Our Cars : Keith’s Rover 75 – hanging in the balance…

Better late than never… It seems to be the story of my life at the moment. But here we are, and my beautiful Rover 75 Tourer went in for its MoT yesterday and, as always, that left me feeling like an expectant father with jangling nerves.

I was pretty sure it was going to fail. It had been parked up, forlorn since January (under cover) while I got my ducks in a line and have some time and money to get it tested. Firing it up before the test was straightforward enough. The battery was flat, but it jumped first turn of the key and, once the rear tyres were pumped up, I was able to get it home to tidy it up and take stock.

The drive to the MoT station via my place (I know, I know) revealed that it’s still a wonderful thing on the road. It accelerates regally and sits four square, riding comfortably and restfully on the road. Going by Rover 75 really is a truly lovely way to travel. The airbag light was staying on, which happened the last time it had been laid up, but otherwise, I had no major concerns.

That said, I needed to put some fuel in it, and slinging in £30 had the needle head just north of the quarter full mark, which is frankly quite scary. Even more so that, as I dropped off the car, I checked the fuel consumption and it was reading 31mpg. Double ouch! That’s not a freak result – when it was in semi-regular use last summer, I think the best we coaxed out of it was 38mpg. Not great with fuel tipping £1.80 per litre right now.

This afternoon, I received the call. ‘It’s been tested and it’s failed badly,’ my tester said. Ah, bugger that’s not good. After a bit of a conversation, it came down to this – both sills have corroded structurally, would need a good couple of days’ worth of welding, and a front spring had snapped. My tester said it was a clean break, and he reckoned it had happened very recently. Ah well…

Question is, do I do the work and save it for another year… or do I let it go? I think you already know the answer to that…

Keith's Rover 75 Tourer
Keith Adams


  1. Boy, they are a beautiful car! Both estate and saloon, though I prefer the estate. Good luck with the test and fixes…

  2. Good luck with continued ownership. It’s still a good car considering its age. I know what you mean about fuel prices. Putting £30 in my Focus ecoboost yesterday only took the guage from 1/4 to 1/2 full

  3. Yep fuel is eye watering at the moment. Luckily I now work from home as it would just not be worth working if I had to drive in everyday.

    She is certainly still a beautiful car, remembering seeing thec75 at the motorshow for the first time and then seeing the awkward s type and thinking they have got a winner there. I am sucker for that colour car. Fingers crossed its OK and nothing to expensive to get it through the MOT

  4. Surely if the airbag light is on then it’s a guaranteed fail?

    And I’m afraid you’re not getting any sympathy from me for 31mpg. Try 17.2…

  5. I know you will get everything done, Keith, because you are an enthusiast, like just about all of us out there on AROnline. As for the price of petrol, it’s not quite as bad as you might think. Where I now live, in British Columbia, Canada, we now have the HIGHEST gasoline prices in all of North America…even higher than in San Francisco U.S.A. A litre of Regular is now at $2.34 Canadian, which is about what you are paying…or even a few farthings more. Up until recently, petrol prices in Britain were about DOUBLE of what they are here…so imagine how bad it has become over here! Half of that comes from government extortion, in the form of all sorts of taxes… and taxes on taxes…However, this won’t stop me from driving, in moderation, my OTS E Type over the summer, as the pleasant feeling of driving that fifty-three year old classic can’t be put a price upon.

  6. Dump it.

    You’re throwing good money after bad. You would struggle to get £2,000 if it had passed, and what is the welding and the replacement spring, or more properly springs going to cost, because even on a banger, you ought to replace them in pairs. There is also the cost of fixing the handbrake, and hope that the airbag light won’t be on during the test.

    And you know that next year there will be a couple of lower arms and a tyre as a minimum.

    The corrosion warnings were on the last MOT, so you must have known that you were on borrowed time.

    You have only driven it for 1,000 miles in 16 months. Calling a taxi would be cheaper than sinking money into this pit!

    There must be something seriously wrong with the engine. I bought an X Type 2.5 manual as a winter car, and that does 30 mpg on V Power. 2006 with 40K on the clock, full leather, touchscreen, heated seats and windscreen. I put winter tyres on it. Perfect winter car, and the DVD based sat-nav finds destinations quicker than a brand new Peugeot 5008 that I had as a hire car. So much for progress! I paid £2,100. Makes throwing money at your Rover look pointless.

  7. If your Rover was 20 years older you’d be able to park it up for another year and then drive it without needing an MOT. Or road tax. Just like so many of these dubious ‘barn find classics’ popping up on ebay all the time…..

  8. FWIW its done well though. My namesake ADO16 failed an MOT with terminal rust when a mere 12 years old. They don’t make ’em like that anymore, thank goodness!

  9. Rimmer Bros may have the necessary metalwork in stock, possibly needing cutting down to size, and some of their prices look possibly a lot cheaper than making repair parts from scratch.

  10. A little creativity is called for here. My mate Mark just fashioned a wheelarch for his Chrysler Voyager from a sill for an HA Viva. My mate Sean in South Wales found that sills for his 1992? Nissan Skyline GTR would cost £2000 specially imported, so he made his own on a press brake. Over in the Western Valley, I once repaired rusty arches on an FE Victor with arch panels for an SD1. Springs, admittedly, are more difficult to build to order. But you should defo change both.

  11. It’s a difficult time to be an ageing multiple MOT failure with structural rust problems. The ‘drive and bin’ brigade might just weigh it in at this stage but those with more of a feel for cars might look to keep it going. Trouble is that worthwhile repairs won’t be cheap and you’re unlikely to recover your costs until such time as it starts to appreciate again. That could be another 10 years in normal circumstances but we’ll be driving hybrids and EVs by then and who knows what the legislative situation will be for older combustion engined cars generally and Diesels in particular (your 75 is an oil-burner, right?). But without ‘survivor’ cars there won’t be any ‘modern’ classics to look at in years to come. Tricky one!

  12. Be honest, it’s a banger. It won’t ever be a classic such that you would make a return on investment. It has far too many miles for that, and by the time you have finished it won’t be an original car as it left the factory. You need an original, low miles, pampered car for it to be a future classic.

    And even if repair sills are available, by the time that you have cut the old ones off, made the repair ones fit, welded and then had them painted, and tidied up, so that when you open the doors, you don’t see a total mess, then you have spent more than it costs to buy a similar car with a long MOT.

  13. Sill panels are available through a guy called Tom Hobbs (google him) and he makes them in sections so if only the rears have gone he will sort you one for circa £60 as I spent lockdown having mine replaced, removing the entire subframes and stripping and rebuilding them, stripping all the paint and underseal and recoating in body coloured RAPTOR bedliner. Maybe not a future classic but id have my ZTT over any rust old Jag. And i know because ive had many an S-Type and X-Type (all with rotten inner sills……)

  14. I saw a 75 in Gothenburg the other day, it was at the traffic lights and next to it was the current Volvo V90, the 75 looked tiny and with its small glass area its looks I am afraid to say have not worn well. It true to say the S60 from the same era has suffered similar issues, although not quite as badly, whilst the Saab 95 seems to have worn its even greater years better.

  15. I have a 2002 Rover 75 tourer in the CDT version had it built to order , still have I have now mothballed it in my double garage, I’ve have 342000 miles still on the same turbo and fuel injection system, solid car no rust underneath had it T40 waxed injected a few years ago and all the car is in good nick except the roof lining is starting to sag, but I have a donor car 51 plate in the same colour and spec which I bought years ago, kept out the sun, on the other side of the garage, with a perfect roof lining, as the sun on the roof kills the glue. so that’s kept in the garage for that reason, same colour copperleaf Red with the best alloy wheels in my opinion the Rover 75 Serpents, beautiful, I love the mark 1, with the tabacco orange dashboard at night it’s like a roaring fire, when the nights are cold. the Best car I have ever had of all time, the engine even now, does not use any oil between services and never smokes, clean as anything on running the engine, starts first time even after 5 months parked up in my garage with the black lead re-connected, I call it the British BMW…` her name is olde faithful…….I always look back at it when parked , and that is a sign of a beautiful looking motor car! without doubt.MG ROVER were a great company! should have never let them fall when they were making good motor cars.

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