Thoughts and advice on the care and feeding of fine automobiles from Machine Aficionado and bestselling author John Elder Robison, owner of JE Robison Service in Springfield, Massachusetts

We are independent restoration, repair, sales and service for Audi, BMW, Bentley, Jaguar, Land Rover, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche and Rolls-Royce automobiles.

Bentley archives

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Intro and Index to Bentley and Rolls-Royce articles

I'm John Robison, a Bentley and Crewe-built Rolls-Royce enthusiast and restorer from Springfield, Massachusetts.  Welcome to my company's car blog, which covers all sorts of auto issues with respect to the cars we service.  If you're looking for the latest articles you will find them here, at the blog home.  If you have come in search of Rolls-Royce and Bentley specific content, this page contains an index.

Note:  In this blog and elsewhere, the phrase "Crewe-built Rolls-Royce" refers to Rolls-Royce motorcars built in the original Crewe works, before the Rolls-Royce name was bought by BMW, and auto production was moved to a new plant at Goodwood.  Those cars are called "Goodwood Rolls-Royce."  Bentley motorcars continue to be built at the Crewe plant, which is now owned by Volkswagen.

Disclaimer: I am a technical consultant for the American Rolls-Royce and Bentley owner's club.  I am not employed by Bentley or Rolls-Royce.  All opinions expressed here are my own, and may not reflect the views of the club or either carmaker.  All content offered as is.  Always consult a qualified professional for opinions relating to your specific car.

Here are some post-VW Bentley related essays:
Changing brake fluid in Bentley GT and newer cars (Nov 17)
Air suspension on Bentley GT and Flying Spur cars (Sep 17)
Maintenance issues on Bentley GT era cars  (Jun 17)
Things to look for when buying a Bentley GT  (Mar 17)

Bentley and Rolls-Royce - yesterday and tomorrow  (Jan 17)

Essays on older cars:

Thoughts on buying a used Rolls Royce or Bentley - applies to Silver Cloud and newer series cars
More thoughts on Spur - Spirit - Turbo era car buying
Thoughts on restoration - applies to all cars
Evolution of the RR/B models - Silver Shadow through Arnage/Seraph - original article from the Robison Service website
Inspecting a Rolls Royce or Bentley - Applies to Corniche, Continental, Azure, Turbo R, Mulsanne, Eight, Turbo R, Silver Spur, Silver Dawn, Silver Spirit
More Things to Look For in a 1981-2000 Rolls Royce or Bentley - this is the original article from the Robison Service website
The last Crewe built Rolls Royce and Bentley convertibles - applies to 2000-2002 final Series Corniche
Repairing convertible top hydraulics - Applies to 1996-2004 Rolls Royce and Bentley Corniche and Azure cars
Head gasket failures in Bentley Turbo cars - applies to Turbo R, Continental R and T, Azure, Arnage
Checking engines after head gasket failure - Applies to all cars
Checking and inspecting Crewe hydraulic systems - all cars after Silver Cloud and print to Silver Seraph. Applies to all Shadow/Spur era vehicles
Case Study - brake failure in a Shadow - Silver Shadow era cars with RR363
Rear suspension gas springs - Applies to all 1981 - 1999 cars prior to Silver Seraph
Changing batteries in seat and ECUs, Applies to 1980s-1990s Silver Spirit / Silver Spur / Mulsanne /Eight / Turbo R
Changing alarm ECU batteries,  Applies to 1980s-1990s Silver Spirit / Silver Spur / Mulsanne /Eight / Turbo R
Servicing Bentley T/Shadow and Mulsanne/Spur series brakes - applies to 1966 - 1999 cars after Silver Cloud and prior to Silver Seraph
Alcon racing brakes for Continental and Azure - Applies to all 1990s cars but most particularly to the final series Azure, which had these brakes fitted at the factory - a unique variant
Fixing Power Steering Leaks - applies to 90s cars with the reservoir above the alternator
Questions and answers on collector car storage - Applies to all cars
Evaluating paint - Applies to all cars

About us:

I’ve always had a love of machines, starting with the tractors and implements on my grandparent’s farm in Georgia.  As I got a older my grandfather let me tinker with cars also.  He bought some fine examples to enthrall any young motorhead – Bentley and Rolls-Royce sedans, a Porsche coupe, and big cruisers from Buick and Cadillac.

Those were the cars I learned to drive in, and in doing so, broke some of them beyond my teenage ability to repair. All through the 1970s I was an amateur mechanic except for a brief stint as the “electronics guy” at a Buick-Cadillac dealership in Massachusetts.  Then I got into music, and I went on the road with a series of bands.  Some musicians liked American iron, while others preferred European luxury.  I got a taste of both during my time on the road.

By the early 80s I was working in industrial electronics and fixing up and selling European cars in my spare time. Everything changed when I took a chance and bought a three-year-old Mercedes that had been traded to a local dealer.  Seeing an opportunity I began buying and selling late model European cars and I got to know the staffs at many New England dealers.  One of the places I called on regularly was Foreign Motors West outside Boston.  They were the region’s largest dealer of Bentley and Rolls-Royce and I worked with them to remarket used vehicles.

Many of those cars needed fixing-up, and in those years I did a lot of that myself.  Bentley was just emerging from the shadow of its parent brand in those years and there was a lot of interest in their new models.  The new Mulsanne, Eight, and of course the Turbo R turned heads and generated a steady stream of Crewe-built trade ins.  Whenever I had troubles or questions I turned to Cal West, the regional service manager for RR/B.  He was always helpful and encouraging, and I learned quite a lot about then-current series vehicles.

I trained on the unique hydraulics, and the other mechanicals and accessories.  My experience in electronics and engineering were of great value there. Cosmetics were always an issue and I practiced caring for fine leather and woodwork. 

In the late 1980s I quit my last regular job in electronics and went into the automobile business full time.  Robison Service evolved into an independent business that cared for fine cars throughout New England.  Since 1996, our company has been on the grounds of the former Rolls-Royce factory in Springfield, MA. 

Today our complex consists of five buildings with more than 30 bays.  I’m still one of the Club’s technical consultants and I answer member questions almost daily.

I have always been socially awkward, and more comfortable among machines than around people.  Twenty years ago I learned that I am autistic, and that knowledge sparked an interest in helping other young people like me.  In 2007 I wrote a book on growing up – Look Me in the Eye, and over the next decade I followed that with three more titles.

Today my books are sold in 15 languages, in 70+ countries, and outside the auto community I’m more widely known for my writing than cars.  I’ve become an advocate for autistic people. I’m also a proponent of the idea that humanity needs neurological diversity, or neurodiversity. One expression of that is in the art we create restoring fine motorcars. 

A doctor who first characterized autism thought a touch was necessary for creative genius.  Today we know many artists, musicians, and engineers who are touched by autism. We make up about two percent of the population, which ironically is about the same percentage of the population whose standards lead them to Bentley motorcars. 

People come to the Robison Service complex in search of advice and job skills for autistic teens and young adults.  Four years ago we joined forces with a local nonprofit and set up a high school campus here in the complex.  Today our TCS Auto Program teaches life skills to teens with autism and other differences and emotional challenges from high schools all over Western Massachusetts.

Our students are proud to work on the fine cars entrusted to us by our clients.  And they do their own work as well.  This year they started building a vintage Bentley Continental to race the Carerra Pananmerica through Mexico.  Bentley Motors is supporting us in that venture, which you can follow online at  Our friends at are making a documentary film about the kids, the dream, the car and the race.  We hope you will join and support this great mission.

J E Robison Service and the Springfield Auto Complex are on Page Blvd in Springfield, MA

John Elder Robison is the general manager of J E Robison Service Company, independent restoration and Bosch Authorized Car Service specialists in Springfield, Massachusetts.  John is a longtime technical consultant to the Bentley, Land Rover, Porsche, and Rolls Royce Owner's Clubs, and he’s owned and restored many of these fine vehicles.  Find him online at or in the real world at 413-785-1665

(c) 2017 John Elder Robison all rights reserved

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