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Key Takeaways

  • Matt purchased a 1991 Bentley Turbo R for $20,000, a significant discount from its original price.
  • The Bentley had only one owner who regularly drove and maintained the car before passing away.
  • Despite the potential high costs of servicing and parts for older Bentleys, Matt believes the Turbo R offers comfort and control perfect for cruising.

An often-overused phrase in the world of automotive PR and journalism is calling a car “luxurious”. In most cases, this is a rather lazy way of highlighting how many screens and buttons adorn the inside of a car’s cabin, usually one that is akin to a mildly upmarket sofa store.

A proper luxury car has a more intangible quality, and arguably, the British do it better than most. Bentley has long been a staple of British-engineered opulence, but the brand was admittedly suffering from an identity crisis by the time the 1980s rolled around.

Bentley and its once-sister brand, Rolls-Royce, were virtually indistinguishable at the time, but the two are meant to serve uniquely different purposes. Typically, a Rolls-Royce is a car you get driven in, while a Bentley is a car you drive yourself. Fortunately, that’s exactly what automotive YouTuber Matt Farah from TheSmokingTire intends to do with this severely depreciated used car, having picked up this one-owner British classic car for less than a new Toyota sedan.


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Matt Snagged This 1991 Bentley Turbo R For Only $20,000

Matt Farah’s 1991 Bentley Turbo R Key Details

  • Matt picked up this 1991 Bentley Turbo for only $20,000, despite it costing the original owner over $240,000
  • Prior to purchase, this Bentley had only one owner who drove and serviced the car regularly before passing away last year
  • While older Bentleys can be bought for cheap, the service and parts costs can sometimes exceed the purchase price
  • Matt spent an additional $12,681 on a major service, with the car costing him just over $35,000 all-in
  • While it isn’t a sports car, Matt is impressed with the comfort and control the Turbo R offers, saying it’s perfect for cruising around L.A.

It’s a little-known secret that Bentley’s and Rolls-Royces tend to plummet in value over time, with older examples often selling for less than an entry-level sedan by the time their market has bottomed out. That can make these cars an exciting prospect, but the costs to drive and maintain these cars can reach astronomical levels if you buy a poorly looked-after example.


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That isn’t the case with this 1991 Bentley Turbo R, though. Matt says that he was never in the market for a classic Bentley, but he spotted this car being valeted at a house on his street and was immediately curious. It turns out that the owner of this Turbo R had bought it brand-new from the dealership in 1991 as a 60th birthday present for himself and kept it ever since – putting around 20,000 miles on the clock over the past 33 years.

During those three decades of ownership, the Bentley was regularly driven and meticulously maintained, with the car dealer serviced every year at Rolls-Royce in Beverly Hills. After seeing the condition of the Turbo R and the extensive service history, Matt struck up a deal with the family to buy the car for $20,000. For reference, a brand-new 2024 Toyota Prius starts at $27,950 before tax and shipping. The Bentley has some sentimental value to the family, too, as Matt says they are very happy that it will remain close to its former home.

Used Bentley Might Be Cheap To Buy, But Servicing Costs Are High

1991 Bentley Turbo R Specifications


6.75-liter turbocharged V8


Front-engine, rear-wheel drive


3-speed automatic


298 hp


500 lb-ft (est)


4,926 lbs

0-62 mph

7.0 seconds

Top Speed

135 mph

(figures courtesy of Bentley)

One of the main reasons that old Bentleys are cheap to buy is that the cost of parts and specialist labor can easily exceed the purchase price itself. The Turbo R was largely hand-built and in relatively small numbers, with only 4,111 examples produced between 1985 and 1994.

U.S. buyers didn’t get the chance to own one until 1989, making the market for parts and labor even more scarce. Running through the car’s service history, Matt says that the car has never had any mechanical powertrain failures, with only the water pump and belts ever needing replacing. The main issues in this example appear to be the parking brake, which needed fixing twice, and the rear window mechanism, which needed fixing three times.


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While Matt believes he got a great deal on the car, he wanted it to be as perfect as possible, so he sent the Turbo R to L.A. Bentley specialist and ex-Ford GT40 race mechanic Charles Agapiou for a no-expense-spared service. According to J.D. Power, the average cost of a major service (more extensive than an annual service) is $336. However, this Bentley Turbo R set Matt back nearly 38 times that number, costing a whopping $12,681.

1991 Bentley Turbo R Service Cost Breakdown

  • The most expensive items to replace were the two power front seat ECUs and all four tires, costing $4,500 and $3,000, respectively
  • The air conditioning compressor was also broken, with a replacement costing $1,200
  • The pesky rear window mechanisms needed replacing for a fourth time, at a cost of around $1,000
  • Matt also fitted a brand-new Bluetooth stereo system and speakers for $1,500

This ‘90s Bentley Has A Lot Of Luxury Features

Taking a look inside the Turbo R, Matt pours over all the Bentley’s luxury details. The entire cabin is a sea of Connolly leather, burl wood panels, and chrome switchgear, with most of the interior looking as though it has barely been used. The rear seats, in particular, look virtually new, with the Bentley still retaining the small, carpeted footrests under the front seats. The shag carpets themselves are supremely thick, with Matt jokingly saying that his wife is considering asking people to take off their shoes before they get in the car.

The Bentley has some tech to match the materials, too, with heated and adjustable power memory front seats, multi-zone climate control that can provide hot and cold air simultaneously, and rear passengers even get their own ashtrays and cigarette lighters. The only rather strange omission is the lack of storage space in the cabin.

What Is The Bentley Like To Drive?

1991 Bentley Turbo R Market Value


Average Value

Top Sale Price




(figures courtesy of J.D. Power/

While Bentley didn’t release any power figures for the Turbo R at the time, the company now claims the turbocharged 6.75-liter V8 produces 298 hp. While there’s still no official torque figure, most experts estimate around 500 lb-ft of torque, with power going to the rear wheels via a GM THM400 3-speed automatic transmission.

Taking the car onto the road, Matt praises the smoothness of the engine and transmission, saying the car wafts around comfortably with minimal effort. While it’s not exactly a sports car, weighing in at nearly 5,000 lbs, it has more than sufficient power to get up to speed. Matt says that the hydraulic suspension is simultaneously very comfortable yet still sharp and tight, going on to say that the steering feels great and is relatively communicative.


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Matt does admit that he is still in the honeymoon phase with the Bentley and that it could potentially ruin him financially if something major were to go wrong. However, he says the key to ensuring the car stays reliable is to drive it regularly and keep all the mechanicals and fluids moving. Matt has spent around $35,000 all in but says that’s still under the top market value of $40,000 these cars can command.

We don’t know where Matt is getting his numbers from, but using both J.D. Power and as a reference, the top sale prices for 1991 Turbo Rs range from $20,000 to $26,000. We did spot one all-original car on Hemmings for just under $30,000, but nothing above that. Still, there’s no denying how amazing the condition of this Turbo R is, and Matt is pledging to use the car as his daily driver for at least the next year.

sources: YouTube @ TheSmokingTire, Bentley, J.D. Power,, Hemmings

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