I must admit that I’m in a bit of a rut with my Rover SD1. It’s not that the old girl’s done anything wrong as such, just that I feel like I’m at a bit of a standstill with it – and am in desperate need of some real inspiration. I think it’s because, after the summer of recommissioning it went through, it’s still not right.
Don’t get me wrong, Mike Humble and MOTEST have both done a cracking job on the thing, putting right all the bodgery that went on before it, as well as the inevitable side-effects of being stood around for so many years, but still the issues crop up. Well, they would, except that I haven’t actually used it since September – when a couple of yukky issues reared their ugly heads.
Firstly, the exhaust started blowing – that was slightly disappointing considering it’s a new system. I figured it wouldn’t be anything major – just a loose bracket or something – but no, the driver’s side manifold has stripped some threads, and now the exhaust won’t connect to it.
Then there’s the floppy gear linkage. Yup, there’s now so much play in the gear linkage that I can’t actually select any gears without waggling the pathetic and limp lever like a wooden spoon in a bowel of porridge. Given how nice it was before it went crap, that’s doubly disappointing. No doubt this failure has been due to former bodgery.
Then, adding insult to injury, one of the brand new tyres I fitted sprung a low puncture. Actually, that happened the day after the tyres were fitted. It’s a trio of niggles that have prompted me to put it in the garage and ignore the old lump until I find myself inspired for another session of masochistic car fixing.
Problem is, that was three months ago, and I still don’t feel the need.
I think another thing’s bothering me about the SD1 and that’s its worth or, more precisely, its lack of it. Yes, I know that I never restored this car to make money – and, in truth, anyone who does is deluded or very lucky – but, at the same time, it’s slightly irritating to think that this car is worth such a paltry amount of money.
Why have I come to this conclusion? Well, it seems to me that every time a nice SD1 comes up for sale online or in the mags, the so-called enthusiasts will bemoan it for being too expensive, if it’s priced realistically, or scream unfair if it’s too cheap and wander off to the banger brigade. Like all financial matters, classic car values are a simple function of demand and supply – and, in the case of the SD1, demand remains low and supply is plentiful.
However, more corrosively for the SD1 brigade, it’s one of those cars that people celebrate depressed values and find absolute glee in buying for pennies and running for a song – and I guess that’s a very good thing for a starter classic. However, it’s not a conducive situation for strong market values… It seems we’re a victim of our own success.
There’s also the other small matter of running a car that’s in such good condition, but which – to me – feels so fragile mechanically: I’m not going to want to run it for fear of someone damaging it and, if they don’t, I’ll be scared it’s going to break down. It really does seem like I’m on a downer about the thing, hence my plea for some inspiration.
The pictures I’ve used to illustrate this rather downbeat blog are of a pair of SD1s running on the original factory option alloys. I’ve always liked these and wonder how I’ll feel about my car running on such gorgeous wheels. There are a few that would say my car looks nicer on the original steels and hubcaps, but all I know is I want a nice set of alloys on it – and maybe I can get the tyre sorted while we’re swapping over!
Anyway, if that doesn’t cure my blues, I’ll start running out of ideas!
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.