Car of the Month : March 2010

It seems like nice Rover 200s are really coming out of the woodwork now, with several having appeared in the space of a few short weeks, reassuring lovers of Hyacynth Bucket’s jumped up saloon car that they’ve made the classic car grade.

This example is particularly impressive, not only because it looks more timeless than most in black, but because it’s also in such original condition. Enjoy!

Words and pictures: John Sweeney

Keeping up appearances

A lovely car in a lovely setting…

MY name is John, and I’m a final year student of Management and Organisation at Lancaster University. I’ve always had a liking for older cars – anything with a bit more character than most things modern.

So, while my chums were driving round in little Fiestas and Corsas, I somehow ended up carried away over a succession of saloons from the late seventies, eighties and early nineties. If I have totted up correctly, I have owned six BL/ARG/Rover products over my seven years on the road, from a total so far of sixteen cars (if anyone wants a full list, I can happily supply). Suffice to say that the full list included two Vauxhall Senators: a 1986 2.5i and a 1987 3.0i CD, two Volvos: a 740 2.0 and a 760 2.8, A Rover 820 SLi, a 1979 Mercedes-Benz 280E and two 2.0 190Es.

One of the most interesting cars I owned was a 1994 Rover 416 SLi automatic in Caribbean Blue with Stone Beige interior. Do I hear you say: “surely, that’s not that interesting”? Well, the car was fitted with, I believe, every factory option except leather seats, as the lady who bought it and had it serviced at the same Rover dealer in Haslemere until well beyond the millennium didn’t like leather. But, it had everything else – the rare air conditioning, ABS and the factory fitted alloy wheels. Now there’s a car I regret selling!

But onto this car. I’ve owned it since December, and I love it to bits! For a small car, it feels very solid and well screwed together, has a lovely comfortable interior, with a surprising amount of space for a small car and it seems to have resisted the urge to oxidise into a pile of rust pretty well too! My Father had always had Rovers as company cars, the first being a 1989 216 Vanden Plas and the last, which he still has, being a 2005 75 Tourer.

In fact, he used to edit the company magazine for a while, so he used to get various Rovers to review, sometimes even before the general public did. I recall taking a Nordic Blue 214 SLi up to the Lake District sometime in early 1989 for Dad to test and photograph and, as a four year old, being really excited by the fact that nobody else had one!

Coupled to the this is the fact that I spent half my childhood in and around Rovers – my Mother, Brother and both sets of Grandparents have driven Rovers. In fact, my friends and I always used to joke that my paternal Grandparents were in fact Richard and Hyacinth Bucket from Keeping Up Appearances – they drove an identical blue Rover 216S, lived on the neatest possible cul-de-sac of bungalows and Grandad spent most of his waking hours looking after the garden or driving Grandma to her church coffee mornings or charity raffles. Happy days!

With any luck, I’ll be taking this car to the Harewood House classic car show near Leeds in June, so I may see you there!

Keith Adams


  1. beeutifull

    i have just inherited a lovely red 213 from my grandfather, sadly i was using the cigar lighter and the electrics set ablaze! but me and me father have nearly rewired and fixed it so should be set! i love this car with a passion, just a little woried about the mot (the cills are looking a little rust addled :S) lets hope for the best

  2. Brilliant! my 1st proper ,”nice” car was a red 213s reg f648 suy ,they are fantastic, reliable and comfy, I’m actually on the hunt for one now that i have a heated garage at last !!

  3. I remember looking at a nice new 216 vanden plas at the lex garage in bexleyheath when i was young, when i was working as radio eng for the net police one my colleges had 216se that was a nice built car and other had a 213 s was very happy with it at the time. I also fancy the gti version although not really fast but had nice alloys etc, regards mark

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