Back to this month's car of the month


Car Of The Month :
February 2016

'Bertie The Beast' by Les4048

My MG ZT-T 260 now a 400 was an impulse buy back in 2012. I had just bought my Rover 75 Tourer when I was browsing car adverts and happened across this advert. The car was the 39th ZT-T built on the 17th March 2004 out of a total 114 cars

I was very tempted when I saw the ad as it ticked all my boxes regarding cars, it was red, a tourer and most importantly it was a mighty 4.6l V 8 from the Ford Mustang. I was a novice as far as MG Rover cars were concerned and was aghast at the price. After a few tentative enquiries on the forum which proved the price to be correct I phoned James to do a deal, a deposit was duly paid and arrangements were made for the six hundred mile journey to pick up the car.

I flew from Inverness to Luton where my girlfriend Carole met me at the airport, we then had to take the train from Leighton Buzzard to London then change to continue our journey to Alton where James kindly picked us up. I was very excited as we drove towards his garage in a Vauxhall Monaro, not a car that I was very impressed with.

The deal was duly completed and we were soon driving along the M25 in our ZT-T heading back to Luton, I had a huge grin on my face. The six hundred mile drive home was very enjoyable, a good test for the car plus it gave me a chance to get used to it. Once home all four wheels were removed, the big clean up had started

The engine bay was very grubby so once all the electrics were protected it was given a thorough clean too

The next thing I tackled was the lack of paint inside the boot area. MG Rover are not alone in this cost cutting exercise but I do like to see these areas with a good coat of proper body colour paint. With this in mind all the components were removed from the boot area and it was masked off ready to be sprayed.

In 2014 I made a major decision to get the paintwork on the car fixed. I took it to a friend who owns a body shop down the road from my work and asked his advice. After a thorough examination of the paint work, he advised a total block sand and repaint so as to achieve a flat surface again as it looked like there had been many poor quality repair jobs done in the past.

Many of the repairs he spoke of I had not actually noticed but once they were pointed out they were plain to see, so the decision was made to go ahead and get the car back to 'as new' condition.

The owner of the body shop gave me free access to take as many pictures as I wanted, so I was down every second day to see how progress was going, I was very impressed with the amount of preparation that is involved in doing a proper spray job

After the paint job was completed Carole and I set off to our first meet which was being held in Callender. Unfortunately on the journey down the A9 the air con compressor and electronic clutch seized which caused the serpentine to be burned through and break leaving me with no power steering and no water pump and alternator drive.

This of course left us stranded so we were stuck in lay-by 95 for five hours waiting on the AA to transport the car and us back home, there are not a lot of things to see on the A9 so I have no idea how we managed to play I spy all of that time.

After the car was relayed home I had to strip off the front bumper and after spending a fortune on the paint job I was slightly apprehensive but it all went well. The opportunity was taken to give the inaccessible parts a really good clean before the front end was rebuilt, the headlights were also refurbished while they were out of the vehicle.

Only one more project to do to on the car and that was to fit a supercharger. I very nearly did not bother but Carole encouraged me to go for it, so Dreadnought Garage were phoned and payment was made. There was a long time to wait for the kit to arrive, it gave Brain and Claire of Dreadnought a lot of stress, but they kept me well informed along the way and the kit was finally delivered to them late October 2015.

Mid November 2015, Carole and I drove down to leave the car with Dreadnought so the last 400ZT conversion could begin. Paul who carries out the conversions was very good and sent me constant updates on how things were progressing. Finally we got the call we were waiting for, my car was ready and so we took the train from Elgin to Inverness to travel onwards to Stirling.

We arrived in Inverness and took our seat on the Virgin train ready for the off but there had been floods on the West Coast line so this train was cancelled. Other arrangements had to be made and a quick phone call to Paul to tell him we could only get as far as Perth on the coach but he instantly told us it would be no problem for him to drive the forty miles to pick us up at Perth.

Bertie the the Beast can now wear his show plates with pride and we have Bertie the Bear sitting on the bonnet

Article written by member Les4048

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