Blog : Tony Gothard, a connoisseur of Bangernomics

We have our own Project Rover 75, but the bug has been caught elsewhere in the country.

Mike Humble returns to Tilbury to find out more…

The Essex King of Bangernomics

Tony Gothard’s new toy: his personal line Connoisseur Rover 75 2.0

Regular site readers will know about my contact Tony Gothard and his ever-expanding fleet of now famous Leyland Trucks. Soon to be featuring on the silver screen – the trucks that is – his properties both private and business are littered with all things to do with transport.  Even though on the surface his passions are WW2 aeroplanes, motorcycles and firearms – I love the last one – it transpires he’s a bit of a petrolhead too. But you do have to dig a little deeper to find out.

When I use the phrase contact of mine it would be more fitting to say good mate. Over the past few years we have built up a solid rapport and friendship. He’s laugh a minute company and, if he could tone down his colourful language, would make a killing on the after-dinner speech circuit. Tony is the sort of chap who calls a spade a big tool if you get my meaning. Every ‘phone call or face-to-face meeting ends up with both of us coughing our gizzards up from laughing.

Anyway, he called me up recently to tell me proudly of his latest purchase. Now normally this would be and piece of machinery or vintage lorry but this time he really did surprise me. Tony is now the custodian of an early Rover 75 2.0 V6 auto – arguably not the best drive-line from the R40 portfolio, but an interesting one. A short whizz around the bottom section of the M25 was called for to see just what he had sitting in one of his barns.

Can’t help but be jealous!

He’s fully up to speed with my own 75 experiencesbut I had to admit I did have a twinge of jealousy when I saw it slumbering. Purchased by his son from a local car auction sat a Connoisseur SE with personal line interior. It’s a little bit giffered around the edges, but is otherwise in fine mechanical fettle. No death rattle from the inlet manifold, working dual zone climate and cruise control, electric rear sunblind – the whole nine yards. All this for next to nothing and just 22,000 miles on the clock.

‘I put off buying one until now because I like a bargain and besides, I was waiting for the depreciation to settle down a bit.’ Tony Gothard

I asked him how come its taken so long to buy one, especially after he’d mentioned it was a car he always admired. In typically Tony style, he remarked: ‘I put off buying one until now because I like a bargain and besides, I was waiting for the depreciation to settle down a bit‘. My other half and his wife Diane just slowly shook their heads at his kitchen table as he said it. There’s never a dull moment when you are in his company.

We took it for a decent drive around the Essex countryside and I can confirm it’s a good one – in fact, better than that, it’s a bloody good one. The previous owner from new was an elderly gentleman who over time has pranged and marked pretty much every panel but plans are afoot to get the bodywork in good order once more. All I need to do now is to finish the final touches on my own 75 and arrange a summertime photo opportunity.

We’ll keep you posted on Tony’s new toy.

The wonderful interior and that half-timber tiller are all pretty much unmarked and everything still works. With just 22,000 miles on the clock and one previous owner, class never came cheaper – all it needs is a little bodywork and a damn good clean. Well done Tony!
Mike Humble


  1. I certainly would never consider a Rover 75 a banger. To me this was an expression from my boyhood in the early eighties, when cars wore out faster and became worthless after about 8 years due to rust and mechanical problems, and were often a distress purchase. There’s a world of difference between a Rover 75, which seems to have proven itself as a durable and reliable car if looked after, and a nine year old Cortina in 1982, which was usually a rust ridden and undesirable heap that only the poorest motorist wanted.

  2. Cars last a lot better these days, my 2001 Toyota Yaris was only just beginning to give trouble when I traded it in last year.

    At one time many cars were lucky to last a 10 years on the road, & might have needed work to get them through MOTs long before then.

    • It’s not uncommon to see cars like the second generation Nissan Micra still running, and thousands of Fords and Vauxhalls from the late nineties and early noughties are still in use, although this might have to do with sheer weight of numbers as well. Also would you have expected to see a Fiat with no rust over 5 years old in the early eighties?
      Cars really have progressed in terms of rustproofing and mechanical longevity since the seventies, although some of the electronics have become too complicated and modern cars aren’t designed for the home mechanic.

      • Good point on the second generation Micra. I see so many out and about that it’s easy to forget that many are twenty plus years old. Many Corsas from that era are lasting well. Another age defying one to look out for will be the Honda Jazz.

  3. I’m guessing from the description that this car is a year 2000 model or thereabouts so it looks excellent even prior to further valeting. Yes, cars do last longer these days, especially if looked after and not thrashed.

    My HC Viva in the 1970’s needed a front wing replaced at 4 years old and a second one at about 5 years.

    I hope Tony will keep us updated on this, now, (becoming rare) example.

    • Rather better than previous generations of Vauxhalls, the Velox and Victor FA in particular, where rust started almost immediately and the floor had rusted out after three years on some cars. The Viva and Magnum seemed to be no worse than other cars of this era and wing replacement was easy and not too expensive.

  4. Glenn… ironically my Dad’s first car was a 1960 Victor F and rust wasn’t a problem on that. It was kept in a garage though. Likewise his FC VX4/90 was in good nick when sold in 1973.

    True, wing replacement wasn’t too expensive on Viva’s but getting hold of one took a bit of time even though they were still in production. At 17+ years old (?) Tony’s R75 is a different story.

    • @ Hilton D, he must have had a good one, as the FA had a bad rust problem, but the FB and FC seemed better and the drive was far better than on a BMC Farina body. Also Vauxhall engines seemed bulletproof in the sixties.

      • Thanks Glenn. You are right, early Victor F series rusted badly especially with the exhaust pipe exiting the rear bumper. My Dad’s was the phase 2 version in 2 tone paint. He was a seafarer so the car stayed in the garage for a couple of months between sea trips (having the engine turned over once a week). Same scenario with the VX (that was one of his favourite cars).

  5. It’s a bit strange that the car is neither on SORN nor taxed , despite having a new MOT in March 2018. Perhaps it is still in fact in the hands of a trader

  6. Long gone are the days when you could pick up a used executive car with a mass market badge on that was usually quite reliable,( I’m thinking of second hand middle aged Vauxhall Carltons and Ford Granadas in the late nineties, that as they’d gone out of production had low used values). Then there were the big Japs like Toyota Camrys, Mitsubishi Galants and Nissan QXs that never sold in big numbers, so had low used prices, but were known for their rock solid reliability and massive lists of standard equipment. Such a market for large executive cars vanished in the noughties as the premium brands took over this sector and companies like Vauxhall no longer saw the point in competing.

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