News : AROnline – the end of a new era (or welcome back, Keith)

Craig Cheetham

The more things change, the more they stay the same – and so it is with AROnline.

One of the great things about this site is the sheer number of diehard enthusiasts there are that follow it – and, perhaps the biggest diehard of the lot is the site’s founder, Mr. Keith Adams.

The_Rovers_Return (1)

As far as BL-ARG sympathisers go, I’ve always been up there with the best of them. The sheer number of Austin-Rover keyrings dangling in my understairs cupboard is all the proof you need.

However, Keith has always been something of a figurehead, so it’s with open arms that I, along with many of the site’s regular readers, will welcome Keith back into the fold, as he’s set to resume the editorship of AROnline from 1 August 2015.

He's back - and this lot are clearly delighted...
He’s back – and this lot are clearly delighted…

On a personal level, I’m thrilled about this. Keeping AROnline alive with new content is demanding, not least when you’ve got a full-time start-up business, a large family, two mortgages, a rugby team captaincy and multiple old Rovers vying for your attentions.

It’s also an honour and a privilege, and one which I’ve been delighted to carry on for the past year-and-a-bit following Keith’s departure last summer. I’ve been educated, met some fantastic people, and revived my passion for some of the BL-ARG cars I’d almost forgotten over the years. Hell, it even made me buy a Rover Metro…

In true Oscar acceptance speech pattern, then, I’d like to thank the huge army of AROnline followers who’ve shown me loyal support over the past 12 months, along with AROnline stalwart, Mike Humble, for holding my hand (and various parts of my broken Maestro) on many an occasion.

And, not least, Keith himself, for helping me deal with some of the site’s more lively moments in the past few months.

I’ll also continue to contribute to the site on many an occasion – I still haven’t introduced all of my cars yet, and I’ve been sitting on a feature on the Wilmot Breeden universal door handle for weeks, trying to get it finished between jobs.

It’s been fantastic but, as I said to Keith the other day, I’ve also felt like a kid playing with someone else’s favourite Dinky Toy while I’ve held the keys to the site’s back end. I knew he’d want it back one day and, while I enjoyed playing with it, it always felt like I had to keep it in as good condition as possible for when Keith wanted it returning to his toy box.

Without Keith’s passion, AROnline would never have existed. And while I share his passion for the cars (indeed, we’ve even shared the odd V5C over the years), AROnline is as much a part of Keith as it is a part of the BMC/BL/Austin-Rover/Rover/MGR scene.

So, please let me be the first in saying welcome back old chum. We’ve missed you.

And from my perspective, thank you to those who’ve really got behind my efforts to keep AROnline strong – according to the stats, it’s as robust and lively as ever, and that’s critically important for its long-term future.

Thank you guys. You know who you are.


Craig Cheetham


  1. Can I be the first to welcome Keith back and say thanks to Craig for all his hard work on the site. It is as good as ever. No pressure Keith, but have you got a number of special features up your sleeve for your return. I can’t wait!

  2. Welcome back Keith… and many thanks Craig for your stewardship of the site over the past year +. You’ve shown us some great cars and provided great stories. Hope you’ll still be contributing. I visit the site every day, or other day usually. All the best to aronline’s future.

  3. Good to see AR back on the straight and narrow after the many regrettable incidents of recent times.

    • Just where the hell has your comment come from Discusman(?) ?

      Craig has done a brilliant job in his year or so as Editor. As said below, there was no real difference in the site. I must also mention Mike Humble for his significant contribution – Thanks Mike!

      I suggest, man, you go and discuss elsewhere. The only criticism wanted here is of the constructive type and most of the comment comes from the enthusiast, the genuinely interested.

  4. What about a 10 year review of how well the Chinese did scavenging the scraps from Longbridge? I suspect it’s been a financial disaster for them but some readers may know otherwise.

    Was impressed by the photos of the Pininfarina and Michelotti Marina alternatives. I know they pitched for the design but had never seen an actual example. With the benefit of hindsight I think Roy Haynes did a pretty good job on the Clubman, Maxi and two door Marina. The four door still looks bulbous but then I’m bias as I own a Maxi 2.

  5. This is great news. I spotted it on Keith’s Facebook feed last week. Hopefully the quality material he brings will make a most welcome return.

  6. Well, that is a surprise. I knew Keith’s passion for all things BLARG would not have diminished in the least but I was not expecting him back as Editor – well, not so soon anyway.

    It’s big welcome back from me Keith! I’m still here as often as I was, if not more. I’m now driving two cars from the fold – my ZR and a new 3 Style.

    Craig, you did a great job at the helm – the site remained as interesting, compelling as ever!

    • Why, numbers haven’t changed a great deal, the articles are as good as ever, however, its the comments from tools that have changed, a lot more negativity, and that’s nothing to do with Craig or the site… just “odd” people.

  7. Craig, Keith where do you find the time?! I know I’m here most days but the commitment required to be Editor! I mean, I can just stay ten minutes if I so choose.

    Anyway, a big thank-you! The site has entertained me for over a decade. The evening scene in my house is often thus – my daughter watching ‘Friends’ and me on AROnline – we’re both obsessives !!

  8. Welcome back Keith and thanks to Craig for keeping the site running, not to mention the regular contributors like Mike Humble. Keep those stories of broken old Rovers coming.

  9. Wow…. didn’t realise there was such a bitchy undercurrent to this site, I thought this was a site for adults with a common interest, Not a Facebook bitching site
    Perhaps some of the nay-sayers should come up with some contributions themselves to help advance the site that in their opinion is going down the swanny

    Me? I thoroughly enjoy the site on a daily basis and look forward to more content, who ever it comes from.

    Mike, How’s the T45 book coming along btw?

  10. Well done guys…. I have enjoyed visiting the website each day, Craig you have looked after the site very well, and Keith, welcome back to the fold.
    I look forward to the usual interesting stories
    Phillip West

  11. Welcome back Keith, and thanks to Craig for being at the helm over the past year or so. I usually manage some time here every day feeding my love of all things AR; still looking for that elusive Triumph 2000. All the best to ARonline’s future.

  12. Craig, many thanks for your Sterling efforts, it has been much appreciated and I have certainly enjoyed reading your own different slant of editorial content, particularly with your new purchases and those already in your collection. As you often said, it is a difficult challenge being the editor of a popular website such as this and also maintaining the demands of a full time and very demanding job. However, you did manage it.

    Do keep the articles coming as they have hopefully given others inspiration that there are some affordable silk purses out there to be had that do not have to cost an arm and a leg to maintain.

  13. Strange how the people who knock the site seem to know so much about it. They spend a lot of time looking at something they don’t like.

    I hadn’t noticed any difference. It’s good whoever is in charge.

  14. Many, many thanks for all your efforts, Craig.

    Pay no heed to the wearying naysayers, your time in the editor’s chair has been most welcome, interesting and successful.

    Like many others I look forward to more news on your fleet of cars and much more besides.

    I’m sure we’ll also see some great things from Keith, continued wonderful tales of all things automotive from Mike and plenty of contributions from other car nuts.

    Huge thanks once again and all the very best for the future.

    • Thanks Phil, and I’ll still be contributing to the site frequently. I have too much of an interest in all things BLARG to disappear, and as I said above, I’m proud to be a part of it all regardless of the critical minority!

  15. Welcome back Keith, and thank you Craig for your time as editor. I have been an regular visitor of the site since it first started over a decade ago and it’s always a good read.

  16. To everyone who has an issue with Craig’s tenure i ask you this- what articles or contributions did you offer to improve things to your liking? Why didn’t you put your money where your mouth is? To Craig, well done and thanks’. Dont forget to come back and let us know about the fleet.

  17. I enjoy this site which brings back past memories as well as providing current interest. I have enjoyed it equally under both editors , and look forward to its future . Thanks to Craig for the interest he has provided, and thanks to Keith for resuming the reins and thus taking the load off Craig’s shoulders

    PS I love the site and visit almost daily . The one thing I don’t like about the current ( newer ) format is the way the damn thing dances about when you try to click on anything !!

  18. I’m not interested in some of the stuff on here but well done to Craig and the gang for all their efforts, if it was left to the likes of me (and the whingers) we’d be stuck looking at nothing.

    Can’t please all the people etc…

    and welcome back Keith (obsession’s not the word for it!).

    • That’s the best way of looking at it. Anyone and everyone has their chance to submit content should they feel current items are not to their liking… Those who don’t like it will find countless other channels for their delectation.

      One thing is for sure, some changes are a commeth and they will be worth waiting for. Craig did a pretty good job considering his work / home life balance and for that WE are all thankful for.

  19. After reading some of the disrespectful comments earlier I have been drawn out of the darkness to put finger to keyboard. Have been reading the site, having stumbled across it by accident, since around 2005 upon starting a new life in Oz.

    Mr. Adams deserves praise for the site and keeping it going all those years, welcome back.

    Mr Cheetham should similarly be praised for keeping the site going in the same rich vein as previously laid down. I await each update on the Cheetham-fleet to see what else is going to be unveiled.

    Mr. Humble is similarly to be thanked for his stories and ongoing saga’s with Rover’s that keep re-appearing.

    Carry on Chaps, you’ve all done very well and long may it continue.

  20. I too have been a regular reader and (apart from the odd comment) a not at all contributor to the site for many years.
    Being born in the mid 50’s and having a Dad who’s interest in cars probably caused my compulsive interest in them (especially as a child) has meant I’ve a strong nostalgic interest in (what was) the British Motor Industry & its products.
    AR Online has satiated this interest & I’ve really enjoyed reading nearly every article on here.
    I admit that although my own formative motoring years were spent behind the wheel of various Vauxhall models (when are we going to have the Vauxhall Viva story?) I still had many connections with BLARG products.
    I am amazed at the carping about what’s happened to the site during Craig’s (great) time in charge. I preferred things how they were ‘in Keith’s day’, but come on guys, if Craig hadn’t kept things going what we wll have been reading regularly over the past 12 months or so (whils we were probably supposed to be working!)?.
    Welcome back to Keith, thanks to Craig, please do stay in touch, and thanks too for Mike and all of the other contributors for keeping us so well informed & entertained.

  21. Everyone looking after the site has done a splendid job, but why the change? Is Keith still at Classic Car Weekly?

  22. Welcome back, I discovered this site by accident in 2002 and have never looked back. Keith and Craig have created a wonderful resource devoted to our one time biggest vehicle producer and a company everyone seems to have a love/hate relationship with, though most people seem to have a soft spot for cars like the Austin Allegro, as it reminds them of an easier time.
    For me, AR Online has brilliant discussions, interesting articles and excellent contributors, all helped along by excellent editors. I thought I was in minority of one by saying how much I liked the Leyland Princess until I found the car had plenty of admirers and owners on here.
    Also I have found a few people, not many mind you, who share my interest in certain large Vauxhall saloons that are almost forgotten now.

  23. @ Ken, the FE Ventora was a bit of a joke, but I was thinking more of the FD and FE VX 4/90s, the VX 2300 GLS and the original Carlton.

  24. Just changing the subject slightly, to illustrate the point, I play in a mid week cricket league that gives 500 blokes a game of cricket every week and is run by 3 gadgies who are way past retiring age.
    ..and yet at the AGM some one always thinks of a rule change that might squeeze their team an extra point.
    Well done to the gadgies and well done to the ARonline team for creating such a wealth of knowledge and keeping us amused and interested for so long.

  25. Regardless of the moronic comments from a dedicated few, the site has changed in content and editorial very little over the years, design and colour schemes have, it keeps teh site fresh and modern without losing its core base.

    And it is those people that dedicate THEIR TIME, FREE OF CHARGE to keep the site going, placing threads, trawling the WWW for more info that we might be interested in, and doing for the love of all things BLARG – but still we get those that consider it acceptable to be rather rude – well to those i say – If you can do better, go away and set your own site up, with the impressive knowledge base this has, keep it going for the best part of two decades, and i have been here for most of that.

    My one great memory was the Champagne Trip we did, now that was fun, and we finished the last bottle from the Vineyard only a couple of years ago (it was really great Champagne, and i will admit to knowing my fizz… LOL)

    I would love to do another one of these trips, unfortunately I no longer have a BLARG car that would be capable of doing that sort of trip, but, we loved it, I love the site and visit at least TWICE a day, every day, and read 99% of all news posts and reports, keep going, keep doing what you are, and don’t change anything, and definitely do not take any notice of those that have no commitment to keeping these brands and their histories alive and well, going into teh long and distant future.

  26. To the guys that run the site (or there just Craig/Keith?)-many thanks, i come on here & enjoy what i read & make the occasional comment (normally on rover 200’s).

    Regards, Adrian

  27. Well done Craig. I particularly enjoyed your articles on your GM marketing days and the MG marketing strategy which you were able to comment on with the benefit of your professional knowledge. Many thanks for holding the fort so ably.

  28. Welcome back to Keith. This remains the definitive BLARG resource, and will always be. Thanks Craig, I’ve enjoyed the site under your editorship.

  29. Ignore the haters, Craig. You’ve done a great job on here. I’ve enjoyed this site since around 2008 and have spent many hours at work reading all the development stories whilst I was meant to be working. Of all the articles that you have presided over, you deserve respect for all the coverage you did regarding MGR@10.

    One thing I’d like to see going forward is more development stories. I know that pretty much all the BLARG stuff has been done, so perhaps development stories of their competitors (both British and foreign)?

  30. Welcome back Keith you should never have left it always seemed to me that this site is your baby. No disrespect to the other writers if course. This is definitely my favourite website. I liked the defender storey too. I love going for a burn in my defender’s like the ideal and sports car….no not really but it us still a lot of fun. simple to work on and appreciated by all walks of life. Alex

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