Blog : They’re all coming out of the woodwork…

Low mileage Metro that's currently on eBay - as loads of cherished Nineties classics come out of the woodwork...
Low mileage Metro that’s currently on eBay – as loads of cherished Nineties classics come out of the woodwork…

Maybe it’s an age thing, maybe it’s the eBay fuelled ‘barn-find’ phenomenon, but, all of a sudden, there seems to be a huge increase in the number of extremely low-mileage Eighties and Nineties A-R cars on the market.

The reality, alas, is probably tinged with sadness, as a great many of these cars are emerging from the garages of suburban detached houses where the previous owner has either retired from driving, moved into sheltered accommodation or passed away – much in the same way, I guess, that there was a glut of late Seventies and early Eighties low mileage classics on eBay a decade ago.

Anglia Car Auctions' Rover 820e went for £950 - a few years ago it would have barely raised an eyebrow.
Anglia Car Auctions’ Rover 820e went for £950 – a few years ago it would have barely raised an eyebrow


Keeping Up Appearances very nicely after 25 years...
Keeping Up Appearances very nicely after 25 years…

So, following the interest shown in the Mk1 Rover 820e at Anglia Car Auctions the other week (have we heard the last of that, I wonder?), and the 5,750 mile SD3 I stumbled upon at the Tatton Park Classic Car Show the other week, here are a couple of the latest low mileage finds that have suddenly hit the market…

In Keighley, West Yorkshire, a Mercedes specialist appears to have what must be the lowest mileage remaining 600 – an L-plate 620 GSi with a recorded mileage of just 3,700. He hasn’t mentioned a price yet, and I’m intrigued to know what kind of ‘preparation’ it’s awaiting, though I wouldn’t be surprised if – even with barely any road use – it may need some remedial attention to the rear arches. Or am I being a cynic?

Where will this one end up?
Where will this one end up?

Then there’s good old eBay itself, source of many a dubious advert. These two, though, have really caught my eye…

First up, is this R17 800, which would make the perfect companion to the 38,000-mile XX sold at Anglia the other week, should the owner have the space and funds…

Are there any lower mileage 800s out there? This 820 Auto has covered just 16,000 from new.
Are there any lower mileage 800s out there? This 820 Auto has covered just 16,000 from new…

Pretty ordinary in spec terms, and victim of some of Rover’s late model cost-cutting initiatives, but where else are you going to find an 800 Fastback with only 16,000 miles on the clock? Let’s just hope this one finds its way into preservation rather than becoming someone’s cheap transport for a winter or two.

Or what about the Metro Rio featured above?

There aren't many Mk 2 Metros that appear to be this solid...
There aren’t many Mk 2 Metros that appear to be this solid…

Round-nose Rover Metros are still seen as disposable by so many, even though interest in the earlier flat fronted Austin and pre K-Series models has perked up somewhat in recent years. It won’t be long, though, before they’re pretty much all gone – indeed, near extinction is already upon them, making this 36,000 mile, garaged-from-new example all the more worthy of salvation. At £650, it’s not a massive investment…

Meanwhile, keep your eyes peeled as there’ll be more over the coming weeks, I’m certain. And if you don’t get one now, they’ll all be gone. If you look at how prices of Seventies cars have risen over the past 4-5 years, cheap cars of this era will only be around for a finite amount of time. And I, for one, don’t know what I’ll be into next!

Craig Cheetham


  1. A quick trip to (given up with the ridiculously lethargic autotrader site), selecting Rover all models and then mileage upto 10,000 miles reveals lots of potentially interesting cars.

  2. Hello all

    Very interesting article. WE have all seen this. I saw the other day a very late Montego Countryman estate 1995 on a M reg. You don’t see any saloons also as seen on here the Rover 75 is on the danger list especially the Cowley cars especially the 1.8 petrol. Its a shame because this is all a social history of the UK. I real shame I fear. Buy it drive it Chuck it that’s the norm these days. I am keeping my 75 for a very long time beautiful car.

  3. I think these Austin rover products are starting to be sort after now-at long last-years have passed where they were looked upon as throw away cars. You only have to look at the marina TC coupes-even the rough ones are being sold at a couple of grand, minters are fetching up to 8 grand. A few years ago you could hardly give them away. That s probably what it takes, when cars left are in to double figure numbers and everyone looks back with rose coloured spectacles. Me, any mg rover products I purchase in future will not be used as my main car, but will be cherished and used occasionally-simply because they will become so rare. I have 2 mg s and a rover currently and use a ford as an everyday car.

  4. Yes the timing fits. A lot of these will have been bought as “retirement presents” 20 odd years ago, rarely used and are now coming on the market as their owners will be well into their Eighties.

  5. It would be good if that as-new, early, Rover 600 could be snapped up by the Heritage Motor Museum at Gaydon for us all to enjoy.

  6. Surely the Rover era Metro is a more desirable car than the Austin one, with better quality, more refinement and a very practical diesel option. I know I have a soft spot for the Austin Metro, as it saved British Leyland and was good for the time, but the Rover variety turned an ageing car into a desirable one for a few years. Also a five speed supermini that in diesel form can return 60 mpg isn’t that far removed from something like a Citroen C1.

  7. The upward crawl out of banger valley and into classicdom has begun for 80s/90s AR products.

    Good to see, I look forward to reminiscing at future classic car events.

  8. I’ve also seen a lot of near perfect 1980’s vehicles of all makes and models cropping up on ‘car & classic’ but in Ireland and Northern Ireland. Any idea why there would be so many pristine Escorts, Cavaliers or assorted Japanese runabouts across the water, given that the climate is hardly Southern Spain?

    • I preferred the early 820e fastback for £950, although I’d probably want a nicer colour than hearing aid beige!

      • The official name for that colour – introduced in October 1988 for the 1989 Model Year – is Oyster Beige.

        • Rover can call it whatever they like – it’s still Hearing Aid Beige! No doubt the facelifted 800 at the bottom of the article has an aspirational colour name, although to many people it’s still “Doom Blue”…

          • I don’t think we’ve seen the last of that Oyster Beige/Hearing Aid Beige/Elastoplast/British Racing Flesh Mk 1… 😉

  9. That Rover 600 was on Autotrader a few months ago for £3,995.

    I agree with Chris C regarding Autotrader, it seems that every time they “upgrade” the website it gets slower and the navigation less intuitive.

  10. There are still plenty of 25s, 45s and 75s around where I live and the 75s that are still around are almost always immaculate. I think people are appreciating the fact the 75 was the last of a long line of big Rovers and since these are quite reliable cars if looked after properly, they’re hanging on to them.

  11. A navy blue W reg Rover 25 Club is parked on my road now and looks immaculate. Clearly people who own these cars don’t see in the same way they would see a Ford Mondeo from this era, a twelve month runner with a year’s MOT, but something they care for. Rather like the original Rover 75s from the late fifties, which were a familiar sight well into the seventies, the modern generation 75s seem to be lasting well.

  12. Great to see these cars still going, shame i dont have my rover800 s plated vitesse in brg anymore, would dearly have another , regards Mark

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