All change, and work to do

Keith Adams 

NSU Ro80 has sprung a leak
NSU Ro80 has sprung a leak

With the worst of the post-Christmas blues a distant memory, it’s time to start getting my fleet ready for a summer of driving and enjoying. When I parked up the Polski-Rover SD1 for its winter break, it was with a blowing exhaust and floppy gear knob – and, instead of fixing them, I left the car alone. 

Never good but, fortunately, my good mate Mike Humble – ex-Rover engineer and all-round good egg – offered to put these issues right for me in exchange for a few days’ run in it. Mike does, of course, live 200 miles away, but that’s not really a problem in the Rover, NASCAR exhaust note or not. 

Anyway, one cold Saturday, I fired up the beast (after warning the neighbours) and headed for Sussex. The problem with the exhaust is a familiar one – the thread on the manifold where the down pipe connects to it has stripped. The manifold needs removing and re-tapping and, while Mike’s at it, he’s going to repair the base of the gear stick, where a poorly designed mounting bracket has failed. Does anyone have a spare knocking around? 

I also used the weekend to spend some time on the NSU Ro80. It’s a fantastic car to drive and, now I’m used to the buzzy engine note, I’m enjoying my time with this German oddity. It’s an incredibly clever design and, to me at least, it still looks fresh. However, its cooling system has a problem. Looking at the leak coming from the water pump housing and settling on the ground, I’d say that it has seized – but, before I pull everything apart, I’m going to have to find one… wish me luck!

Keith Adams

Keith Adams

Editor and creator AROnline at AROnline
Created in 2001 and built it up 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 Classics 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 unfeasible adventures all across Europe.
Keith Adams


  1. The NSU Ro80 was ahead of its time.

    I remember seeing one at the Transport Museum in the late 1980s and thinking it looked contemporary – like an early Vauxhall Carlton.

  2. You could always try what Australian owners apparently often do – swop the engine for a Mazda RX7 rotary unit. I suppose that’s better than the old Ford V4 conversion…

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