Happy times are here again as the Project Rover 75 passes yet another MoT… but, as Mike Humble explains, this one is a milestone.
Before I go any further, I simply loath that East Riding beat-pop combo The Beautiful South – indeed, I also detested their previous incarnation The Housemartins. Going back a few stones ago, I had a girlfriend who played Happy Hour with such annoying frequency that I whipped the CD from the faithful Marantz and split it into more particles than an atom using a rolling pin on the kitchen bread board – I kid you not. Far better things have come out of Hull, in my opinion… the A63 springs to mind!
However, the song title used as the headline above is an apt one as the Rover 75 passes its tenth MoT since plopping off the Longbridge assembly track in 2002. I downloaded its MoT history from the VOSA website when I first bought the car on the south coast back in 2011 and she’s passed every MoT at the first attempt – not a bad record for what is, in all fairness, an old banger. Mind you, as is often the case, it was not without a couple of advisory matters that amounted to a little bit of play in a track rod end and a very minor leak from a connecting union on the power steering pump – for the record, both issues have now been sorted.
It was quite an odd experience this time at my testing station. A former (very) long stock SD1 of Derek J Ketteringham Motors was parked round the back awaiting its air conditioning system overhaul and my tester Craig was keen to show me his new motor – a facelift ZT-190 saloon. Its a little tatty here and there but he told me what he paid for it and he won’t go wrong but it did seem a little strange as he picked my brains about certain aspects and finer points of an R40. Welcome to the fold Craig… I hope you enjoy it.
Anyway, getting back to mine, she’s racking up the miles, with nearly 95,000 clicks on the ivory-coloured dial, and is running really well. Fuel economy is just on the right side of acceptable, the engine is still as clean as a new one and I haven’t needed to add any water under the bonnet if you exclude the washer bottle. There have been some running repairs of a consumable nature in recent months such as new pads and discs both fore and aft, so this might explain why it’s been all quiet on the Rover front – simply writing “yes, she’s running fine” doesn’t make for an engaging article!
However, the car still has to perform a key role in the Horsham household. The company Golf went back a few months ago so, apart from the odd test car here and there, this is my daily and only smoker (the AROnline Maestro lives here too, but that’s another tale) so I cannot accept anything else than good reliability. The supple and supportive seats still impress me as does the dual-zone climate control, the latter coming into its own in the recent scorching hot weather we have been blessed with down here – it showed 38 degrees last week!
Actually, the only let down with the Rover has been me. I had an overwhelming urge to buy a Cavalier Mk3 recently and one was lined up in nearby Hampshire – an N-plate 16v 2.0 GLSi none the less – but it slipped through my fingers. Working on a very strict “one out, one in” rule (Craig Cheetham could learn from this), the 75 was put on the open market. The very first caller came round, test drove it and left a £50 dipper with me but this was to be the last I saw of him and, indeed, the last he saw of his money. You’ve heard me use the term many times now – he was a messer!
It’s funny when I think of it though as this is the second time the 75 has succumbed to a messer but also it’s the second time profit has been made from them – in total £150. Believe me when I tell you the cheaper the car the bigger the heartache and, despite using all of my skills and craft when it comes to formatting an advert, the odd time-waster slips through the net. Despite my voice and text messages asking for an update, he’s never replied so this recent dunderhead has blown his bunts and, thanks to Mr. Hughes of West Sussex, Jacky and I enjoyed a lovely meal for two – thank you, Mr. Hughes!
I then had a call from a Polish gentleman who offered £600 over the ‘phone – he was duly told to wyrazny od rather promptly. This was then quickly followed by two callers who both made arrangements to view and both failed to show. By the time all this had taken place, the Cavalier had gone even though the vendor, who I knew, offered to hold on to it but I told him to take the first fist full of dollars. Another Cavalier came to my attention not far from Heathrow and the seller was offering to do some kind of deal for the Rover, but this also went rather pear-shaped.
Besides, after crawling round the M25 in mid-30’s temperatures, I was slowly beginning to change my mind – as other motorists perspired more than Rolf Harris in a communal prison shower, I was drier than a Mexican’s espadrille and cooler than an April shower thanks to that dual-zone climate control. Some K-Series owners would go into sheer panic at the thought of a 15 mile M25 tailback but mine is a truly sorted example and the only small dial that moved was the fuel gauge. Arriving at the Cavalier owner’s cesspit (house) the area, the car and the owner were simply put not fit for purpose.
‘Er indoors summed it up nicely when I got back home that evening. Pointing at the front room window, she told me to look at the late afternoon sun glinting of the chrome grille and said: “Please, if just for me, don’t sell it!” They say behind every great man is a great woman and that’s certainly true with her. She doesn’t really get too involved with my car antics, but when she does stick her two-penneth’s worth into the equation, she’s rarely wrong. That’s why, for the time being at least, the Rover 75 is staying put.