The joys of Scrappage motoring

Keith Adams

Rover SD1 back from Poland, and looking just fine...

Rover SD1 back from Poland and looking just fine...

It’s been a funny old week and one that will go down in my life as a landmark really. Why? Well, in the space of a couple of days, no less than three Rovers have been added to fleet… by anyone’s standards, that’s impressive/stupid/obsessive enough to have the boys in the white coats coming round to take me for a ride in the back of their nice van.

Mind you, as regular readers will know, one of those cars is a most welcome addition. The white SD1 3500, freshly restored in Poland, is quite literally a magnificent beast and one that – I hope – will help affirm the breed’s position in the Classic Car Hall of Fame. It really does have everything: style, performance, practicality and, most importantly, condition. The paint quality is near flawless, the shell is agreeably rust free and waxed up to the hilt and the spec is just right. What’s not to like?

The four-day trailering epic to get the SD1 back here wasn’t one of the most enjoyable journeys of my life, but it certainly felt like we’d achieved something special by the time we’d got back – until, that is, the car started on the trailer and then promptly ran out of fuel, leaving me to push it quite a way in order to get it into the safety of my garage. Nice. Next time I’ll listen to Andrew Elphick when he suggests putting some fresh petrol in on the way back from Poland…

That’s one of the three Rovers.

The other two came to me from Hyundai Motor UK Limited of all places. The company had been running what it described as a fleet of ‘snotters’ in order to give the UK’s pampered motoring journalists something to drive by way of a comparison with its new cars. The message was clear – would you want a new Hyundai or one of its weather worn Rovers? That PR exercise had lasted a few months, but once the journos had done their bit in the Rover 200, Metro and Maestro, it was time to get rid. That’s, as you might have guessed, where I came in…

Yes, when Hyundai Motor UK’s PR Manager, Tom Barnard, approached me asking if I wanted to buy his Scrappage fleet, I found myself unable to refuse. My main reason for accepting Tom’s offer was because I could do with something usable for the winter to replace the Saab 9000 while it’s in storage for the winter. However, there’s another reason – I’ve been a strong opponent of the Scrappage Scheme, venting my opinions wherever anyone’s prepared to listen, and I thought it was time to put my money where my mouth is.

That’s why, last Friday, while I was on my way to Poland, the Metro 1.4LD and 214Si were delivered to the office and were, reportedly, greeted with knowing smiles by several of  my colleagues. Anyway, with the Poland epic now behind me, I’ve had a chance to drive both cars.

The 214Si came first and, although the badly dented driver’s door does it no favours visually, it actually drives amazingly well – so much so, that I kept checking the mileage – at 70,000 it feels as tight as a drum and brakes, stops and steers exactly as it should. The gearbox is slick, the seats are nice, the ergonomics and visibility are fine and performance willing. Given that this is being touted as a car to chop in under the Scrappage Scheme, I found this very sad indeed because, for me, it feels as easy to drive as any modern supermini and potentially has years ahead of it… or it would if it had a decent resale value.

Then there’s the Metro. Here’s a car that raised smiles in the car park and, if I am honest, isn’t great shakes to drive – and yet there’s some charm and character there. Fuel consumption will obviously be excellent and that small fuel tank has some psychological benefits, too, when it comes to filling up for £30 from empty.

I’ve already been offered a great deal on one of the cars, while the other will be staying throughout the winter, so that I can save as I drive. Here’s the funny thing, though: as much as I think the 214Si ticks the modern car boxes, it’s the Metro that stays on. Go and figure…

Either way, all three of my Rover stories are one in the eye for the Scrappage Scheme. The SD1, by all rights, should have been scrapped years ago, having cost me £200 to buy back in 2005, while the other two would be passed-over by most people for a) being old, and b) being Rovers but what do they know?

Two old Rovers, and one in the eye for Scrappage...

Two old Rovers and one in the eye for the Scrappage Scheme...

Posted in: AROnline Blogs
Keith Adams

About the Author:

Created www.austin-rover.co.uk in 2001 and built it to become the world's foremost reference source for all things BMC, Leyland and Rover Group, before renaming it AROnline in 2007. Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Clsssics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent... Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasable adventures all across Europe.

13 Comments on "The joys of Scrappage motoring"

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  1. Well done Keith, that 214 looks to be in great condition. I still can’t believe that people consider an R-reg car to be a scrapper. My everyday car is an R-reg and I still think I’m driving a new car everyday. I’ll be interested to know what MPG you get out of that Metro too. 70?

  2. Andrew Elphick says:

    70 mpg Neil? You would be a rolling chicane!

  3. Crapmeister Elite says:

    Brilliant. Not sure I understand why people want to throw away perfectly good cars, with extremely low running costs, and replace with new cars with massive financial overheads. It cannot make economic sense for any individual, particularly in these times.

    After all, as is so often pointed out on this website, the car is the second biggest investment that people make so surely, in these times of recession, people should concentrate on keeping a roof over their heads, rather than throwing money down the drain on depreciation. It doesn’t make sense to me or, I suspect, many others on this site.

    Westside!

  4. James Anness says:

    Given the choice, I’d go for an old Metro, Maestro or Rover 200 over any brand new Hyundai or similar Far-Eastern shopping box. As it stands, I’m going to stick with my H-reg Volvo 740 estate (technically eligible for the Scrappage Scheme but it’s not going anywhere) and my P-reg Volvo V70 (which the only previous owner didn’t need but liked far too much to let die under the Scrappage Scheme).

  5. Tim_Burgess Tim Burgess says:

    Good on you Keith. Srappage sucks!

    I totally see the logic behind keeping the Metro – it’s going to cost next to nothing to run and, when you’ve finished with it, I’m sure there will be plenty of people willing to take it off your hands.

    I just do not see the logic of scrapping perfectly good and legal vehicles when there are so many uninsured, untaxed and un-MOT’d piles of junk on our roads.

    Surely the incentive would have been better targeted if it got the illegal vehicles off the streets first rather than providing a discount for comfortably off people to chop in a perfectly good car and get another 2 grand off a car they would probably have bought anyway.

    What are 17 year olds going to buy as first cars if this arrant stupidity carries on?

  6. Jonny Combe says:

    The world has gone mad. The other day we had a Triumph Mayflower in for scrappage.

  7. Will says:

    @Jonny Combe

    Is that the BMW Dealership in Scotland that scrapped the Mayflower?

    My office is down the road from a large metal recycling plant by the docks and I often see old Vauxhalls, Fords etc. unceremoniously stacked up on the back of a flatbed ready for their final doom.

    However, I was depressed today to see what looked like a good condition Morris Minor on the back of one of the lorries, no wheels, to be made into girders to build trendy flats. Someone has scrapped this classic after all those years, no doubt to buy a Kia c’eed or something. My mostly-new VAG-driving colleagues didn’t seem to care, which was also saddening.

    My daily driver? An Alfa GTV on R-reg (import from GB) plates 🙂

  8. James Anness says:

    @Will
    On a related note, from my local rag’s website:

    http://www.echo-news.co.uk/news/4713160.I_couldn___t_send_Moggie_Minor_to_the_scrapyard/

    Good to see that one interesting car has escaped the clutches of Crappage, at least 🙂

  9. Will says:

    @James Anness

    “Mr Cook put up £1,000 of the £2,000 the customer would have got under the scheme, and Hyundai made up the difference.”

    Credit where credit is due! Kudos to Mr Cook and Hyundai for at least saving a classic and Hyundai for selling Keith two serviceable Rovers instead of relentlessly destroying everything that comes in on the Scrappage Scheme.

  10. David says:

    @Will

    Maybe, but you can’t help feel anger towards Hyundai for centering nearly all of their PR on Rovers and not other makes of similar vintage. Such a PR campaign actually makes me more determined not to support the Korean economy or Hyundai employees, but instead stick with an older (and usually more stylish) Rover. A recent article by one of those so-called motoring syndicate writers that appear in the regional dailys, was very dismissive of the R3 Rover 200 saying it never came with features such as air conditioning or a CD player. What did she expect, the car she was driving was an abused entry level model from 1996 with no options specified. But she didn’t acknowledge this, just used the opportunity to put her boot into that great old British tradition of kicking Rover.

  11. Tony says:

    Hi,
    Just to prove the point again, a Marina, which featured on here as a ‘Car of the Month’ not so long ago, was scrapped a week or two ago.

    It was still in PERFECT condition and has had our lads on the Marina forum up in arms! Crying shame. We, in fact, reckon it was probably worth MORE than the Scrappage Allowance…

  12. Graham says:

    I would be interested to know how the Journalists who drove the 200 felt it compared with the current Hyundai’s.

    The 200 was always a nice drive, representing – like the Peugeot 306, 106, Saxo etc. – a high point in the driveablity of the Eurobox before the NCAP requirements forced the manufacturers to pile on the pounds.

  13. David says:

    Where has my previous comment gone about the Hyundai Press Office using only old Rovers to compare against the latest Hyundai offerings, to promote motorists into ‘joys’ of the scrappage scheme?, Also, about the poor responses received to the old Rovers from syndicate motoring writers who were loaned them in a condition that could hardly be described as average condition? Surely suppression of comment isn’t prevelant, is it?

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