After the success Mike Humble’s had with his Rover 75 1.8 Club turning it into a desirable and dependable daily driver, I decided that, for AROnline‘s latest project, I’d do the same thing – except that, for all of the work that will undoubtedly be needed to do on it, we’ll detail it step by step – from the interior makeover to the headgasket replacement and upgrade, we’ll show you how it’s done, and demonstrate that, just because a Rover’s broke, it can’t be fixed – economically and cost-effectively.
Our Rover 75 1.8 Connoisseur’s nothing special. It was taken in part-exchange by AJF Motor Engineers Limited – and Adrian Fell hasn’t done anything to it in preparation for sale. I wanted it raw, I wanted it as is. I wanted a project.
Anyway, what about the car? It has 125,000 miles on the clock and looks like it’s hardly been loved by its last owner. The interior’s grimy, the original stereo is long gone, and every one of its four corners has been grazed, despite (or because of) its retro-fit parking radar – all in all, it’s suffering from a distinct lack of love. There’s also a couple of deep scars on one sill and some deep scratches adorning the bonnet and bootlid. The engine bay is filthy, with evidence of previous overheating, and a distinctly oily smell when warm. Oh, and yes, there’s a trace of the dreaded mayonnaise under the oil filler cap. But under all the mess, I can see potential – a wafty, comfortable, cheap to run, daily driver.
With that in mind, I check all of the fluid levels before the 50 mile trip home, and fire up the K-Series.
Like all 75s, this one has an uncanny ability to flatten the most lumpy of roads and make you feel incredibly relaxed. It’s nice inside, too. The black leather interior with grey piping looks good and the driver’s seat is comfortable with an excellent driving position. It’s a glacial performer, though, especially when the (working) air conditioning is working. But I guess, no one bought a Rover 75 1.8-litre to go quickly.
Issues – there’s a few. However, we’ll go into those after I’ve been through the car with a fine tooth comb. I’m looking forward to getting my teeth into a decent project – but first, it’s off to chez Humble for a headgasket, oil rail and all the gubbins. Stay tuned…
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.