By Tim Smith
It’s been a while, I know. Truth is, I haven’t owned a car for over a year. In that time I’ve been renting, mostly. It’s been nice having a near brand new car every so often and it’s given me a taste of where the current affordable market is. Truth is, it’s largely where I left it, but that’s another story for another time.
So, after living in the war economy, student life, money pit, I’ve finally got myself into a position where I can save a bit of money here and there for the initial outlay needed to get me on the ol’ car market ladder. So what have I chosen to save up for?
A Rover 75.
A Rover 75. That’s the 37th best British Car as voted for by Autocar readers.
My first car was bought on a whim, with money that wasn’t really mine. So, this time, I’ve decided to do it properly. And doing something properly always involves lists and the ticking of boxes:
1. It must be in ‘Connessuir’, sorry, ‘Connesir’, wait, Ive got this… ‘Conn’… Eff it. Top spec trim. Not ‘Club’ trim. I’ve decided that the 75 will be my gentleman’s express and having blanked switches on the dash is a little uncouth.
2. It must be the pre-facelifted version. The later versions suffered from quality problems. And they were ugly. You can thank the Phoenix Consortium for that.
3. It must have the ‘Serpent’ wheels. These rather pretty looking things were used in all of the original press pictures when the 75 was first released, but didn’t appear to be actually offered for sale. Later they did. I have no idea of the process behind this. Either way, they do exist, and they do look good. Although not as good as those in the press pictures. Those buggers.
I’ll take it.
4. It must have the projector headlamps. They look cooler. I know it, you know it, even that bloke down the pub who knows nothing about anything knows it.
5. It must come in a dark colour. Preferably blue, but green is acceptable.
6. Here’s where things get tricky. I would prefer the two-and-a-half litre petrol V6, possibly with a bit of tuning taking it up to ZT190 levels, but realistically the diesel would be best. A four cylinder diesel doesn’t quite fit into the smooth image of the curvy 75, but I plan to use it for drive stories, and petrol is just a little too expensive verses consumption.
7. This leads me into another tricky issue. Like most people who enjoy driving, I prefer a manual, but having driven several different engines with several different types of transmission I discovered something interesting. Diesel’s prefer auto’s.
With a petrol, an auto blunts the character, the responsiveness of the driving experience. Diesels don’t start from a responsive place, but do need that cream of auto feeling to make things a little more civilised. Here’s a statement for you; I actually preferred an A4 2.0 TDI with a CVT to the manual. Yes I did.
As it stands, I’m half way to my car fund target. It should take another 8 weeks or so to make the rest up. Your choice of deity only knows how long it will take to find the exact model I want. Couple this with research into the issues and availability of what I want, and I may be lead to change my mind on some of the details.
One thing is for sure though. I’m gonna keep you updated every Monday at the usual Tim Smith posting time of 6:00pm, GMT.