Our Cars : Rover SD1 lives to fight another year

Keith Adams

Rover SD1 ay AJF Engineering getting its 2012 MoT
Rover SD1 ay AJF Engineering getting its 2012 MoT

I don’t know about you guys but, when it comes to the annual MoT test on my cars, I always feel a great sense of dread on their approach – as the day nears, I start screwing myself up wondering what on earth is going to fail and how much is it going to cost. With the Rover SD1, I had few worries – but worries nevertheless. After all, I am a glass half-empty kind of person.

Thanks to Richard Kilpatrick, the car had been safely stored while he did a few jobs on it during the winter lay-up. Most importantly, they included getting the battery properly clamped in and the starter relay replaced. Also, he fixed the clock on the dashboard and made the cassette player, er, play tapes again. So, a worthwhile few months safely parked up in the dry for the Rover.

In the run-up to the test’s due date, I got in touch with Adrian Fell – long time BL/BMC/Rover fan – and owner of AJF Engineering, based near Aylesbury – and asked him if he fancied testing my SD1. After all, Mike Humble’s hands are full with his Project Rover 75 and I want to meet as many of the British car specialists out there – and few come as committed to the cause as Adrian.

Anyway, when the big day came, I drove up to Richard’s place in Leicestershire, picked up the SD1 and drove it down for the test. And as journeys go, it was as relaxing as they come, helped massively by the SD1’s easy torque delivered by that lovely V8 and driven through long-legged gearing. On the motorway, it’s masterful (wind noise and lack of legroom aside), and it seems as though other drivers respect it enough to give it space on the road and not ride its back bumper. A refreshing change…

AJF Engineering is rammed full of British iron...
AJF Engineering is rammed full of British iron...

By the time I’d arrived at AJF, I was relaxed and hopeful about the MoT. After all, it stops, steers and drives as it should. And thanks to the efforts of Mike and Richard, everything electrical works as it should.

Adrian smiled when he saw the car and soon we were chewing the fat about all things British and car related. His passion for the cars stems back to the cars his parents owned back in the day – that led to his first car, an Allegro, and from there, a lifelong obsession followed. The SD1 looked magnificent on the ramps, too, and within the hour, I was in possession of a fresh MoT and a couple of easily sortable advisories. His business is based on an old military base and that meant he could have a quick test run without any traffic worries. His smile widened at that…

He’s got plenty of his own toys too. His yard is literally rammed with with MG Rover’s finest. And he already has me thinking in terms of buying another Rover 75. ‘Not enough people are patriotic any more,’ Adrian says. ‘It’s sad what happened to MG Rover but, with a proper maintenance, these cars can run reliably for years to come.’

I hope so. My SD1’s future is secure if Adrian is right. Now… to enjoy it for another year.

Adrian Fell gives the SD1's  underside  his full attention
Adrian Fell gives the SD1's underside his full attention
Keith Adams


  1. Enjoyed the read… though I will admit worrying over the MOT since you texted me mentioning the old girl was due.

    I`ll beg of you once more, keep the bloody thing for gawds sake.

  2. Good to see that even the rear jacking points have still got their rubber trims – that’s attention to detail.

    So, what are the two advisories, Keith?

  3. I agree with Adrian. BE MORE PATRIOTIC!!

    If you must buy a new car, and don’t have enough money for a jag / LR, then there is plenty of good foreign tin screwed together on these shores! Honda Jazz for a cheap sensible car springs to mind

  4. I agree will. Becoming a bit too in depth over here in NI.

    Over in England (not in the case of keiths car above), an MOT can still be bought down the pub I believe 😉

    (waits for a tirade of complaints)

  5. Yep when I resided in Scotlandshire, it was just down your local garage / kwik fit!

    So there were obviously ones that would rip the arm out of it especially if they thought you were a soft touch, but alternatively, people “who know people” who could get anything through an MOT!

    I remember mid 2000s bringing the computer printed NI MOT as the previous MOT to get a Scottish MOT, and they were amazed (was all hand written then, prior to the computerisation).
    No MOT disc, but there was a green sticker that I put the other way round in the tax holder to show that it was MOTd.

  6. Well Will, my own Rover 75, which I have owned for 1 year, and bought from the mainland is just getting ready to for it’s first NI MOT

    This is after I fitted the following parts which it needed desperately from the day and hour I bought it

    All Brake pipes replaced
    New brake discs and pads all round
    2 broken rear springs
    Worn engine mounting
    New wishbone bushings
    4 new tyres
    2 new strut top bearings
    handbrake cables.

    How this had an MOT never ceases to amaze me. Conveniently the chap whom I bought it from was a fire chief. Probably a well connected chap that passed a shoddy fire extinguisher in some back street garage in return for a fresh ticket with which to sell his deathtrap on ebay with!

    Needless to say safety is important to me, so I have fixed all this and more. Heres to many happy years motoring in NI!

  7. Keiths Rover is probably in better nick than from when it left the factory. Keith, if you sell this car, I will make you an appointment for a straight jacket fitting lol

  8. My Dolomite 1850HL and MGB are both ready for their MOT.
    ‘ll keep my fingers crossed…you never know.

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