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2004 Bentley Arnage Delivery! Day: 1

Yay! The Bentley arrived this week and I could not be more excited.

 

Should You Buy a (13-Year-Old) Bentley Arnage? YES!

This post is a response to the the following Jalopnik article by Doug DeMuro:
If I Buy a 13-Year-Old Bentley Arnage, Will It Destroy My Life?

Dear Doug,

I read your article about avoiding the Bentley Arnage and let me tell you: I accept your challenge. I know you didn’t offer a challenge, but I accept it anyway. I’ve been looking to purchase a Bentley Arnage for a while now and this article was the motivation I needed to pull the trigger. Let me start off by saying I’m not a rich guy who can just purchase a car like this without having to worry about the financial expenses. I have a normal job, normal income, 2.5 kids, and a nervous wife. But I’m willing to bet (and it’s a pretty big gamble) that your theory is wrong and that everybody needs to buy a Bentley Arnage.

These cars cost $250,000 when they were new and that they have suffered a major depreciation hit. It’s my guess that the value of these cars has near-bottomed out. Most of the depreciation has already happened, and future depreciation will be at a slower pace, a MUCH slower pace. After one or two years of ownership, I should be able to sell the car on for close to what I paid.

So far I’ve looked at a few Arnages. There have been three serious candidates. I found the first one on an eBay auction at no reserve; it was located in California. After I paid for and arranged a pre-purchase inspection (PPI), the seller ended up bidding on (and winning) his own auction. Strike one. The second car I considered was located in Minnesota. Instead of a pre-purchase inspection, I decided to look at the car in person (a plane ticket costs as much as a PPI). Unfortunately, it was in bad shape. It was a 2003 with 50,000 miles. The body was beat up, it had paint chips, dents, dings, and a funky smell. It also needed some serious mechanical work. The engine was leaking like a bag of mud. The previous owner had driven this car hard. Strike two. The most recent Bentley that I inspected was the exact opposite. It was a 2004 Bentley Arnage T-24 Mulliner. This car had almost 30,000 miles and was in almost perfect condition. This is the car I am going to buy.

I want to make the point that there’s a lot of bad information about this car and that service makes it unattainable for mere mortals. One of the things I really like about this car is that it is more car than computer. This is a car that you can work on. This is probably one of the last cars that you can work on. It’s a not a dying breed, it’s a dead breed. I can’t imagine the owner of any modern luxury car having the audacity to tackle a check engine light.

So while the horror stories on the internet are out there about the crazy repair costs, I would say they are mostly exaggerated. If you researched almost any product on the internet, you stumble upon a disproportionate amount of horror stories. It’s always the people who’ve had the bad experience that make the most noise. I am guilty of this myself. When I had a horrible experience using Uber, I felt compelled to make my negative experience known. Even though I have used Uber plenty of times in the past without any issues, it was the one bad experience that I spoke up about.

I also find it interesting that actual owners defend this car as reliable, yet few of the horror stories I read are from actual owners. The engine has been around since the 1950s. The transmission is a GM 4-speed found in hundreds of thousands of vehicles (maybe millions). This is a good recipe for reliability.

So what does this mean? What is the next course of action for me? Obviously, I need to buy a Bentley Arnage. I need to buy a 13 year old Bentley Arnage. And I need to let everybody know what a great car it is. I hope I’m right because the risks are high, but so is the potential for reward.

So, in the style of your Aston Martin series, I will purchase an exotic car, the Bentley Arnage, for less than $50,000 and keep it for a year or two and share my experience. When you posted your video requesting which type of car you should consider for your $50,000 purchase, I tweeted that you should purchase the Bentley Arnage. And amazingly, that tweet was liked by almost three people! So clearly, I have my finger on the pulse of what the public wants to see.

This week, I plan to take possession of a 13 year old Bentley Arnage T, and we will see how accurate your doomsday theory is. We will see how practical this vehicle will be. If this ends up being a total fail for me, at least I had fun trying.

Love Always,

Josh

 

Uber LUX: Low-Standard Luxury at High Prices

On a recent trip to Indianapolis, a lack of regular UberX cars available in the area allowed me to give UberLUX a shot. I figured this was a “make lemonade out of lemons” situation. The price was going to be more than twice the price of a regular Uber car, but at least I was going to ride to the airport on style!

The car that arrived was a total piece of garbage.

Here is how UberLUX is described on the Uber website:

We’ve launched UberLUX for those moments when you need ultimate sophistication and unparalleled luxury.

-and-

you can request a ride in one of the finest vehicles in town. LUX vehicles include the Lexus QS, Mercedes Benz E-Class, Audi A6, and many more.

Source: Uber.com

First of all, what the heck is a Lexus QS?
uber-lux-cars
Any one of the cars listed would have been a nice option. Upon requesting a ride, the Uber app indicated the car would be a Lincoln Town Car. I should have canceled the ride at that point. The Lincoln Town Car has been out of production since 2011, so I knew immediately I wasn’t going to be riding in a new car. But I didn’t realize how much worse this car was going to be.

The car that showed up was a taxi-grade piece of junk. From afar, the car didn’t look bad, but as it drove closer, the lemonade started to revert to lemons. This particular model was easily 10 years old. On a used car lot, this car would not cost more than $5000, and that is being generous. The beat-up Lincoln was well-used and a major disappointment- nowhere near the caliber of the luxury brands of Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi.

Shortly after my ride, I contacted Uber to let them know about my experience with Uber LUX. Their response:

Uber has clear standards for every vehicle option available in your city. This particular vehicle falls within those standards. Regardless, we’re sorry to hear that you were disappointed by the vehicle you rode in and we’ve added $5 of credit to your account.

I don’t know what these “clear standards” are, but if you are ever considering using UberLUX, I would like to provide a list of items that evidently fall under these standards for ultimate sophistication and unparalleled luxury based on my experience:

  • Multiple shades of window tint on a single door
  • Plastic packaging tape on the door handle ash tray (either a DIY repair or a fancy alternative to the traditional “no smoking” sign)
  • Faded clearcoat and/or spray can paint job
  • Squeaks and rattles at any speed
  • and many more…

Now I haven’t spent a lot of time in Indianapolis, but maybe this beat-up Lincoln is one of the nicest cars around town. I would think that a city with the automotive heritage of Indianapolis would have much nicer cars, but Uber has determined that this car is one of the nicest that Indianapolis has to offer and falls within those clear and arguably low standards.

Before you accuse me of being a snob, I want to make one point clear: I took this same trip from the airport to the hotel in an UberXL that was roughly half the price of UberLUX. The vehicle was a Dodge Journey. This vehicle was far nicer than my LUX vehicle. It was newer, cleaner, and far better in almost every aspect. It is apparent to me that the make and model are the only considerations when determining what is worthy to receive the UberLUX title.

uber-lux-pricing

Source: Uber.com

And a $5 credit? I’ve received better consolations from email spam. This experience has really soured me on Uber. This vehicle has no business being labeled luxurious and commanding the premium price for the LUX service. I am confident this complaint will occur again as long as the “clear standards” for Uber LUX cars remain so low. Kudos to the owner of the car for convincing the folks at Uber to get his car listed in the premium LUX category. Maybe I should go buy a cheap Lincoln on Craigslist and a can of black spray paint so I can get into the luxury transportation business.

So if you are considering getting a ride with Uber LUX, do not be afraid to hit that cancel button. If you do need a ride to the airport in Indianapolis, do yourself a favor and call a limo if you don’t want any surprises.

 

Leaked Image: Tesla Model 3

I am not going to reveal any of my sources, so don’t ask! But let’s just say I’ve managed to acquire the following teaser photo of the upcoming Tesla Model 3, several days before the big reveal.

tesla-model-3-teaser

The Tesla Model 3 is the car that is to make Powell Tesla Motors profitable. Priced around the golden $35k price range, Tesla hopes the car will revolutionize the auto world in a way other experienced auto manufacturers have been unable to do. While the reveal is just a few short days away, the Tesla Model 3 is expected to hit the road in 2019ish.

Is it cool? You bet your sweet electrons it is! Will it work out for Tesla? Probably not.


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Acura TL Corroded/Burnt AC Blower Wire Harness Connector

Here is an image of a burnt and corroded connector from the wiring harness of the blower motor. The plastic is melted in this example. This is from a 2002 Acura TL Type-S. The connector on other Acuras/Hondas will look the same or similar to this. If your connector looks like this, it will need to be replaced.

melted-connector