Weekend Edition: Rovercome By Variety- The Agony Of Choice

5002559370_9689f93cfb_b As Hooniverse’s official British Leyland apologist, it was bound to be me who started foaming at the mouth when the email landed. 1977ChevyTruck of this parish (hat-tip… thanks Good Sir) dropped a line to the official 24hr Hooniverse Emergency Rapid Response hotline. There’s a guy in Edmonton Alberta who, it seems, is having a bit of a clear-out of old British Tin. There are six to choose from, priced from three to ten grand (in presumably Canadian Dollaz). Of course, some of us already own a Rover, but the more, the merrier, right? Maybe, by digging up the front lawn and putting off any chance of a vacation this year, any home improvements or possibility of offspring, I could shoehorn another project in? Just one. But which should it be? The original advert will no doubt evaporate, but take the jump anyway to see what’s on his Great British Menu. This bloke, while probably a little eccentric, is nothing if not an enthusiast. For the benefit of the uninitiated he’s also taken pains to give us a little potted history on each of the cars on offer in his Kijiji ad. Some of what he says is a little over-embellished, but there’s certainly a bunch of passion being demonstrated here. Read on and make your choice. Might take a while. 1969 Rover P6 2000TC $_38 $_37 “Ralph Nader described the Rover P6 as, The standard by which all cars should be judged. It won the 1964 European Car of the Year Award, and this variant influenced European cars in the 60s. “This is not just a car….this is an Automobile, refined and accessible Rover. .. the mechanics are straight foreword, brilliant….this car was built to last, and to be worked on. ….it has locks for the fly wheel and overhead cam, so you can do a valve job and not change the timing, Brilliant. “Have you ever changed a water pump on a German car…WTF….how hard can you make it….no wonder they lost the war….British cars share parts with so many other British cars that parts are interchangeable. ….the P6 back brake pads are the same a Jaguar XKEs front pads, and it’s mechanical fuel pump can be found on a tractor. You can change swap distributor caps randomly. There are web sites to find parts that are for your car, but also fit 5 other makes. “FYI…I love British stuff” So, four grand for this one, and I agree that the P6 was one of those instances of a British car done right. But don’t let me influence you, there’s plenty more to see. 1959 Rover 90 (P4) $_35 $_37 “Ever heard of Land Rover, well before LandRover there was the Rover Car Company of Coventry, England, who made Rover cars, and the first Land Rover was a modified P4. They share more than just a name. Parts are interchangeable…in fact, my mechanic replaced the rear end gears with Range Rover gears to improve the top end speed. ….this car can go 150 km/hr…for a bit till the block gets too warm and the seals start to expand, it can cruise all day at 110….just ask me. I’ve owned the car forever, but outside of new ball joints for the lower track arms, I’ve done little. I bought 4 brand new, over priced, Dutch vintage tyres that give it better cornering than new…the sidewalls look like bias, but they are radials…..the front are rated at 240 kilometers per hour. “The brakes could use a booster, otherwise, learn to stand on the brake pedal. …drums all around. …I’ve never had an issue with them though….old school. “Bob the Bubble Car, has suicide doors….cool….and in the words of my mechanic, God help the Honda Civic you T bone, because the P4 is more truck than a car by todays standards” I’m not crazy about the Chocolate and Vanilla paint scheme, but this seems an honest enough example of the breed. $4,500 honest? I’m not so sure. I will say that I LOVE P4’s; they’re the car I’d be most influenced by If I had my way, a bottomless pool of resources and a steely resolve to bring Rover back from the dead. 1983 Jaguar XJ12 $_45 $_46 “This car screams establishment with it’s V12 double overhead cam posh leather interior and the extras. Forget BMW and Mercedes….if you want a Man’s car, this is it….. Nothing is sweeter than the sound of a true V12 engine. …. I recently replaced the entire exhaust system, so it won’t wake the dead….what a machine. .. Part of why I’m selling her is for some cash, the other reason is I own way too many cars, and at some point the cost of storage for 20 cars outweighs the joy of owning a car I only drive for 3 weeks a year, if that….. “My taste for cars has moved to much older British stuff. ….I love the mid 50s to early 70s stuff, and 1983 is an oddball for me. She’s not perfect, but drives like a dream and loves gas. My plan was to replace the rear lower body panels (which come with the car…NOS), but I have way too many projects on the go for that to happen anytime soon….maybe years. “She wants to be driven, and I don’t have enough time….” This is a nice break from all the Roverness, sneaking in as Jaguar were still under the British Leyland umbrella at the start of the ’80s. Just Three Grand for twelve cylinders of Lucas loveliness. Where do I sign? 1966 Rover MK3 (P5) Three Litre $_45 $_46 “One of two registered in Alberta, then it’s 500 miles till you’ll see one again. Known as the, Doctors Car, or a, Working Man’s Rolls Royce, this car is British Establishment…..a gentlemen’s car, built for a Queen…..Queen Elizabeth II had two P5s, but sold one years ago. “Margaret Thatcher insisted that all Members of the British Parliament and upper Diplomatic Staff, drive this car. Unibody construction with a straight 6 Rover 3 litre engine, single carb, aluminum Westlake head and electronic points. The only thing I have fixed, is a couple of exhaust mounts and replaced the needle in the carb. Runs very smooth. ..you can balance a Looney on the head of the engine while idling. “It has a Borg Warner type 35, 3 speed automatic transmission and Burman Hydrosteer power steering. The last owner added a P6 brake booster. …good idea. I own a lot of cars, and this is by far, the easiest car to drive…..it’s a Chesterfield on wheels. ….leave your troubles behind. It’s got an AM radio, Smith, but I’ve never turn it on, that would spoil the ride. “You are surrounded by leather and real Old World wood, and accessories at your finger tips. …why pay $100,000, when you can have this for $10,000. It can do 110 miles per hour (don’t ask how I know) but you wouldn’t know it. I should have named her the Queen Mary. I have lots of NOS and used parts that come with her….Maggie.” Ten bags of sand for this one. Nobility is thrown in gratis. This, or the V8-infused P5B variant which came a little later, are probably  seen as the Rover, and that’s no bad thing. 1974 MGB $_45 $_46 “I know it’s a little early to be thinking about Spring, but it’s been a mild Winter and who knows. ….the Bee is an early 74 and the tightest, most reliable, most complete, unmolested MGB I’ve ever owned. “Low mileage on a rebuilt engine and transmission and a valve job was done last fall. The suspension and exhaust has been redone recently, and the clutch and braking system was rebuilt last fall. “It comes with a soft top, tonneau, and back cockpit covers. The body is very straight, but the stainless steel trim should be replaced some time (I can help there) and the hood is not perfect, but it looks fine, no chips. She’s never seen Winter, so rust is minimal, and the paint looks fine by my standards….not worth a respraying yet. “The tyres are great and the right size and the ROstyle rims are straight, but could use a repaint someday. ….I have at least another 15 rims if you want to swap, or a set of 4, low profile, Minilites (a very rare item these days). All the electrical has been sorted out, no Prince of Darkness here, everything works as it should. New bulbs all around, including Hella headlamps. I replaced any damaged lens with original parts only “I shouldn’t sell her, Cherry. …that’s the thing, I gave her a name….not all my cars have names….just the ones I like, and there’s a story behind the name…..a play on words. “The car has been repainted with the engine out, at some point….if you repaint, paint it back to the original colour, Autumn Leaf. That’s why I bought it….for the colour and the year. ..my first British car, 30 years ago, and my girlfriend’s name was Sherry, at the time..All work was done under a licensed British Car Mechanic and comes with a vehicle inspection. I’m sorry the photos aren’t better, they were for my pleasure, not for a sales brochure. “Outside of racing down an Airstrip, I’ve never driven Cherry on the road, so i can’t say what her top end is, (the Airstrip is more of a, well groomed field, than an Airstrip) …that said, the car is tight. “Only serious buyers, that know a thing or two about British Cars…and if you tell me your going to drop a Honda engine in it, and lower it, and paint it purple, and flair the wheel wells, and put a big Whale Tail on the back, then put this crazy sound system. …..sorry, I got carried away.” TL;DR, SIX GRAND? It’s at times like this you wish you had better pictures, you know, to give some kind of clarity as to whether the engine is actually in the car or not. Six, Thousand Coins. I’m out, I’m afraid. 1966 Rover 2000 (P6) NADA $_45 $_46 “A very early example of the 1964 European Car of the Year. The car is very original and tidy registered car….just slap a plate on it, and your good to go. “She’s been driven for a month or two every Summer since I bought her, 10 or so years ago. Sorry for the crappie photos, the green one is another I have, the white one comes with factory hub caps, and yes that’s my white 1952 Jaguar Mark VII in the foreground. “I’m the second owner and it comes with all records and recipients from new, plus all books and pamphlets from the dealer, Webber Motors. Bought it off a little old lady who only drove it on Sundays to church. ..that’s a bit of a stretch. “I’ve been fortunate enough to have owned around 8 Rovers so far, and this one is special. The classic rust locations were dealt with years ago, so it’s the best unrestored P6 I have ever seen. What caught my eye when I bought it was the condition of the rubber. ..it’s like new….amazing. It’s white with red leather interior that’s seen better days, but I oil the seats on a regular bases. I’ve done a small fix on the drivers seat, just so it doesn’t get worse with original Rover leather from a donor car…..p.s. lots of parts available at very reasonable prices. “I haven’t had to do much to keep her going over the years, last year I replaced the exhaust system with NOS Rover original parts. …they just bolt on, and put an after market clutch master cylinder. Three years ago I gave it a valve job and rebuilt the brakes. She’s got brand new Dunlop tyres, and corners better then most, so called, Sports Cars….a true drivers car. “It’s got Dunlop disc brakes all around with the rear being inboard for less sprung weight, using a de Dion suspension tube found on many Alfa Romano, Aston Martin, Ferrari, Bugatti cars. This car was way ahead of it’s time and is still safer than most the vehicles on the road today. “The front suspension is a modified McPherson strut not unlike Porsche 911, with the coil and damper being mounted horizontal into the firewall. …it takes bumps better than any car I’ve ever driven ….at speeds. …amazing suspension. “It has a manual fully synchronize 4 speed transmission, single overhead cam with an aluminum Heron head over a 2 litre Rover engine. Originally the P6 was designed to take a turbine engine. “Please only serious drivers that like things that are made properly. It has a Royal Warrant, which means it was preferable to British Monarchy….the Queen, her Mother and Charles, all drove Rovers. ….Charles, learnt how to drive in one, a 3500…..” Again, some serious TL:DR. This one commands three thousand of your Canuck Dollars. It reads for all the world as if he really, really doesn’t want to sell and my guess is that his price will probably keep it that way, but, hey, what do I know? I’m looking at things from a UK viewpoint. For the right person (and he must be out there somewhere) this could be the deal of a lifetime. Show him a wheelbarrow full of cold, hard dollars and who knows, the admission fee could tumble. My choice? Well, if you’re going to have a project there’s no point in making things easy for yourself. I like the idea of mystery, danger and folly represented handily here by the XJ12. A fully operational, properly sorted XJ12 is, undisputed, a world class motor car and well worth putting yourself through the seventh circle of hell to get to. So, over to you. Which would you go for (please note you can’t say none of them). (All images belong to he who posted the original advert. We wish him best of luck with the sale.)  

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