Well, the Rover 75 Connoisseur is at home now, and my initial thoughts of this car being a complete shed were a little bit wide of the mark. Yes, it’s clear the car has lacked a little love recently (well, for quite a while), and there’s a long list of things to do (see below), but under the general grime, there lurks a perfectly usable and capable car. And that’s the idea – to demonstrate how a cheap 75 can be repaired and maintained to become a useful car; a suitable antidote to the general scrap-it policy that marks out the British approach to old car motoring.
It took a day to restore the paintwork’s lustre (T-Cut clay bar and Meguiar’s Techwax), and the interior took some cleaning, too. The seats were cleaned and fed by Glyptone’s finest products, and the dash was polished to within an inch of its life – and the genuine wood dashboard shined up a treat!
There’s a lot to do, though, before this 75’s good enough to take a critical female partner as a passenger in it – and here’s where it starts:
- Uprated headgasket and oil-spray, cambelt, water pump and oil/filter service.
- Coolant change.
- Investigate erratic idling.
- Re-secure battery.
- Clonking suspension from the nearside front when applying steering lock.
- Rear bumper impact damage. Replace the bumper with a secondhand spare.
- Nearside sill damage.
- Damaged driver’s seat and seatbelt that’s slow to retract.
- All four door cards need removing and reattaching properly; missing lock knob needs fitting to driver’s door.
- Replace broken cupholder.
- Replace the sticking indicator stalk.
- Repair inoperative electric mirror controls.
- Replace broken key.
- Replace missing kickplate trim.
- Fix the non-functioning reversing lights.
The sticking electric windows and sunroof were soon sorted – by WD40 to clean, and then grease to lubricate. Aside from this list of bits and bobs, I think the Linglong tyres need to go! I looked them up online, as I’d never heard of them, and the reviews are shocking. There’s one money-saving trick too far.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot to do, but it’s as much about time and effort as it is money. It should be easy to locate most of the parts that need changing in the interior secondhand, while the damaged sill should look much better once they’re both painted black. The real money – and time – will go into getting the mechanics right.
And that means the headgasket will be changed, and the car future-proofed. And will probably see out the life of the car.
Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...
Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.