Car of the Month : March 2005

Richard Jessett is in the fortunate position of owning a very late and tidy silver Rover Tomcat Coupe. Being a late model, it sports the R3-style dashboard, and the VVC K-Series engine used in the MGF. Being so nice, it seemed rude not to make this our car of the month…

Richard tells the car’s story in his own words…

It is a 1998 Rover Coupe 1.8vvc which I have owned since October 2003. I purchased it at 55000 miles, from an independent garage in Wiltshire, since then I have put on an extra 8000 miles. It is currently my daily driver, having no space for a second car! My aim is to keep it:

a) as original as possible and
b) as ‘A1’ as possible
c) as a future classic

I see no reason to change from this car, and im sure it will just be supplemented (with another BL/Rover product) rather than replaced when space allows.

The only changes to the car from standard, are the body-coloured rubbing strips (done by a previous owner) and MGF Interior Mirror (I was fed up with the lack of map reading light in the front since the standard interior only seems to light up the back!). I also have changed the radio to a CD, but have all the originals’ so could be made as standard. The engine bay is virtually spotless. It just needs a simple wiping over when I get time! There are no marks on the body work, expect a ‘slight’ dent on the bonnet, caused by ‘some yobs’ outside of my house late on a Friday night.

The interior is the standard beige half-leather. The only signs of wear is on the drivers seat, which is very minor. It has given me no problems, except a few ‘minor’ wear and tear items you would start to expect on frequently used cars, such as tyres, CAT, and a new Starter (which was covered under warranty). The car was first registered in 1998, and the supplying dealer was an ‘Axial Technical Services’, based near Chipping Warden, Banbury. I have never heard of this company, however, I have noticed a lot of other VVC Coupe’s in my Area (Just outside Oxford) with similar registrations. I would be quite interested if anyone knows any history on the car.

I find the car excellent to drive, there always seems to be power when you need it, and the handling is superb. I can’t say that I have driven that many other cars to compare it to. I had a Mk3 220D beforehand, which I has very always impressed with. The only thing I find with the Coupe, after the 200 is the hard/bumpy ride (which I would expect from a sports-focused car) This would be OK, if Oxfordshire County Council could maintain the roads to an acceptable standard!

Keith Adams

About the Author:

Created in 2001 and watched it steadily grow into AROnline. Is the Editor of Classic Car Weekly, and has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, Classic Car Weekly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, and the the Motoring Independent... Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasable adventures all across Europe.

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