Saw a shocking sight this morning. A Rover 75 on the hard shoulder of the M1, bemused owner, stood outside obviously waiting for the AA to turn up and put things right…
Knowing modern cars, this means the car will be going home on the back of a flatbed, and the owner will be taking up the AA’s Smart car offer.
And that got me thinking. When was the last time I had seen a 75 or MG ZT broken down at the roadside? I racked my brains for a moment and realized that I never actually had. Yes, during the last three or four years of being really Rover-aware, I am pretty sure that I have never seen a broken down 75/ZT. So, what about all these stories of blown head gaskets, then? Well, obviously, these failures cannot be as widespread as the press like to make out. Either that, or a HGF-affected 75 is still completely driveable…
So, we can ascertain that Rover’s finest is not an unreliable car. Or perhaps, more correctly, from my very subjective experience, it does not tend to blow up on the side of the motorway. Which as anyone who has suffered a motorway stoppage will tell you, is a very good thing…
So is Rover’s average reputation
for reliability an urban myth,
then? From my experience,
So is Rover’s average reputation for reliability an urban myth, then? From my experience, absolutely. Taking this idea one step forward, one starts to take more notice of stricken “premium” cars on the side of the road. Start looking for them, and they are easy to spot: the sight of an immobile BMW 3-Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class is not an uncommon one, by any means. Passats and Audis seem similarly fickle. The same cannot be said for Honda, Toyota or Nissan, though.
Draw your own conclusions from that…
Whilst on holiday, I also saw another Rover-related first: a 75 towing a caravan!. God knows where the the notion that the 75 and caravan ownership are mutually exclusive… perhaps it is an expectation borne out of the public’s perception of the image of both groups of owners. It just shows how wrong these perceptions can be.
Either way, it is bad news for Rover. Because once a marque gains a negative image, it is bloody hard to shift.
Still, there is hope. MGs do not suffer from the same fate, and if the MGR can turn around this marque’s image (remember what Joe Public thought of the MG Maestro?), then surely the same can be done for Rover. It might take the RD/X60 to effect a major image shift… but it must be done. Thankfully, looking at AUTOCAR‘s Photoshopped images published this week, the product looks more than strong enough. Which is good, because Rover’s future depends on it.
Oh, and incidentally, when I took a second glance at the stricken 75, something really simple had immobilised it: a flat tyre.
So my faith in the 75 remains intact…
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.
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