AROnline Blogs

We’ve been commenting on the motoring scene – and, sometimes, a little bit more, since June 2004. Read what’s on the minds of AROnline’s Contributors and see if you agree with them – as always, blogs are opinion pieces and don’t always refect the editorial stance of the site.

Blog : Mike meets Mann at the Practical Classics Restoration Show…

Blog : Mike meets Mann at the Practical Classics Restoration Show…

Mike Humble As often happens at many events, you tend to bump into a few people as you mooch around the displays and barely get anything done – this certainly proved to be the case last year when I was at the NEC. I actually enjoyed my visit to the Practical Classics Restoration Show this time and wore a more […]

Raise a glass… to 40 years of the Leyland Princess

Raise a glass… to 40 years of the Leyland Princess

The wonderful wedge has just turned 40 and Mike Humble ponders for moment to reflect on one of British Leyland’s less talked about cars – the Leyland Princess… Charge your glasses folks… for its birthday time again. This week saw the launch of the Princess range back in 1975 – this was another Harris Mann-styled car but one which, at least, stayed pretty […]

Blog : Clarkson – has the BBC Terminator reached its Judgment Day?

Blog : Clarkson – has the BBC Terminator reached its Judgment Day?

Mike Humble Well, is today the judgment day as reported news arrives that J.C has been ordered to F.O. So does this come as a shock and as surprise? Well, not really in all fairness though I’m sure the case hardened Top Gear fans will argue otherwise. In a personal experience, I once had a […]

eBay find of the Week : 22k Rover 216 Vitesse

eBay find of the Week : 22k Rover 216 Vitesse

Craig Cheetham If it weren’t for time, space and money, I’d have probably bought at least 50 cars already this year (I also say that every year, but hey). Irrespective of that, this one’s a bit special. According to howmanyleft.co.uk, there were only 18 Rover 216 Vitesse EFis still registered in the UK by the end of […]

Blog : Friends, neighbours and endless favours

Blog : Friends, neighbours and endless favours

Mike Humble Back in the time when I lived about 100 miles or so north of here, I used to be actively involved with Hospital Radio and also did a spot of co-presenting on the local “Beeb” in my spare time. At the BBC Three Counties Radio station at Luton, we once organised a live on air […]

Memory Lane : A visit to W.H. Brand, Lincolnshire

Memory Lane : A visit to W.H. Brand, Lincolnshire

Craig Cheetham A tiny village in the middle of the Fens might not seem the obvious place to find a thriving car dealership, but for the last 90 years the Brand family have been busily selling, servicing and maintaining huge numbers of cars from the local area, with a business built-up through trust, word of […]

Around the world : Australia’s Rover 416i – ‘Everything you ever wanted in a car’

Around the world : Australia’s Rover 416i – ‘Everything you ever wanted in a car’

Craig Cheetham Much has been written on AROnline about the collaboration between Rover and Honda and the cars which that generated – indeed, the vast majority of those have a huge following amongst our readers. However, one of the lesser known offspring from the alliance is the Australian-market Rover 416i, sold from 1985 until late 1989 – a whole four years of sales before […]

Blog : Clarkson – has he really done it this time?

Blog : Clarkson – has he really done it this time?

Mike Humble Jeremy Clarkson, what are we going to do? Usually, when Doncaster’s finest bigmouth says something out of turn or controversial, he gets a smack on the bum and told to be a good boy in future. This time, I feel he is really sitting on a knife edge and the BBC publicity machine […]

Car of the Month : Adrian Clark’s MG6 S

Car of the Month : Adrian Clark’s MG6 S

Marmite, personified by a car. That will be the MG6 then… I’m well aware that the car has its detractors, but I’d wanted one since I went along to a VIP Test Drive day at the Prodrive track. I was amazed how the car handled, so much so I felt sorry for the next people who […]

eBay Find of the Week : Rover 45 with less than 2k miles on the clock…

eBay Find of the Week : Rover 45 with less than 2k miles on the clock…

Craig Cheetham Thanks to AROnline reader Matthew Cooper for finding this one… The better part of £2,600 might seem like quite a lot of cash for a 12-year old Rover 45, especially when there are hundreds of half-decent examples still knocking around for between £500 and £1,000 (Indeed, as an aside, has anyone else noticed […]

Technician’s Update : Tiger Tiger in the night, there’s a problem with your lights

Technician’s Update : Tiger Tiger in the night, there’s a problem with your lights

Mike Humble When I was just a slip of a young man, I got completely fed up with working on cars in a dealership Monday to Friday 8.30 to 5.30 with the odd Saturday morning thrown in for good measure. A fellow apprentice had recently left, but we kept in touch socially and one night […]

Our Cars : Mike’s Rover 75 – how I hate shoe shopping!

Our Cars : Mike’s Rover 75 – how I hate shoe shopping!

Mike Humble What is it with later Rovers and their damn handbrakes? The 6/800 series had notoriously poor handbrakes which sometimes barely stopped them rolling away on a billiard-table smooth and level road while certain HHR or R8 models with rear discs weren’t much better either. At best with the aforementioned cars, the park brake would be only just adequate […]

eBay Find of the Week : Blueprints to make your own Metro

eBay Find of the Week : Blueprints to make your own Metro

Craig Cheetham A collection of rare engineering blueprints for all generations of the Austin-Rover Metro, plus its stillborn Indonesian spin-off and a proposed Zagato-styled saloon variant of the Rover 100, have appeared for sale on eBay. The collection, which is being offered for sale by a classic car specialist in Birmingham, allegedly contains enough information to […]

Essay : Cummins in the UK – Darlington celebrates 50 years

Essay : Cummins in the UK – Darlington celebrates 50 years

Despite all the historical trauma of Leyland, our sole remaining builder of trucks is in American ownership but still producing plenty of vehicles for the home market and for export at the factory in Leyland, Lancashire. Its major component supplier is Cummins, which is also US owned. Now in its fiftieth year in the UK, Cummins’ current engine facility in […]

By 25 February 2015 16 Comments Read More →
Sales Talk : Text and Internet time-wasters

Sales Talk : Text and Internet time-wasters

Mike Humble A prospect, in showroom speak, is the term for a customer who is potentially interested in a vehicle for sale. Regardless of this happening in an actual dealership or showroom, it makes no difference – if your phone rings from the result of a small ad or internet listing that still counts as a prospect. […]

By 21 February 2015 19 Comments Read More →
Our Cars : Craig’s ‘new’ Rover 800 Fastback…

Our Cars : Craig’s ‘new’ Rover 800 Fastback…

Craig Cheetham Okay, it’s confession time… Back in the summer, when I picked up the reins of AROnline from the legend that is Keith Adams, one of the first stories I covered was the imminent appearance at Anglia Car Auctions of an ultra-rare low-mileage Rover 820e – almost, but not quite, the base of base […]

First Drive : Jaguar F-Type R Coupe

First Drive : Jaguar F-Type R Coupe

Mike Humble A wannabe E-type or a modern day XJ-S were just some of the comments that were banded around in my earshot when sampling the top of the range Jaguar F-Type Coupe. As you may remember, we experienced the 3.0 supercharged “S” back in the summer and came away feeling impressed and proud to […]

By 18 February 2015 12 Comments Read More →
Essay : Metrocab – back from the dead?

Essay : Metrocab – back from the dead?

Craig Cheetham I’ll never forget the ridiculous level of excitement I felt, back in 1987, when I rode in a Metrocab for the first time… My home town, Stockport, was one of a handful of provincial towns in the UK where ‘London’ taxis operated on the town ranks, which to a car nut was a […]

Blog : Driverless cars – the beginning of the end?

Blog : Driverless cars – the beginning of the end?

1984 and all that… Craig Cheetham Much has been made in the news this week about the advent of driverless cars, following the announcement that the UK is the first European country to give the green light to the testing of such technologies on the public roads. In terms of Britain’s engineering and technological expertise, […]

eBay Find of the Week : Low-mileage, late 400

eBay Find of the Week : Low-mileage, late 400

Craig Cheetham A bit of an anomaly, this one, being an R8-shape 416 on an N-plate. Given that the HH-R 400 Series debuted as an M-reg, it’s clearly one of the last (and, arguably, a far better car, but that’s a topic for a different day). Nevertheless, good R8s are getting thinner and thinner in […]