Back to this month's car of the month


Car Of The Month :
April 2013

'A Celestial Moment' by Simon.h

The story starts in 2001 during the launch of the “Z” cars at an MGR showroom in Reading, Berkshire. The bright red sports saloon was in the corner of the showroom sitting low on its huge wheel arch filling 18 inch alloys and with its twin stainless steel mesh grilles, I thought MG have got it spot on it’s the best looking sports saloon on the market.

I walked away from the showroom with a brochure and price list knowing I had to have a ZT. There was an immediate problem though as I normally have the cheaper work horse in the family it would be sometime before I would be able to get my hands on one.

I watched the used prices drop until April 2009 one for 'spares or repair' was listed on ebay, I was outbid in the last few seconds. A week later it was relisted, I phoned the seller and after some discussion he agreed to let me have it for £600 cash as long as it was collected that day. Within two hours I was heading to London in my wife's S type Jaguar towing a hired trailer.

I’d bought a 2001 ZT 160 bhp V6 in solar red, 8 previous owners with a lot of issues that needed addressing including mouldy seats. It did have some good points however, it was a 160+ with xenon headlamps, the bodywork was in good condition, the engine sounded fine and it was fitted with a stainless rear box which sounded great.

During the following six weeks I sorted out most of the problems the car had and fitted a second hand LPG system. The ZT was back on the road with MoT for the total cost, including the purchase price, of £1200. Over the next few months I repaired a bumper and fitted seats. The ZT was then used daily by me for the next two years and was 100% reliable.

Then one day February 2011 I was driving home along the M4 when this lovely light blue facelift ZT passed me. I hadn’t seen this colour before and made my mind up then and there that I just had to get one in that colour.

I spent the next few months scouring advert’s looking for a ZT in the particular shade of blue and finally found one for a ZT190 with factory fitted LPG for £1500 which looked like it might be the colour I desired.

I contacted the seller who was a trader located in Birmingham, he advised me that the car had one week of MoT remaining and had an LPG fault. I decided to that a 2 hour drive to view was worth it to check if it was in the right colour.

The car was a 2003 ZT190+ with the following factory specification:-

Finished in Celestial Supertallic, one of only seven produced, with seating in Royal Blue Alcantara, both upgrades would have been ordered from the Monogram Programme.

• Dual-Fuel
• Sports Suspension
• Self- levelling Xenon headlamps
• Headlamp power-wash
• Heated screen washer jets
• Battery backed up sounder
• Rear ultrasonic parking aid
• Auto rain sensing wipers
• Photo-chromatic rear view mirrors
• Highline instruments incorporating message centre and trip computer
• Electric rear sunblind
• Boot mounted 6 disc CD player

The car had travelled 70k and came with a full service history. The bodywork was in great condition and it drove perfectly when on petrol but had a bad misfire when using lpg. I decided there and then that it would be mine and left a deposit.

Shortly after getting her home she went in for the MoT test which she passed without problem. The LPG misfire was found to be due to two faulty LPG injectors, these I replaced with some second hand ones sourced for the princely sum of £150.

The dual-fuel systems were not fitted by MGR at the factory but by Ecogas Systems Ltd and were installed after the car had been completed by the factory but prior to delivery to the supplying dealer.

Now we all know our 75’s & ZT’s need constant love and attention, mine is no different a list of work done so far:-

• Retrofitted cruise control
• Replaced rear broken suspension spring
• Replaced front to rear brake pipes
• Replaced handbrake compensator, with thanks to Arctic
• Repainted sill trims
• Replaced both headlamp gas burners
• Re-plumbed LPG vaporiser, due to freezing up
• Replaced single horn with air horn
• Fixed interior chrome door handles
• Replaced thermostat
• Replace aftermarket cat with second hand one as it was rattling
• Replaced again cat after second started rattling
• De-cat and refitted the second cat
• Replace air conditioning compressor, due to whining
• Replaced the gearbox, due to whine of final drive
• Replace clutch and slave as the slave was leaking
• Replaced head unit for Kenwood
• Replaced Kenwood head unit for double din touch screen satnav
• Replace all 8 speakers in the doors for high power ones
• Fitted bass box with two high power amps to power all speakers
• Drivers’ seat re-trimmed
• Replaced inlet manifold gaskets
• Fitted Jules plenum drain shield
• Fitted in-car camera

During early 2011 I was approached with a request to show her in the Monogram showcase at the “Zed Ten” event being held at the Imperial War Museum at Duxford on the 24th July 2011. This event was to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the launch of the MGR “Z” cars the idea being to put together a collection of all the Monogram colours available. I’d not shown one of my cars previously, I accepted and my car was featured in the events line-up.

I have now owned her for over two years which is quite a record for me and have no intention to let her go for the foreseeable future.

Article written by member Simon.h

The Rover 75 & MG ZT Owners Club Ltd 2006-2023