CHEAP BENTLEYS CORNERED
As the T1/T2 market hardens, the Arnage Green Label the new entry-level Bentley – but not for long
How do you put a price on luxury, particularly when it’s one of the best-known of British car makers? Not a lot, judging by the prices Bentley Arnages are currently making in auctions.
Some might argue the Arnage is, well, just a bit too modern, but look at it as the last model designed and slipped into production before Rolls-Royce/Bentley parent Vickers decided to call it a day (which was followed by the much-criticised BMW/VW carve-up) and the Arnage has history firmly behind it.
And, unlike the Continental GT that soon followed, there’s something pleasingly old-fashioned about the Arnage, but in a way that successfully employed then up-to-the minute technology to woo buyers perhaps a little jaded by its Silver Spirit-derived Turbo/Turbo R predecessors. It’s the earlier, pre-2000 cars that are nosing into classic sales, although later models still make appearances.
While on the drawing board Bentley parent Vickers decided new engines were the order of the day, primarily to replace the ageing 6.75-litre V8 that dated back to the S2. Eventually the company settled on using BMW engines, with a 4.4-litre V8 for the Bentley and a V12 for its Rolls-Royce Silver Seraph sibling.
But such was the complexity over the BMW- and Volkswagencontested sale of Bentley and Rolls-Royce, new Bentley parent VW, fearing the supply of V8s would be curtailed, hurriedly re-worked the old 6.75-litre V8 to slip into the Arnage’s engine bay.
Ultimately, BMW continued to supply the 4.4-litre V8 and with two engines offered, the model was rebranded as Arnage Red Label for the bigger-engined car, Green Label for the smaller.
These earlier cars, later updated as the long-wheelbase RL, the Arnage R (effectively an updated Red Label) and the Arnage T, where there was a clearly defined hierarchy, make hiding-in-plainsight first-class buys, and the smaller-engined model especially so due to its lower running costs.
If proof was needed in Historics’ most recent sale (see review) a 1998 Green Label sold for £10,640.
Bentley Arnage Green Labels have fallen below the magic £15,000 barrier – but they won’t be this cheap forever.