Car of the Month : August 2005

Rover 100 Cabriolets are a rare enough sight these days, even in the UK, but here’s one of the few that found their way to Germany…

Réal Heuertz, a Canadian-Luxembourg citizen based in Frankfurt, is a keen BMC>Rover enthusiast and owner of the 114 Cabriolet you see here. As Réal himself explains…


LET me introduce you to my personal “baby”, a Rover 114 Cabriolet in Diamond White, pepped up with reddish details. I can’t explain why, but I have been a fan of this car since its launch, and still have all the publicity material I’ve collected since then. After years of hesitating and an intensive search for about six months on the internet, I finally found mine . Needless to say, that this wasn’t an easy task since only a handful were imported to Germany in 1995 and 1996 (facelifted ones) and as you can imagine, even fewer have survived…

Originally, I was looking after one of the final facelifted series. During the months of searching, I actually found two: one in red, the other in British Racing Green, but both were in rather sad condition, missing important parts like the hood cover and being desperately rotten, especially around the wheel arches.

I almost gave up all hope of ever driving my “dream car” when I finally found mine, one of the initial series, on the Internet. It was advertised as being a one-lady-owner car with low mileage (77,000 km) and in superb condition with no parts missing. The asking price was 1,990 Euros. I did not hesitate a second and made an immediate payment to secure the car. I flew to Hamburg to pick it up, but my first view showed that the condition was far from superb. Although it was not hopeless – at least, no important parts were missing – there were, of course, the rotten wheel arches and an interior which smelt like an ash tray, with big burn holes on both seats covered with an awful grey cloth… grrrrr. All the mechanicals were sound, though, and it had a newly fitted exhaust pipe; apparently the lady took much more care of the mechanical parts than the interior…

Since then, I have invested a considerable amount (6650 Euros) in the bodywork, with new sills, wheel arches and a two-thirds respray, all documented in an illustrated folder. The last step to perfection was the renewal of the interior with grey and red leather seats, door covers and carpets, matching perfectly with the grey colour of the dashboard and the red side stripes, at a cost of no less than 3560 Euros…

I am in the lucky situation that one of the mechanics at the local MG Rover dealer very familiar with the car – he drove a 114Gti for 14 years, and the car is still in his family’s possession – and he has told me that mine is in very sound condition. The proof is that a couple of weeks ago we drove it to France for the Formula 1 Grand Prix in Magny Cours, without any trouble and with tons of fun!

 

Keith Adams

About the Author:

Created www.austin-rover.co.uk 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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