Requiem to a Rover
‘The time has come,’ the tester said,
‘To talk of many things:
Of rust — and brakes — and vehicle-tax—
Of bushes — and of springs —
And why it failed the flaming MoT —
And various other dings.’
Apologies to Lewis Carroll
Unfortunately, my poor Rover has failed the MoT test again – last year it was a borderline decision as to whether it was worth the cost of putting it through, so I went for the devil I knew and got another year’s happy motoring.
This time it’s rather more serious – though there is nothing seriously wrong, the cost of the garage’s time for all the little things combined is just too much so, reluctantly, I will have to take it off the road. It’s not the end though, as it will be going to a good home (one it could drive to itself I expect!). A few (awkward) welds, a couple of bushes and the rear brakes rebuilt and it’ll be good to go.
Overall the car has been great. The Honda twin cam is sweet, though I personally think something lower revving would suit the leather and wood interior better – as a fast cruiser that can corner quite well. I’ve done a couple of 400+ mile trips in comfort and without it missing a beat. That said, it’s fun when the noise boys with all their bells and whistles try and take it at the lights or on some of the ‘interesting’ A- and B-Roads common to this part of the country.
What has surprised me is the sheer number of Rovers with this body-shape on the road around here – all of the colours in all of the sizes, as Beattie used to say. (Those who don’t know what I mean are too young!) Green and red are top, as are the 1.4-litre engines. I know you notice specific models more when you own one but, all the same, I see two or three at least every day I’m out. (Which is quite a lot for a small country town). We know what’s good for us!
Would I have another? Yes – for a relatively small car, it will seat four adults in the light and spacious cabin, you can get two large shopping trolleys worth of groceries in the boot, which opens wide enough and is low enough to collect your new washing machine – tried and tested – and, depending on the trim level, lots of electric things. Sunroof, mirrors, windows, wired for heated seats (could have done with those this winter – cold leather seat meets warm derrière is no laughing matter).
The heater pumps warm long before the engine temperature even acknowledges you’ve been driving for ten minutes. The lights are obviously old, dip is good for about 40mph, but the separate main beams are literally brilliant. A good road at night and you can easily drive at the speed limit. The power steering is a little heavy in the car park, but just right as the speed rises, not too light once you get up to quite fast… I never took it to the max, as I am sympathetic to its age and the fact it has done well over 120k miles. Things start to shake a bit, but I can confirm it’s still damn quick.
All in all, a great car – one which just shows we could get it right when we put our minds to it.
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.