Blog : The search for our next AROnlinemobile goes on…

Carole Nash Classic Insurance Specialists

Keith Adams

Cav

Either I’m losing my touch, or there’s a dearth of attractive project cars out there for me to nail AROnline‘s colours to. Since coming back to the site, I’ve been vaguely looking for a new car to take on the mantle of my project – and here we are, two months in, and I may be in the middle of my longest period without a new car acquisition in years…

In fact, I think the last time I bought a ‘new’ car suitable for these hallowed pages was back in June 2014, when I picked up a lovely Vauxhall Cavalier MkIII (above). That car cost me £600, which seemed high at the time, but after servicing this amazingly rust-free example, and taking it over to Germany and Belgium, I ended up with a real regard for the old hector – and, although I sold it for a profit, I rather wish I hadn’t let it go. Perhaps I need another.

Mike Humble has his MINTego, sorry, Montego 1.6LX project, which looks fantastic, and I rather fancy some of that, too. Cars on my shopping list are – aside from Cavalier MkII and MkIIIs – Rover 75/MG ZTs, Rover 800s, Range Rover P38s, and perhaps a British-built Ford (although those options are thinning out by the day). In my defence, I’ve been busy with my day job, working on Classic Car Weekly as well as launching a new magazine, Modern Classics. But really there should always be enough time for car capers.

Sterling

There’s a KV6 Rover Sterling (above) for sale at my local bombsite for £299 – it’s probably a wreck, and the seller thought it was powered by a Honda engine (if only), so there’s probably little hope for it. But it could be a laugh, assuming it still has four gears and six cylinders, but then again, I’ve had more Rover 800s than I could throw a stick at. To have another wouldn’t exactly be new ground. The same is probably true for 75/ZTs, too – even though I’d love another one,

Last weekend, I helped Richard pick up his new Honda, and I’m straight back into the mindset to get my own genuine piece of Autoshite – so, if you have a project car you don’t want, or know someone else who does, do get in touch. Equally, if you see anything on your travels, or spot anything cool in the classifieds, or online, do please give me a shout. If it’s Range Rover shaped, and in (modest) budget, I’ll be a very happy man indeed!

range_rover_18

 

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

31 Comments

  1. I vote for the P38. They are fabulus, dirty cheap, and everyone is advising to steer clear of them; For various reasons.
    If the vehicle tax around here wasn’t the insane case it is, i would love to get one and prove that with some thoughtful work on them, they can be reliable. OK, perhaps i am dreaming, but i wouldn’t turn my back to the challenge so easily.

  2. How about a late model Rover 623 GSi. They might be a bit thirsty and are becoming rare now, but the lovely Honda engine and interior more than make up for this. I’d steer clear of the last generation KV6 Rover 800, they were far less reliable than the Honda engined cars and deservedly are little seen now.

  3. Too small for you most likely, Keith, but my ZR is still for sale. Just a reminder – a 105, 66,600 miles, 10 months MOT, 3 months tax, FSH++. Asking price currently £1150 ono but to you Keith I’d be more flexible!

    Not much wrong with it as a project car but I’m sure things could be found to bring it nearer to showroom condition.

  4. Talking of later British made Fords, I’ve heard the last Hailwood built Escorts were built to a higher standard as a dummy run for making Jaguars, but as the Focus was out by then they were overlooked.

    • I’m not sure being built to X-type standards will mean much. In fact what could it mean? The only element they could have improved without a major re-engineering of the Escort – a car already obsolete by then – is paint maybe?

      • I imagine it was just a case of making the QC inspections tighter.

        IIRC the late 1980s Metros are supposed to be better made than the ones before.

  5. Another possibility, a diesel Rover 600, has all the performance and refinement of the petrol 600s, but returns 50 mpg with little difficulty and has none of the complexity of 21st century diesels. It would be nice to see a bit more of what was always the most highly rated Rover in JD Power.
    Alternatively the last of the diesel Montegos in estate form, all the reliability issues of the Austin era had been beaten and you can get a slightly stylish load carrier with a Perkins diesel engine capable of 110 mph and 55 mpg. As these are rare now, it’s worth saving one and they are practical as well as economical.

  6. im thinking of getting rid of my car if ur interested. its not british though. is a 2000 saab 9-3 se. i saved her from the scrappy about 2 years ago and i have lovingly been putting her right ever since. just a few more bits to do to her but would make an ideal project. i love this car like a child and would want to see her go to someone who will equally love her as well. although im sure it will break my heart. anyway. its there if ur interested.

      • well she is blue with a camel interior, everything works as u would expect. she has never let me down in the 2 years i have owned her. in that time i replaced the gear box front bumper fixed the bulkhead and fitted the stearing rack brace to furture proof it. and improve handling as well. new air con pump. downsides are she front tyres are getting near the limit. the engine management light is on and no one can figure out why as we have fixed everything on in . been like that since i hgad it and it cetainly doesnt run badly at all. new breaks, and a an exhaust that rattles. although it is ok just a patten part that dont fit well. she needs somone who can do the last few bits to her and make her a gem again. she drives lovely. and i am really gonna miss her. but the bluebird is taking up alot of my attention at the moment and to be honest i cant afford to be running and restoring 2 large turbo engined cars. she has 125 00 miles on the clock

      • well she is blue with a camel interior, everything works as u would expect. she has never let me down in the 2 years i have owned her. in that time i replaced the gear box front bumper fixed the bulkhead and fitted the stearing rack brace to furture proof it. and improve handling as well. new air con pump. downsides are she front tyres are getting near the limit. the engine management light is on and no one can figure out why as we have fixed everything on in . been like that since i hgad it and it cetainly doesnt run badly at all. new breaks, and a an exhaust that rattles. although it is ok just a patten part that dont fit well. she needs somone who can do the last few bits to her and make her a gem again. she drives lovely. and i am really gonna miss her. but the bluebird is taking up alot of my attention at the moment and to be honest i cant afford to be running and restoring 2 large turbo engined cars. she has 125000 miles on the clock

  7. For a British built car in banger territory why not go for either a late model Escort or – from the same factory – an early X-type ? The Escort may have been hated by the motoring press but the late one I had as a hire car drove quite well.

    • Or one of the last Escort vans?…

      CDVs are a rare thing now, the last commercial vehicles legally allowed to drive at car speed limits.

  8. I have a Rover 75 connoisseur diesel tourer that is soon to be on Gumtree. £895, had new front springs, 3 new tyres, had the waterleak into the cab problem, now sorted. Not exactly perfect but OK nick, light scrape on the door (hasn’t broken the paint)

  9. How about an x-type? These are reaching bargain basement value right now with early ones on flea bay coming in from just under £1k. It would appear the £1.5k onwards will get you a fairly nice one possibly.

  10. P38 all the way Keith.. Take it from a man with obvious taste (4x Austin Allegros, 1x Triumph Dolomite 1300, 1x Freelander-2 & a Range Rover P38 Diesel)

    😉

  11. Still seen around, how about a late nineties Nissan Primera( the last generation weren’t as good and looked strange), made in Sunderland? These are generally unbreakable family cars that are cheap to run and in 1.8 form go well. It’s also add AR hasn’t done much about the products of Nissan in Sunderland as next year is the 30th anniversary and the factory has been the most successful British car factory of all time.

  12. How about this wonderful Montego VP Convertible. What a strange find. You’ll be able to cruise down the road, making every MGF owner jealous!

  13. I would go for a P38. But then I have one, having had it for 5 years. It has been a journey.
    You need deep pockets though, and attention to detail. If you neglect one, it will be painful!

    Chris.

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