eBay Find of the Week : Low-mileage, late 400

Carole Nash Classic Insurance Specialists

Craig Cheetham

Quite a rarity these days - tidy 416 deserves saving
Quite a rarity these days – tidy 416 deserves saving

A bit of an anomaly, this one, being an R8-shape 416 on an N-plate. Given that the HH-R 400 Series debuted as an M-reg, it’s clearly one of the last (and, arguably, a far better car, but that’s a topic for a different day).

Nevertheless, good R8s are getting thinner and thinner in the skin, making this one something of a rarity, especially as the booted 400s have now all but disappeared. When was the last time you saw one?

Body has a few minor scuffs and scrapes, but still looks very presentable
Body has a few minor scuffs and scrapes, but still looks very presentable

This car isn’t perfect – look closely and you’ll notice a couple of small scabs on the wings, the standard issue scuffed front bumper and a minor scrape on the nearside rear arch, but I can vouch from personal experience that Charcoal is a pretty easy colour to match. This one would, of course, be the perfect partner for my Charcoal 800 Vitesse, but I’m trying to downsize the feet at the moment, not grow it…

The Honda-engined auto is a reasonably pleasant combination – though a very different character to a K-Series manual car – and, with just 46,000, on the clock it should have plenty of miles left beneath its wheels. A great usable classic if you live in a town or city, especially as the interior looks immaculate.

Cabin looks immaculate...
Cabin looks immaculate…

In a ‘small world’ moment, after studying the ad for several minutes, I realised I bought an X-plate Rover 45 Connoisseur from this seller about four years ago to run as my daily – he’s a trader operating off a small lot, yet was an absolute pleasure to deal with, helpful, realistic and enthusiastic about the car, plus he even picked me up from the station. Can someone please buy it before I do?

At £495, I reckon it’s a bargain. Judge for yourself, here.

Craig Cheetham

A serial impulsive car purchaser, Craig has had his name on over 200 V5s over the past 20 years. 10 per cent of those have been either 800s or Austin Allegros, with between 10 and 20 cars usually owned at any one time. Started out as a local newspaper journalist then worked for car mags including Auto Express, Classic Car Weekly and Land Rover Owner. Worked inside the car industry for a decade as an employee of General Motors, now works for a news distribution agency. Home based, which is dangerously convenient for further irrational heap purchases. Lover of all makes of car since childhood, with a particular leaning towards Austin-Rover... Father of three boys, so hoping to spread the car love. Other passions include rugby union, travelling and eating out.

14 Comments

  1. I sort of gasped when I saw the interior – immaculate indeed!

    Exterior looks tidy. With a bit of TLC it could very soon be mint.

    Oh, can I not wait until I have the funds to buy such cars. Any time now though!!

    I now see very few R8s at all but the 400 is even rarer than the 200 – shame! It don’t seem long since R8s where everywhere (or am I just getting old?!)

  2. They pretty much disappeared overnight, Dave. I used to see loads of them, and still rue the day I sold my 420 GSi Tourer. How rare is that, now?

    For my part, I pulled a 1992 214Si out of the breakers’ yard a couple of weeks back, with 31k on the clock and a decent pile of history. The elderly owner had hung up his driving gloves and the family weren’t interested.

    How many cars end up going for scrap in such a scenario, though? It was only a case of lucky timing that I saw it out the front before the papers had been filled in, and had just withdrawn £200 out of the cashpoint for the weekly food shop and family day out. Took some explaining to my wife, that one, but it was enough to secure its future…

  3. Always thought that the overall design suited the 400’s boot rather than the 200’s hatch. It’s particularly nice in this colour too. I’ve got too many cars really, but hope an enthusiast buys it.

  4. Nice. Had an early R8 as my first car, but am more of a Honda fan these days, and I’m in the market for a cheap second car. Can’t click on ebay links at work, but assume this one in the arse end of East Anglia?

  5. I ve owned quite a few R8 s with Honda engines, lovely cars and very very dependable. I saved a gsi 400 a few years ago-needed an mot and elderly owner wanted it off his drive-£25 he wanted-no rust-full leather interior-beautiful drive-so smooth. If I could save another , I would but have just saved 2 MG s-a zr160 and a zt 190-both heading for the crusher and been sitting around a while but with a little tlc will both be on the road by april. Still love anything BL/BLMC/AUSTINMORRIS/ROVER. a DIE HARD.

  6. Thats been on twice before with it being sold for £400 one week and then re-advertised the following week for £695, not sure who is selling it now but £495 seems about right.

    What however is a rarer earlier car worth? Thats the question I am trying to work out…..

  7. A very nice car and light years of its rivals like the Ford Orion, Vauxhall Astra, VW Vento( one ugly car), and Peugeot 309, the 400 really was like a cut down big Rover with the beautiful interiors, classy styling and refined drive. No other car came close, even the BMW 3 series of this era looked cheap in comparison. These 400s, like the 800 and R8 R200, deserve classic status.

  8. A couple of years ago I borrowed an R8 200 with the Honda engine and manual (Peugeot supplied I believe) gearbox and was pleasantly surprised by how well it drove- considering my friend who owned it rarely did any maintainence, and various bits of trim were either missing or held on with gaffa tape. I seem to remember it being quite torquey- most unlike the 2.0 Accord I’d owned previously.

    Hope this one goes to a good home.

  9. Is the gearbox from a Peugeot on the 416? Surely that was just the K-Series ones? I”d be surprised if the auto was not a Honda box. When they introduced the 1.6 version of the K-Series in 1995, the autos carried on with Honda engines even in the HHR.

    The 420s definitely had Honda designed gearboxes.

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