Our Cars : Mike’s Rover 214SLi – charging forward into 2014!
It’s been an interesting few weeks with the Rover, to be honest. Firstly, the damn thing nearly gets written off thanks to a Yummy Mummy driving in the middle of the road in her Ford Galaxy on a blind bend, causing me to run the car up a muddy bank into some hedgerows to avoid contact. Secondly, as a result of said kerfuffle (which caused her to write off her own car), the off-road incident tore open the outer CV gaiter and strained the joint that was already living on borrowed time resulting in another new driveshaft.
On a much happier note, following a new cam belt and a thorough service, its honestly never run better.
Well… it has and it hasn’t. Ever since I saved the old clunker from a certain death way back in 2009 it’s had a slightly noisy alternator. Owing to the fact its the original one as fitted from new I ignored the distant whirring and took the view that as long as it was kicking out the 65 Amps that Joseph Lucas intended it to, it was staying on the car. After 135,000 miles and almost 24 years, the alternator has now decided it needs to find a retirement ‘Ohm’ (pauses to groan), owing to the fact its become a bargain – or in other words free of charge.
Over the years, I have collected a tidy hoard of spare odds and ends including alternator regulator packs but taking into account its always been a little noisy, I took a short drive to my local breakers. The colossal site of GW Bridges & Co is possibly one of the biggest breakers yards in the UK – so big it is that there’s even public toilets, a well kitted-out tyre fitting bay, and a hole in the wall Cafeteria that opens on a Saturday. Forget Chessington World of Adventures and Thorpe Park – if you are looking for some capers of a spannering kind, the yard just off the M23/A23 junction is a great family day out!
With the missus in tow holding my trusted Rover Golf brolly on a dark dank rainy Saturday, we went to the ‘scrappie’ and wandered into the electrical store. Holding my piece of paper with all the relevant part numbers the chappie in the clean store with rack upon rack of tested and warranted used engine electrical bits and selected a clean looking alternator of a reputable brand that looked like new. After it was put into a test rig and loaded up with current, it passed with flying colours and was duly handed over. The price for all this efficiency? the agreeable sum of just £24.
Rain stopped play over the weekend, so I only managed to get it fitted the other day but what a difference its made. The headlights now work properly, rather than them emulating a pair of dying glow worms. You see, that’s the odd thing about bad batteries or ageing alternators – you don’t notice the deterioration until the car almost grinds to a halt. So now I have a fully serviced and cambelted old scrotter of a Rover that I can use with confidence whenever I choose. But the new year signals big changes ahead and the Rover 214 may well be part mothballed once more.
I have been offered a post with a company I worked with some years ago who sell used Commercials and Coaches, and with this market picking up quite nicely, I’ve decided to accept the request, and will be jumping back into the world of company car driving. That said, the Rover is very much a part of the family now, and I cannot think of any good reason to part with it. Besides which, the 2014 Pride of Longbridge event is not that far away and G776 RGC will be there for the first time since 2009. At least there is plenty of time to get the old girl looking part respectable.
All it leaves me to say is to concur with Keith’s Christmas sentiments and may all your dreams and Bangernomic wishes come true for 2014!
Moving on to Rover and then PSV / HGV, he has circumnavigated most departments of dealerships including parts, service and latterly - the showroom. Mike has owned all sorts of rubbish from Lada to Leyland and also holds both Heavy Goods & Public Service Vehicle licences, he buys & sells buses and coaches during the week. Mike runs his own automotive web site and writes for a number of motoring or commercial vehicle themed publications