My Cologne-based friend Joe is looking for a cheap car. Cheap means he’s going to shell out 600-700 eur, and not a penny more. Naturally, this means I hit autoscout24.de and mobile.de like an ’80s actor hopeful hits a plate of Colombian sugar.
The cars I procured just aren’t the kind of econoboxen that best serve anybody’s utilitarian interests. No, I was pulling Mazda Xedoses from the left and Alfa Romeo 156:s from the right, with a couple of swamp-damp looking Peugeot 205 and Opel Astra cabriolets in the middle. But this is what really caught my eye: a ’90s Jade Turquoise Rover 200-series cabrio. Take a look.
This British picnic basket is yours for the laughable sum of 550 eur, and it’s got valid TÜV inspection until Feb 2014. The ad puts the whole proposition nicely: “Ungeprüftes Fahrzeug aus Inzahlungnahme, aufgrund des geringen Wertes wird das Fahrzeug bevorzugt an Händler, Gewerbetreibende, Exporteure, Fachkundige oder Schrauber verkauft…” Oh, you needed that in English?
“Untested vehicle trade-in, due to the low value of the vehicle it is preferably sold to traders, exporters, specialists or ‘screwdrivers'”. I love the German phrase for a do-it-yourself mechanic.
The low value of the car is probably explained by one or more of the following factors: Dead brand, entry-level vehicle, ’80s Honda design masquerading as a 1990s vehicle, or the smallest engine available. The Rover has a 1.4-litre, 16-valve engine with 103hp, and while there is a bunch of Honda Concerto DNA in and under the skin, this unit is a Rover K-series engine that blows headgaskets yearly.
But that is such a meaningless thing to consider, isn’t it? For 550 (or less if you have any haggling skills), you could have a fresh-looking droptop for those fleeting European summer days. Even here we have one or two days of summer, and on one of those the Rover might just be in running condition. And it really doesn’t look rusty at all.
Inside, there is the token strip of wood as befits a British car. The seat material looks like Alcantara, but is probably closer to a fleece hoodie.
The odometer reading is a pleasantly low 155 000 km, which is confirmed “in writing.” The car is a two-owner vehicle, so the reading is probably trustworthy. And it’s not like anybody did any hard driving in these.
The link to the Rover ad can be seen here, on autoscout24.de. Would you snap up the 214i for 550 eur?
It’s not like Joe would take it; I quote, “Dude… That’s not at all what I wanted.” Wonder if it would make it to Finland on one engine.