Blog : Is it the age of the disposable car?

Carole Nash Classic Insurance Specialists

Benjamin Adams

The £350 Rover 75
The £350 Rover 75

Bangernomics is something that we at AROnline have been passionate about for some time; the ability to buy and run a car for as little financial outlay as possible, sometimes even selling the car on for the same or more than the original purchase price. As some of you may know, I myself managed to buy a T-reg 75 for £750 earlier on this year. At the time, I thought that was probably the cheapest decent example around and people would be hard pushed to find a good example for much less than that unless they were prepared to buy a broken one and then get it fixed.

Recently I’ve heard of a £350 Rover 75. Ok, its not as well kitted as my own, nor is it pre-production, but for that price who actually cares? It’s early enough to escape the savages of Project Drive and CO based VED pricing. It has Tax and Test until Feb and March 2012 respectively and has only covered 86k since 2000. It may even be a factory car with a plate like that!

Yes it has some faults, the central locking is kaput and the brake pad warning light is on, plus it needs a bit of TLC on the bodywork, but for £350 you could ‘smoke’ this through the winter. If it should suffer an EPIC FAIL on March 1st, scrap it and get around 50% of your money back as scrap prices seem to be rising again.

Bearing in mind the current high costs of leasing a car these days and the fact that many car finance schemes seem to want a large deposit up front (35% upwards), this does seem to be a very cheap way of driving a very nice car through the winter.

Keith Adams

Keith Adams

Editor and creator AROnline at AROnline
Created www.austin-rover.co.uk 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

35 Comments

  1. 350 quid? Blimey. A best buy bargain if ever there was one.

    Bangernomics is sounding more and more attractive every day.

    Wonder if I can grab a cheap old diesel on my return to the UK and run it on a mix of derv and cleaned up old chip fat?Aren’t cheap old Merc diesels best for that?

  2. The downside is the cost of repair, a clutch and slave cylinder recently cost my father over £1000 on a 75! The car only cost £1800 to buy a few years ago, he was on the verge of scrapping it.

  3. I can quite believe the average lifexpectancy of a new(now)car could well be somewhat shorter than it used to be. not only are there more components on cars but they are more integrated to the whole car. a simple looking thing like the ICE panel, also controls the ventilation and air condition (will you be able to fnd good replacement part in 10 or 15 years time), while the SRS system is tied into seatbelts, airbags in seats doors and so on.

    some seatbelts mounts are even deisgned to paritally rip the floor to absorb shock after the pretensioners have fired. I can quite believe that any car 3 years old that has one air bag go off may be not economical to repair. I find this quite disturbing. I also beleive this isperhaps the caused of such a strong resrurgence in interst in OLDer drivable classics. for instance an old Cortina or an SD1 can be substantially refurbished for the cost of an airbag on some more modern cars.

    I think that manufactures need to consider the life expectancy and the cost to the environment of a vehicle, not just the emmission cost. “start”stop”” engines and hydrids in my oppinion are just more things to shorten the life expectancy of a vehicle and actually cost the environment more than some thing which is built to last. i think manufactures need share more central components so that cars can be made to last and be supported longer. alex

  4. A bit of a bargain, though I suspect the 75 is cheap though as no-one can be bothered with the hassle of HGF.

    Well and good if you can do it yourself / know a mechanic who doesn’t rip you off.

    Getting them too is the problem, Autotrader tends to be more dealers these days, with sub-1k looking very sparse / scrap-yard dodgers. Ebay has a few, and people tend to be honest, but usually ending up travelling across the country with the risk that they weren’t (although you have the right to not pay if so), and gumtree cars section is now just full of dodgy sellers selling dodgy cars with dodgy history.

    My banger of choice would be a Xantia, petrol models go for chips and are probably more reliable than the HDis (too many sensors!)

  5. That’s the main issue with cars nowadays. You are not likely, in 2035, to find an immaculate 1999 Jaguar S or X Type or similar age Rover 75 at classic car shows like you do with equivalent Mk 2’s or P5’s. Adding up the various ECU’s that will need replacing at some stage can easily reach a high four figure sum – that’s before the cost of bodywork etc. It ain’t worth it. That’s why you don’t see many XJ40’s around anymore.

  6. Nothing new in the notion of drive-and-bin motoring per se, but one difference is that the 75 in question will amost certainly be free of tinworm. Back in the early 80s pretty much anything over 8 years old was in new wings and sills territory, plus strut tops if you were into Fords. Amazing that you could get a usable 75 for that little though!

  7. Kinda makes a mockery of all the anti-corrosion protection used in manufacture when you just throw it away after 10-12 years.

    Maybe we should do away with it all – at least then it would only be fit for scrap!

  8. A Rover 75 for £350, a real bargain but feels too cheap for a once such prestige car. Just goes to show how mainstream cars depreciate so much and so quickly. Despite always looking after my cars, I never seem to get any benefit when changing them.

  9. Bangernomics is always eventful, sometimes never a dull moment, Sadly we took advantage of the Scrappage Scheme, We raided the back of the Sofa and dived into the murky depths of “Buying New” But in just 20months Our Golf’s value plumited to the price of a week old Kebab… Thinking about the money we have lost (If we Sell) and How much fun I could of had with a “Good runner” boils my P”ss.

    I once new a Crane Driver who religiously bought Sheds from the Auctions, never spent more than £100 and at one point he had 5 Vauxhall Cavaliers (mk2), Not sure how understanding his wife was but back in the day He ran the cars until they failed MOT then if possible pull bits off the other failure’s or weigh the shells in for scrap, He usually got his money back though sometimes I wonder..

    Incidentally many people are buying cheap, running until it breaks then flogging the bits on ebay… nothing new here but some classics are being cut up just for the scrap value.

    Which brings me onto my friends Tyre business which also does small repairs, the number of Corsa’s, Clio’s, Punto’s and Daewoo Matiz that come in with Blown engines/Ecu /Coil Packs is frightening especially when most are around 5 yrs old, mostly with Dealer servicing… (Is this the sell by date of the modern car?) The thought of Bangernomics and reliability starts to sound slightly scary, not bad if you have a spare car should the unthinkable happen but if you dont… and who has time these days to sort swapping engines/gearboxs over, especially if yr beloved needs it fixing pronto.

    However I still crave searching for all those Hot Hatches or Executive “specials” that once graced car magazines, you know the ones you always promised yourself you would own one day, If only had the time… £350 is an absolute bargain for these future armchair classics.

  10. A £350 Rover 75 will be so much more rewarding than most nearly new econoboxes. And I would be that it would be more dependable than any YES CAR CREDIT Laguna or 407 you care to mention.

    Buy it!

  11. @ James. I really can’t agree with your thoughts.. Cars are gonna hang around for longer rather than shorter and there will always be fields full of classics that people wanna show off. ECU’s won’t prove difficult as the older electronics get the simpler they appear, and there’s always someone ready to start a business up as a specialist.. And in reality ECU’s rarely fail before a car is scrapped, meaning lots of reclaimed parts… AS for the missing XJ40’s, can’t agree there either, They’re not vanishing any faster than any other big luxo barge.. XM, early 80’s S class, original 7 series.. if anything you see more XJ40’s then these still knocking around. And the fact that the dreaded Tin worm gets more scarce means that the funds used to fix what would have been body problems will just be re directed to the aforementioned electronics. Sorry to disagree but I see things very differently to yourself.

  12. There was a similar 75 on a W plate for £350 local, 2.0 V6 Classic SE, I was mildly tempted, then I remembered the clutch, and the VIS valves and inlet and all the other bits on a 75 that cost an arm and a leg to fix, and didn’t bother. I did call about a W plate 45 Classic TD saloon that was also for sale for a mere £200, only fault was it wouldn’t start after the bloke ran out of diesel, gutted I missed out on that by minutes.

  13. A colleague of mine bought a 12 year old Clio for £20, yes £20 a couple of years ago, drove it for a year then binned it. Wasn’t even that shabby looking and never let him down. Actually i say binned, he drove it down to the west country to pick up his new car, then just abandoned it in a supermarket car park!

    I think the scrapage scheme made this kind of market evaporate and pushed up used car prices, but we’re seeing a comeback now. Thing is this R75 is a 12 year old car, when it was built you could buy various 12 year old cars for the same sort of money. Only difference is most of them were rusty. Modern cars just dont rust out like they used to, engines are arguably more reliable so something else has to send them to the scrap yard. 100k on the clock isn’t high mileage at all these days, most car engines should be good for 200k or more if looked after. A difficult to trace electrical fault can easily write off an otherwise perfectly good older car. A lot of buyers will look at this and say, well the CDL doesn’t work, so what else is likely to go wrong with it in the next week, month etc.

  14. Its cheap because Rover went bust, compare to a 3 Series or X Type of same age and see the price difference. Factor in the engine issues ( largely sorted nowadays) and it really harms the values.

  15. None of this has put me off wanting to buy a Rover 75. It is a fantastic car and even if the cost of repairs did exceed its used car value, I would rather have the work done and keep driving around in something that is very special to look and drive and unlikely to be superseded by another prestigous British marque.

    Or, I could do what most people do and rather than spend ‘X’ on having the car repaired, I spend ‘3X’ on a newer car instead and later moan that my newer replacement just doesn’t have the same appeal as my older Rover.

    Sorry, but I would rather keep an older familiar friend going than buy something else newer and likely to have been made outside the UK, which won’t tick my emotional boxes like the Rover 75 does.

    The badge-conscious British may have largely turned their backs on Rovers, but I have no desire to follow suit.

  16. An Open Question to those on here who have owned a 75

    -What kind of reaction have you had from non car enthusiasts about your choice of car?

    I’ve had people thinking it was some kind of Jaguar, others knowing its a Rover (cos they have seen the badge) but realizing that its a lovely car to sit and be driven in. All of them are amazed at the price I paid, expecting it to have cost two or three times as much.

  17. @ Keith Adams:

    Let me know if need any images or other information relating to the Rover 75, as I have quite a collection of official material and other details I have collated over the years.

  18. Well,its a big car,wrong badge on it,perceived by the un-initiated to be thirsty,expensive to run/repair/insure,its also over 10 years old,sorry lads but that is about its money,time marches on……

  19. I’m not quite sure what’s new here. I remember my dad always being appalled at the trade in values for his Rovers. I remember him selling an 1986 825i for £850 – a little 8 yrs old with 140k on the clock – but one owner and full service history.

  20. There’s one on the bay in widness for £255, seems to work too. Not sure I’d buy a car with such a dire reputation for engine death though. The Jaguar XJ8 is more up my street, they start at about £1400 with less than 100k on the clock. £2800 to emulate John Prescott doesn’t sound bad at all. Although I think I’m going to save up and buy a 4.0l for about £1600 because I really need 290bhp in my life.

  21. @bangernomics:

    I think the 1986 example that Julian Robinson refers to features a 2.5-litre Honda V6 that was in production until February 1988 when it was replaced by a 2.7-litre version of the same engine design. It is not the Rover-designed KV6 design that came along in January 1996 which did not have such an enviable reputation for longevity.

  22. Looks very tidy!

    My 75 is a Longbridge one but otherwise looks very similar – silver, same alloys. It’s a 53 plate bought summer last year with almost 50K on the clock.

    When I look at my 75 I always think “one hell of a lot of beautiful car for £2,500”, but £350 is amazing!!

  23. I’ve had 2 75’s now and the response from most people is very positive, non car buffs seem to view it as a luxury car. Bought both of them cheaply and sold them on for around the same price i paid for them so i would recommend them, however i have also done the same thing with xj6’s – real luxury cars and in both cases made a profit when time came to sell them.
    Banganomics works if you do a little research and it allows you to drive some fantasic motors that new car buyers can only dream of.

  24. I do fancy a 75, have run a string of 800s and know that car better than I would ever have wanted!, the Honda versions are IMHO the best all round of the lot just a shame they never had the suspension revisions of the post ’96 800. My current Vitesse was a very nice car (only was because I have just had a nightmare with a front CV I am sure it will be a nice car tormowow!). I ahve also had a number of XMs, which are nothing like as bad as the bar room bores will say, My current one is very nice (ask me again the day after I have changed the exhaust manifold gasket!). But strangly I want a 75.. but am highly wary of the cost/compelxity of what should be easy to change parts

  25. Saw an S reg Rover 620 for sale outside my local for £ 500 this summer. It had a FSH, 6 months tax and MOT, 100,000 miles on the clock and would make sense for anyone who needed a large, cheap car for a few months. Also the Rover interior would be a far nicer place to live than the black plastic world of a Vauxhall Vectra- the worst family car of the nineties.

  26. I ran a lovely 2003 75 for 6 months earlier this year, but it was on the brink of HGF and the clutch was worrying me too……they are such great cars, but cost ££££’s if they go wrong, checking the coolant level every other day was proving tiresome.

    I wonder if the 75 has had its time now as a daily user and should start being preserved…….?

  27. @Stewart “But strangly I want a 75.. but am highly wary of the cost/compelxity of what should be easy to change parts”

    The R800 and XM can both have the same thing said about them. There are probably people out there saying the same thing about both of them right now!

  28. Hi guys, some interesting comments.. Can you tell me if there are any other engines that you can replace the Rover’s with without making too much nonsense??

    Your help will be highly appreciated!

  29. Mine is a 53 Plate. Just cost £700 to get it through the MOT. I hope to use it lightly say 4000 miles a year for the next 2 or 3 years BUT I am not optimistic. Try not to romanticise a gas guzzling pile of metal!

  30. There is a big scrapyard in the industrial estate where I work, and over my lunchbreak I saw a very tidy looking 05-reg Rover 25 Streetwise came in on the back of a flatbed truck. No mucking about it was grabbed off the back by the claw and chucked straight into the crusher and cubed. What a waste!! :X

  31. 5 years on and with the scrappage scheme now a distant memory, and scrap prices having levelled off, cheap cars are again abound – recently saw a decent nick Skoda Felicia for £150 – a bargain runabout. X types without an MOT are coming in well under the £500 mark, a classy big motor for the money, if you can get a years ticket on it, a ‘facelift’ style grille (on ebay etc.) freshens it up greatly.

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