Spent Sunday in a field. Well, it was that or go to Silverstone. As it happens, things worked out OK, but given McLaren’s re-emergence as a fighting force in F1, part of me wished I’d trekked out to the airfield near Towcester. Maybe next year, eh?
So why was I in a field. There’s not much of interest to see there, after all. Au contraire, if that field is full of a huge number of Rovers dating from 1904 to the current day. Yesterday, Ragley Hall played host to the Rover Sports Register‘s annual get together. The event was sponsored by MG Rover (unlike this website), and as a result of massive pre-event publicity meant that the turn-out was fantastic.
Like all of these “club” events, the cars on display were sectioned off into classes, and as a result, P1s, P2s, P3s etc., ended up parked together. This resulted in some mouth-watering displays, which were enough to warm the cockles of my heart. The sight of over thirty P5s and P5Bs together was almost too much to bear. The same could also be said of the P6s… gorgeous one and all. Sadly, beyond the P6s, things seemed to go a little awry.
When I booked in, I was asked to choose the class I would be entering in: looking down the list, things seemed logical to begin with, but I must admit that as I neared the bottom of the list, my heart sank. Why? Group 12 (my group) was to comprise of the following cars: Rover SD1, 200, 400, 600, 800. After the symmetry of the earlier groups, this seemed more than a little silly.
The sight of more than 30 P5s and P5Bs together
was almost too much to bear. The same could
also be said of the P6s…
gorgeous one and all.
So, next door to the line-up of P6s, there was a complete mish-mash of models, which was not only not that visually appealing, but gave the impression that MGR or the RSR do not really give a damn about the newer cars (which I know not to be the case). it also meant that the lineup of 80s and 90s cars was overly long. Why the SD1s didn’t deserve their own aisle/row (call it what you will), I will never know. MGR’s official line-up of historical cars didn’t even have one. Encouragingly, it did have a 1989 214GSi (with the wrong wheeltrims), which means that the company has not entirely washed its hands of its Anglo-Japanese heritage.
This is a minor gripe, actually, and it was really a very, very good day – and an encouraging sign that there are still plenty of people out there that care about Rover and its future propspects. Also, that MGR became involved in this club event at a corporatre level was a very encouraging sign. The new V8 version of the 75 aroused massive interest, and it was perfectly possible to see that some of the more well-heeled attendees were looking at this as a serious purchasing proposition.
Personally, I loved the mixed nature of the attendees: young enthusiasts with their tuned-up 200s rubbed shoulders with older gentlemen and their pre-War models. One moment, I was discussing the technical merits of converting a 420 Tourer into a Turbo Tourer, the next I was chatting to a guy that used to lunch with David Bache at Solihull. Brilliant stuff.
At the end of the day, we staged an impromptu photoshoot of all the 800 Coupes at the event (eight of them!), which made for a gratifying sight at my end. The fact that several of the cars owners had heard of www.austin-rover.co.uk was also extremely pleasing. The word is getting out…
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.