Blog : Farewell, my lovely

Keith Adams

Keith Adams' Rover 3500 finds a new home
Keith Adams' Rover 3500 finds a new home

It’s a project that started over six years ago and finally, after extensive work by countless people to make this Rover 3500 as perfect as it can be, I’ve sold it. It’s been an interesting experience and one that’s seen a near-scrap early-build SD1 be transformed into what is arguably the best of its type left on UK roads. It’s proved that you can buy just about every part needed new and off the shelf, making this one of the most compelling classic cars you can buy today. Especially at today’s prices…

After half-heartedly trying to sell via various outlets, my Rover has gone to a new owner, David Wilkinson, who decided to take on the old girl after seeing the car for sale and deciding it was an almost perfect match for his father’s old car. Judging by the smile on David’s face when he came to pick it up this morning from Octane Towers, he’s pleased with his new car (which joins a rather impressive collection of Jaguars).

He’s promised to stay in touch and keep us all informed about how it fares in West London but, for now, I’ll just try not to be too sad about the SD1-sized hole in my life right now. I do have a new classic to replace the SD1 but, as that’s Italian, we won’t be seeing too much of it here…

But here’s a quick look, anyway. Wish me luck!

Keith's new Lancia Delta being prepped for its respray...
Keith's new Lancia Delta being prepped for its respray...
Keith Adams


  1. Good luck Keith! You’re gonna need it 😉

    Glad that the Rover has gone to a good home.

  2. Keith,
    that Rover looks fab and I was tempted to buy it back (I sold it to Keith) but I’ve got a very nice Jaguar Sovereign 4 litre x300 here now! Good luck with the Lancia!

  3. I have to say that judging from the photograph, Lancia’s build quality appears rather better than its reputation would suggest- love the way the front bumper lines up!

    But seriously- an excellent and interesting choice- I’d have one if I’d the money.

    In fact I’d have bid for the SD1 if I’d been in any position to…

  4. Out of interest, does your version of Delta incorporate Fiat Tipo switchgear? I had a Tipo 1.8i.e Granturismo (8v- fantastic traction and accelleration- crappy braking and wobbly handling), but the worst feature of that car was the switchgear, which had the headlight on/off and dip/full beam on the left hand stalk, with a rotary switch for the former- which meant that when suddenly confronted with an oncoming vehicle coming round a bend it was all too easily when trying to hurriedly dip the beam, to ‘roll’ the headlamp on/off switch to ‘off’ inadvertently. This, on several occasions would lead me to be facing a bend (and oncoming vehicle) with no forward lighting whatsoever!

    If so, I’d recommend fitting a separate switch for the headlights!

    Even with the knowledge of this unfortunate train, given Italian electrics, I’d lose full beam for other reasons, such as having driven in pouring rain, and the car having ingested water. So I got used to being suddenly being plunged into darkness. Not so much ‘Lucas- Prince of Darkness’ as ‘Magnetto Machiavelli’!

  5. *unfortunate trait- gah! Some parts of this site allow for editing (thanks Keith for pointing that out) but other parts don’t…

  6. I’m very envious of David, I would have loved to take the beast off your hands, but money’s too tight to mention!

  7. Have to say the Deltra Integrale is high on my wish-list of desireables. There is both a red and a yellow one local to us

  8. Hopefully the Delta doesn’t share the GTV fusebox, which I found self-combusted, giving the wipers sentience to do their own thing!

    Please keep us updated on how the Delta project progresses. It isn’t AR but it is a rare car with a bit of character!

  9. Good luck for the Polski Rover!! 🙂

    I am so jealous you got a Delta Integrale Keith. This car has always been in my dream garage and I’ve forever wanted one of these. One of my all time favourites. I’m very much looking forward to see how project Delta goes 😀

    As you mentioned on your post, the updates of the Delta may not be on AROnline. Will it be updated on Octanemagazine?

  10. I’d say HUGE character, but each to his own!

    Keith, if you’re feeling really adventurous,the Delta can be
    converted to RHD…

  11. I wanted that Rover but my wife said No!

    Seriously pleased that it has gone to a good home.

    Keith – good luck with the Lancia

  12. Look on the bright side, you saved the Rover from almost certain death and now it looks like it is in safe hands. The Lancia should provide enough of an experience to help replace the SD1 shaped hole, good luck with it!

  13. @5 – I had an Alfa 145 for many years, with the same switch-gear, and have driven a Tipo 1.8 ie GT (cracking car that, styling apart) – I’ve never had a problem with the light stalk – I can’t recall ever switching the lights off selecting full-beam – maybe the roller on your stalk was a bit loose? Can’t say I thought them awkward at all once I got used to them. I was disappointed that the Alfa’s stalks weren’t have illuminated though, which the Tipo’s were! Anyway, I don’t think Keith need worry, the Integrale doesn’t share the same switch-gear anyway! All of the Integrales I’ve seen are 70s-tastic on the switch-gear front!

    Congratulations Keith – you now own yet another of the cars on my all-time dream garage list! You only need a Paul Smith Mini, a Caterham Super 7, a Lancia Gamma Coupe and a Citroen CX GTi to complete the list! Enjoy!!

  14. Deltas are fun. I had a 1.3 and it handled really nicely and always had a ‘feel good’ factor. Make sure you join the Lancia Motor Club, it is one of the best!

  15. Never understook why people like Italian cars-they’re pooly made, frigile, electrically self-destructve and rot away in front of your eyes.

    Maybe I have the wrong idea of car ownership, but when I set out on a journey i want to get there on time and not on the back of an AA recovery truck.

  16. @chrisk

    Certainly in terms of the GTV it was fun to drive, made me feel like I was driving a mini-Ferrari, great engine note from the TwinSpark and uncanny handling.

  17. I have a plan. When my leg’s better, I’m going to sell my Voyager and buy an SD1 or Princess.

  18. @Richard Kilpatrick

    But your Voyager is a Lancia now, so you can share parts with Keiths Delta 😉

  19. #5 Chris Baglin –

    It was the ’93 MkII Lancia Delta which had Tipo column stalks – the MkII ran on a Fiat Tipo platform so some parts (eg stalks) were shared. Keith’s Delta is a MkI so it should have two separate stalks on the left AFAIK – a shorter one for indicators and a longer one for lights.

    Keith – good luck with your Delta – HF? Integrale?
    Many years after its demise, I can tell you everyone round here salivates at the mere sight of an Integrale – excellent rally car in its time.

  20. @18 – Oh come on! This isn’t 1979! Italian cars are no more unreliable or badly made than any other – I’ve had 3, and they’ve been either better built than certain mainstream brands (especially anything French) and more reliable than the 2 Swedish and 1 British car I’ve owned. And they’ve had fully galvanised bodies since the late 80s (partly developed with SAAB). Drop the clichés, please, it’s beyond boring.

  21. Bene! And don’t forget boys and girls, lots of manufactures still use Italian stylists. If it weren’t for Giorgetto Giugiaro, there are a lot of car designs that wouldn’t have happened- including the Mark1 Golf.

  22. great news as you have wanted to pass it on to pastures newit was so nice to see it go to a nice resting place and no more headaches for anyone WELCOME the new project and all its little headaches HAPPY MOTORING

  23. Good luck Keith and yes, I suggest You to put a relay switch down to the stalk switch. I’ve had a Lancia Prisma for years and a Delta as well. Both, the MKII Delta and the Prisma (with 2 stalks same as the Prisma one)had problems with the light stalk, they burnt at least twice.

  24. @25 – they don’t call Giugiaro ‘the maestro’ for nothing – I’m proud to have his name-badge adorn the side of my Alfa!

  25. Why did they call Guigaro ‘the maestro’? Was he a wheezy largely unloved dumpy looking man, prone to breakdowns and a figure of ridicule?

  26. @29 Nope. Thankfully. However, it was obviously a really bad day at the office for Britain’s equal – David Bache – no wonder he effectively retired after the Maestro!

  27. Is that a full on ‘Bobby Charlton’ I see? Perfect for the old ‘Over’ LOL. And all I can say with the Lancia, well, out of the fryingpan, into the fire? These buggers can be wallet rapers big style, and the driving position, well erm, orang-utan? It will put a grin on your face when you give it the beans. Get it on the Buttertubs Pass. You will have a severe ‘crisis’ driving it on there:)

  28. After following the SD1 restoration over the years was delighted to see OEG 622R driving down the A1000 in North London this morning, still looking as box fresh as all the new 13-plate cars on the road.

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