on the listing, it sounds like such a commitment isn’t an issue for the current seller, and the tidy carpeted trunk compartment is a good sign.

That’s what makes caring for these luxury/exotic cars end up another level: you’re not just keeping up with the oil changes and suspension overhauls; you’re also working to ensure the leather seating surfaces, woodgrain trim, and wall-to-wall carpeting remain in excellent condition as well. This Turbo R is noted as having “…triple wood work”, and “…optional door wood and leather all around,” which suggests to me that there’s even more wood trim and leather surfaces than normal in a 1980s Bentley, and seeing this shot of the door panel does seem to suggest more trees than normal were harmed in the manufacturing of this car.

Back to the “R” designation that makes this Bentley more compelling to own than your standard Mulsanne: Bentley built the Turbo R with several key upgrades that had a specific focus on “roadholding.” Increased damping and roll bar rates were key to taking the Mulsanne’s soft handling and turning it into a true sport sedan. A panhard bar was also added along with wider wheels and tires. Horsepower-wise, the Turbo R kicked out almost 300 horsepower and 500 lb-ft of torque, and this example will be all the more enjoyable to hustle thanks to the owner’s attention to maintenance which includes a new steering rack, fuel injection system, battery and turbo. Thanks to Barn Finds reader Tony P. for the find.


  1. Avatar photo Nelson C

    An interesting and intriguing car for sure. It appears that it was very well cared for throughout its life. Just right for the high end collectors who knows how and is prepared to care for it into the future.

    Like 5
  2. Avatar photo Martini ST

    Calling it a “true sports sedan” is a bit optimistic. I hope they were able to clean the tear stains off the leather from the previous owner crying over the repair bills. It seems like a lot of car for twenty grand, and it is, kinda. But, just the running cost of a 35 year old Bentley, let alone the repairs that are coming (and you know they are, don’t kid yourself) makes this a tragic beauty of an automobile.

    Like 5
  3. Avatar photo Rustomodrob

    If you don’t mind setting aside a $1k a month for the first 12 months of ownership and that’s before you start driving it on the weekends. At least you’ll get a head start the second year for repairs and maintenance this will need. Pretend it’s 2 car payments a month…yours and the wife’s..lol! Then you’ll need to save up for the divorce next…because that car will need a lot more attention than the wife to keep it happy. 😁

    Like 4
  4. Avatar photo mark Member

    Interesting comments. I would like to hear from someone who has actually lived with a Bentley/Roller of this vintage and drove them at least 5K a year.
    They could be a choice of buying a rusty desired muscle car and spending unknown bucks or keeping up on the maintenance on this beauty.

    My buddy pulled the trigger on an 88 Roller, he was a QC guy for GM in Fremont, and he loved it. Always wanted one, looked for a well cared for one, and spent 8K. However, as the folks above referenced, one big failure and you are looking at a divorce or 2nd mortgage. Same with the muscle car, just your choice.

    Like 6
  5. Avatar photo G Lo

    I always base my purchases on the condition of the boot. Seriously, this looks like a very good example and the 128k (km?) is a good sign. Nice color combo, as well.

    Like 2
  6. Avatar photo John E. Klintz

    Gorgeous car at a very good price and obviously well-maintained. That said, one must remember an infrequently quoted car enthusiast adage: “there’s no such thing as a cheap Bentley.”

    Like 3
    • Avatar photo Jay McCarthy

      Is a Bentley ever truly “sorted”

      Like 0
  7. Avatar photo Elroythekid

    It doesn’t say Can$ or US $ ? That’s a little below $15,000 US if Canadian.

    Like 1
    • Avatar photo Mike Member

      It’s safe to say that the price is in Canadian dollars as it is located and listed in Beautiful British Columbia in Canada, and as of today the price would be around $14,750 USD…

      Like 1

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