In the real world, unless they are something really special, MGR cars tend to be as loved and
as valuable as a Gary Glitter LP. To us fans of the brand they are worth every penny
of what we are happy to pay
Putting the value on a used Rover or MG is a difficult thing these days. The newest one you’ll find today is fast approaching 11 years old in terms of its build date. It’s time to consider what the trade views and values alongside those of the fan-based community buyers.
Being one of the eight moderators on the AROnline Facebook page is, for most of the time, a fairly stress-free undertaking. As with any social media platform, this site included, it brings out the very best and very worst in people and most certainly is an eye opener. A lot of stuff comes round and around with regularity which is by no means a bad thing and we often get asked for advice, solutions and other requests and in return we try to help and, of course, entertain you through our posts while thoroughly enjoying yours.
But going back to Facebook, there is one topic I try to avoid commenting or advising on like the plague – valuations on cars. I really do sigh when someone posts about a car they have seen for sale, or about something they want to sell, and want to know what it’s worth. Those who know me will agree I rarely pull punches, and I have a realistic view on our beloved BMC>MGR cars. Driving round in my beloved MintEgo, I practise what I preach.
Nor do I wear what some brand fans become blinded by: Rover-tinted spectacles. When it comes to putting an exact value on a model, especially a post-Austin Rover, and even more so with MG Rover era cars, unless it’s something really special, the answer – sadly – is sod all.
Well, that’s the official real world view – if you don’t believe me, see what the salesman offers you at your nearest showroom to part exchange or text your registration number to Werobanyone.com. Make sure you’re sitting down when the text reply pings back, though. Before you throw your tea at the screen, hear me out. Your 1998 Rover 414 Si might be worth a million dollars to you, despite those raggy rear wheel arches, and I totally understand that. We Brits simply love the underdog and no other British brand conjures so much emotion – after all, just look at this website’s most popular content.
Only bombsite or low end used dealers stock MGR cars these days. However, so called prestige
used dealers quite often try their luck by peddling low-mileage, high-spec cars like the V6
Rover 75 for ambitious over-inflated prices. We are still a few years away from these cars
(V8 models being the current exception) from being true appreciating retro classics
Unless you browse at trader dumps, which emulate something like the runway at Port Stanley after the Vulcans had done their bit, you won’t see an MG or Rover these days. On the other side of the coin, wannabe prestige showrooms will try to sell a 2005 KV6 Rover 75 with low mileage for anything up to a hilarious nine grand. You and I know the muppet will have given £500 allowance against an 18 month old Kia Magentis, so he can afford to keep the V6 Connie gathering more dust than his rubber plants – and it will. For the average half-decent Joe Dealer, an MG or Rover is about as desirable in his showroom as a gas leak.
A good example of day dreaming dealers came to light just recently. Last year, Russ Swift (yes, the very same), had a small clear out of some of his own personal car collection. Among his tidy fleet was a pair of Austin Montegos. One was a Cashmere Gold 1.6L of ’88 vintage (below). It was very pretty, with just 17,000 clicks on the clock.
It was not 101 per cent tip top but was, nonetheless, one of the best examples out there. We broke the news last year, but sadly no one stepped forward to buy. In the end, Russ sold the car at a show to a trader based in Lancashire for an utter bargain price of £1800. Folks, you really missed out on that one!
Russ Swift owned this lovely 17,000 mile 1.6L for a short while and sold it to a dealer for just
£1800 who then priced it up at a silly £4000. After six months, it failed to sell so it went to
auction selling for a shade over £2600. By the time the dealer had bought it, stored it, MoT’d
and moved it from Lancs to Norfolk I doubt a penny profit was made.
A lesson in greed for all to learn…
It then popped on various websites with an opening gambit of – wait for it – £4000! The wording of the advert was so over the top, laying on with a trowel that it was Russ’s former car, that you would have thought it was the car which Russ actually used in the famous stunt driving Montego advert.
After almost six months, it failed to sell. It’s just gone through Anglia Car Auctions as Lot 66A. They placed their estimate between £2200 to £2600 and the car duly went under the hammer for a reasonable £2625. I spoke to Russ this week, and he seemed disappointed at the trader’s initial greed, but said he hoped it had finally gone to someone who had the time to devote some love upon it. Hear, hear, Russ!
I have always preached the verse that a car is only worth as much as the potential owner is prepared to pay. I, and others, have paid over the odds for motors in the past, for no other reason than that aforementioned emotion. This is the reason why some of the really nice examples change hands by word of mouth without anyone else ever having the opportunity to counter bid. Prime examples of that are my Rover 75 and my current Montego. The whole gig was initially developed through two blokes standing in a field just outside Peterborough – in fan terms, that’s how it rolls!
However, if you want to know what your motor is worth, look at similar model adverts on AutoTrader and so on. Be really honest, critical of the condition and price it up competitively with the others that you see out there for sale. My Humble opinion is to do this rather than ask on forum pages.
The actual thereabouts figure will be much more reliable and often more flattering. Nor does it come with a billion offensive or Mickey-taking comments which sadly spoil social media for those of us who adore our classic cars and for whom their value has more to do with emotion than just money alone.
Just remember, most of us own and sell our cars not as investments, but purely out of plain old love for all things BMC>MGR.