Blog : The view ahead…

Alexander Boucke

While I know that about 3 per cent of the New Year have already passed, I will start with a look in the rear view mirror… Listening to a two-hour special on the local radio station playing just David Bowie songs, I am reminded that 2016 had some memorable moments, but certainly not all of them happy ones.

Maxi basking under Southampton’s sunny skies

Personally, it was not all that bad. With family life and the day job following a regular path, I found more time to spend with the cars. More of the family’s classic cars are now in a driveworthy condition than has been the case for quite a few years. All I really need to do is grab the opportunities to use them now – such as using the Maxi to go on a lengthy business trip of over 750 miles…

There is a certain luxury about not being forced to use planes, trains or rental cars when going out to meetings – it’s a good way to get more fun out of such trips, and even the petrol is paid for! Somehow my cars alway stick out on the parking lot at the events I attend – that’s because all the other cars there are less than one-year old!

Ex-banger rally car – a true survivor…

I even found the time to pull all the stickers of my brother’s old (banger-) rally car, revealing a quite nice Rover 827 Vitesse underneath. A true modern classic, or will it be a future daily driver?

Luckily, the daily drivers – the Rover Tourer and XM Estate – delivered sterling service all the time without much more than regular servicing. Both are roughly 19 years and over 180,000 miles old which shows that cars from the late 1990s are, indeed, a very robust generation.

A promise given in autumn 2015 saw me head to my personal Grand Tour in November – loading the Innocenti IM3 onto a trailer and towing it straight into the exhibition halls of the NEC to complete the most diverse 1100 Club display seen for a long time. The XM proved to be a supremely capable towing car, making the 450 mile overnight trip to Birmingham in the morning hours as enjoyable as towing a trailer possibly could be.

Driving on British motorways can always be a bit hit and miss, bad driving standards or heavy traffic – or both. Trying to stick to the legal limit for towing felt at times quite hazardous, as every HGV was driving faster. I therefore quickly aborted that idea (sorry) and tried to fit in with the flow of traffic. The Classic Motor Show proved great, as did meeting so many like-minded people. I was glad to find that Brexit was not a topic of discussion at the show and I felt as welcome as ever.

Some time ago, I wrote a blog about my difficulties when trying to think about a replacement for the Rover Tourer. Now, just days before Christmas, this topic raised it’s head due to a careless moment on the part of another motorist. The outcome was not pretty, but luckily no one was hurt – just the thing you do not really need at this time of year. To keep the family mobile, a replacement was very quickly sourced.

A well-kept, one-owner Peugeot 306 with low miles and fresh test was found in the local small ads. It does indeed drive well and feels like it could go on for the next decades without much trouble – but the refinement and ambience of the Rover is in a different league. It feels rather strange to have two French cars as daily drivers and not another ARG product…

However, as always there is a silver lining – just as the look in the rear view mirror that was going to reveal a bright sunrise…

Here, at AROnline, we are looking ahead to some exciting events which we will be visiting this year:

… and many more.

Will we see a return to a banger rally after more than a decade of abstinence?

Finally, a decision needs to be made about whether I’ll hang up my Rover coat for good or get the Tourer repaired.

Watch this space…

Alexander Boucke


  1. Great update Alexander!

    Sad to see the state of the tourer, but the 306 ‘sedan’ is at least rare (in the UK at least) and therefore reasonably interesting. A mini 406. The ’06 generation Peugeots were amongst the best.

  2. Really good update. The 306 was a lovely car and brings back fond memories from many on the rental market.

    For me 2017 might mean a new car – an XF to replace my lovely old X Type estate? Definitely if my son gets his way!

  3. The 306 is indeed a very nice to drive car and not particularly ugly in Sedan form. With the 1.4 engine it is no ball of fire, but it has to be said that the engine does a rather good job. Interior materials quality and seats are a class below the R8, even the late one. It does however show how bad the ergonomics of the controls are in many modern cars.

    • Especially the current trend for putting all of the auxilliary controls – heating / radio etc. into a tablet in the middle of the dashboard. Touchscreens are fiddly to use while walking, never mind driving!

  4. Alexander, since you’re German I have to ask this…

    Why do the bad guys alway drive Jaguars in the old Derrick episodes?

  5. Always had a soft spot for tourers. Bought a 97 nightfire one with 1.6 K series in 2007 and when that got smashed between to cars in a tail and head crash i bought a rare brooklands tourer with all the extra wood trim and the brooklands green exterior colour. Sold that last year to get a 75. The tourers been our most troublefree rover ever. Super reliable and practical. Nice!

    Funny btw that you but an old grille-less bonnet on your tourer.

    I say fix the tourer. They are among the rarest of the R8 family

    • Our Tourer is one of the late K-engined ones. I just could not stand the chrome tat stuck to the nose… Also seats, carpets, centre console, heater panel, rear lamp units, alloys (summer) and hubcaps (winter) have been replaced by (imho) much better parts from a 1990 car. Sadly though the Tourers here in Germany never got the electric rear windows ghats have been standard fit in the Netherlands…
      Fixing it comes down to a major point – how much the insurance pays out – and a minor point – if I am confident that the K-series will reach 250k and more miles without too much trouble… If repaired it should actually last a few miles.

      • Hope you fix it. Tourers are rare, even in UK, but any early R8 should be good as a donor car. Reminds me of a German-registered Range Rover towing a Humber Super Snipe estate on a trailer out of Tenbury Wells some ten years ago. It is now entirely possible that Tenbury is down to its last Super Snipe!

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