Spencer Payne’s not so shaggy dog story.
My old Ford Mondeo was getting a bit rough and ready round the gills so I needed a tidy runabout for my two pedigree Staffordshire Terriers – I didn’t relish the thought of them tearing apart or slobbering all over the half leather half tweed interior of my company Jaguar X-TYPE. The services of Mike Humble were requested and we set to work sourcing a usable secondhand car which would fit the bill whilst not lowering the tone of my neighbourhood as t’wer.
After trawling through the inkies and the Autoraider, nothing suitable could be had, so our nets were cast further afield. Mike and I visited a small trader he knows near Ascot to look at a Vauxhall Vectra but, sadly, this turned out to be unsuitable owing to various faults and engine management issues. Lurking in a dark corner of the showroom was a lovely looking Rover 420Si four-door saloon with full history and fully-functioning ice-cold aircon.
The car became mine and the 420 gave good service including a few jaunts to the New Forest with our caravan thanks to a smooth and torquey 2.0 T-Series engine. Sadly, after six months, the Rover developed a noisy differential and, taking into account the thirsty nature of the car because of infrequent short journeys, my girlfriend and I decided to sell the car for something with a smaller engine. My Jaguar was replaced with a Mondeo 2.0-litre DCi which was fitted with a tow bar so, once again, I was looking for another second car but engine size was less of a priority.
Mike was contacted yet again and a lovely looking 2002 Rover 25 Impression S was found via a private sale in Harrow – the car was being sold by a lovely lady from the Ivory Coast called… wait for it… Princess. The 25 had no service history or service documentation but Mike assured me the car was in good order and worth a punt as he would say. A thorough inspection and road test followed and a deal was cut – I acquired a very tidy and clean Rover 25 with sensible mileage for well under a thousand pounds.
Some minor work needed to be done on the 25 including an engine management lamp that was lit (o2 sensor) but, for a 1.4, the car gives good performance and decent economy. Above all, my dear doggiewoggies think it’s great too!
Moving on to Rover and then PSV / HGV, he has circumnavigated most departments of dealerships including parts, service and latterly - the showroom. Mike has owned all sorts of rubbish from Lada to Leyland and also holds both Heavy Goods & Public Service Vehicle licences, he buys & sells buses and coaches during the week. Mike runs his own automotive web site and writes for a number of motoring or commercial vehicle themed publications
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