Our Cars : Keith’s Rover 75 Tourer starts to take shape

Hello to the first update of my Rover 75 Tourer running reports. Firstly, I should start with an apology for not getting much updated or uploaded on to the site, but it’s been a busy few weeks back at the homestead, and my capacity to get anything written for AROnline has been severely limited. So if you’ve been waiting with baited breath to see what’s been happening to my Tourer, your wait is over.

I guess the first thing to say is that it’s already likely to stay around a lot longer than most of my cars. After having run it for a few weeks, and concluding that this is one very nice, and useful, motorcar, I took the unusual decision (for me) of buying a year’s insurance upfront and committing to it being around for a while. For anyone who read my introduction to this car, it’s come from a loving owner, former BL Public Relations man Ian Elliott, who’s owned the car since 2005 and, although it’s been worked hard at times, it’s not needed for anything.

However, I knew I wasn’t going to leave this one as it was. The first thing that’s been sorted are the wheels. As well as getting this lovely car, Ian let it go with a set of 17-inch Star Spoke alloys, with three near-new Firestone tyres. Obviously, I took the one wheel that didn’t have a tyre on it to my local tyre fitter, asking for a matching tyre – and two days later he called to say it was done, and could I pay him £104, which I did.

Duly fitted, I have to say the 75 Tourer looks a whole lot better and, driving it, there has been a slight degradation in ride quality, but the handling, grip and steering feel have been transformed – so I figure it’s a price worth paying. The original 15-inch Comet alloys are shod with recent Pirelli P6 Cinturato tyres, so I’ll be keeping those, possibly to refit come the winter.

One thing I noticed when poking and prodding the car after getting it home was that none of the cupholders seemed to work. Now, as I’m not really a big fan of drinking and driving, that’s no biggie, but it’s never good to have something easily fixed not working. So, when I had a workshop day, the cupholders were pulled out and repaired. It seems that the front one was simply stiff through lack of use, while a spring had become displaced in the rear one (above). They’re now fixed, so I can sleep easy at night.

The issue of the sat-nav (below) thinking the car was in Prague was also pretty easily sorted. It’s simply a case of re-programming the unit to say where you are at that particular time, and then letting it run while you’re driving to pinpoint itself more accurately. This had happened on a similar head unit in an Audi S8 I had, so it was good to see that fixing it was exactly the same procedure.

However, there’s a handwritten note on top of the sat-nav unit located in the boot. It says, ‘battery drain – two days’ on it. I will investigate to see if this is still the case and then look and see what can be done to sort that. While I was messing with the stereo set-up, I refitted the multi-changer and added some CDs from my own fine collection – Enya comes out sounding clean and crisp, so there’s nothing wrong with how it plays.

The recent hot and dry weather combined with my workload means that I’ve not had much of a chance to look into the water ingress into the passenger footwell, but the consensus seems to be that it really is the sunroof drains – so I will get into that when I get a moment to remove the glovebox, as that seems to be the best place to access them. It’s a good job that I’ve managed to get it into my carport without too many dramas.

Speaking of the hot weather though, obviously the air conditioning has decided to pack up when I needed it, and although I’ve not had a proper look, it does look like the pump has packed up given the bearing noises coming from it. It’s always the way with these things – it was 25 degrees and I was on my way to a hospital appointment. I went to the office to pick up the 75, turned it on to let the interior cool down before getting in. A couple of minutes later I climbed in and it was roasting, with the face vents pumping out hot air. Bugger!

Weirdly, when I started up the car again a little later, chilled air was coming out again, so I thought it was a one-off, possibly related to the HVAC panel playing up. But ever since then, it’s not blown chilled air. So, it gets added to the list of things to do as I’m not sure I can live with a car like this that doesn’t have climate control!

Rover 75

Anyway, other than that, it’s been as good as gold. I need to make a return visit to Ian’s to pick up a spare tailgate he has (this one has some internal rust on it) as well as a boot liner and other bits and pieces. The list of jobs to do currently runs to nine items, but hopefully my workload may ease off a little (he says optimistically) and enable me to give this car some more TLC. I suspect a session with electrical contact cleaner will sort out the non-adjusting mirrors (the switch pack needs pulling out and cleaning), and may well also sort out the stereo’s non-functioning controls too.

What continues to impress me is how together this car really feels. It drives with a solidity and stability that belies its age and mileage, with a particularly impressive demeanour on the motorway. Although it’s not as economical as I’d have hoped (it’s averaging 35mpg according to the onboard computer), it has a nice, long fuel range and, thanks to the remap, it’s lively on the road. Other drivers seem to treat it well on the road, which has come as a bit of surprise given my previous experience with Rovers – perhaps it’s now unusual enough to be viewed as a classic rather than a Bangernomincs motor.

We shall see…

Jobs on the list:

  • Fix non-functioning air conditioning – to do
  • Fix non-functioning keyfob – to do
  • Refit interior driver’s door handle – to do
  • Investigate damp carpet in passenger footwell – to do
  • Investigate current drain from sat-nav system – to do
  • Investigate oil smoke from engine pre-heater – to do
  • Investigate door mirrors that won’t adjust – to do
  • Refit surround for rain-sensing wiper unit – to do
  • Investigate non-working cooling fan and fit new Kenlowe – to do

Keith Adams
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7 Comments

  1. Sounds like the pump on the a/c. Had the same prob on my old S60. £104 for a Firestone seems steep, about £90 at my local tyre place. Still a gorgeous car and like many in here we are jealous.

  2. Will be interested to see what you come up with regarding the current drain. Our 75 suffered from the same problem and it also had the same nav system. Battery always went flat after a few days, and we never did get to the bottom of it. Everything seemed to ‘go to sleep’ as it should with no excessive current draw from the battery, but left for a few days it always went flat.

  3. I don’t tend to hear about Firestone tyres these days. I thought they were taken over by Bridgestone?

    • It’s been a Bridgestone brand since 1988, usually same tyre compounds but slightly cheaper than the parents offerings.

      • Thanks Dave H… very useful info. My Dad’s Vaux VX 4/90 had Firestone radials in the early 70s. That was the last car I remember seeing Firestone on, though Bridgestone is more popular nowadays

  4. “perhaps it’s now unusual enough to be viewed as a classic rather than a Bangernomincs motor”
    I think the bangernomics crowd will stick with Micras and Aurises and Avensises. The 75 is a great car but it needs enthusiast ownership and won’t last long in the hands of a bangernomics guy.

  5. The 75 should become a classic as it was the last big Rover and those that are still running are often immaculate and loved by their owners. Something like a 54 plate Fiesta is probably only seen as what we used to call a runner, a car near the end of its life with an MOT and six months tax that will probably go at its next MOT as it is uneconomical to fix. Also the classic potential for a Fiesta Style is somewhat lower than a Rover 75 Connosieur.

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