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Car Of The Month :
January 2019

"Blue" ZT - Fate or Destiny? by Dawn

I have always loved cars – something I think I inherited from having a car mad brother ten years my senior. Usually, it was old cars, and for the most part MK2 Vauxhall Cavaliers for many years. The problem was, as the Cavaliers got older, I struggled to get them repaired, and in 2016 I decided it was time to look for a “modern” classic as a second car. I had never given a 75 a thought. Rovers were bad cars, right?

One day I was passing a friend of my late father’s who sold cars, and low and behold a white gold 75 sat outside his house – I have no idea why, but it interested me, and I came home and searched out the 75 club to look for issues and the best model for a newbie. From the help section and buying guide I deduced a diesel auto was the one. I popped back to the friend’s, and his car was both. I took it for a ride, noticed a few issues thanks to the guide, and later took the car home for the princely sum of £600.

I took “AYO” to a few Nano’s, had a few jobs done, and even got the car on the club calendar!

Late in the year I finally met Trikey to have a few bits sorted, but by this point I was already starting to feel ill. In December I was told out of the blue that I had a “large mass” and when I asked what “large” meant I was told the thing was “the size of a rugby ball” – this changed everything.

I needed major surgery, and they wouldn’t know what the mass was until it was out. My whole thinking changed. I loved “AYO” but I felt like now was the time to have my dream V6 just in case there was no later. In my mind, I was looking for a ZT, but I had a very short window to find and buy a car I could have a few weeks to enjoy driving, as my operation was scheduled for January, with weeks of not being behind the wheel after.

Eventually, with the help of my brother searching with me, I found a black V6 Contemporary that I liked. It wasn’t quite a ZT, but more a hybrid mash of the two. I took possession of the car just a week before my operation, but being behind the wheel as the engine made that lovely purr did give me a few last smiles before the bad stuff began.

After a few complications, I finally was let home after a week, and to my relief the following week I got the news the mass was benign. I couldn’t drive or do much, and spent a lot of time online. One day, I came across a trophy blue ZT that was a V6 auto literally a handful of miles from me. It was ironically the car I had really been looking for, and it looked lovely – although the advert was terrible, and I suspect that was why it hadn’t sold. I was a little sad – if only I had waited.

A few days later my brother came to visit and the topic got to cars, as it always did. I told him about the ZT and I saw his eyes light up, although at first he didn’t say anything. Days later again, I saw Paul and he had rang about the car – he told me that he really couldn’t justify having another, but it was what he had wanted – and that my experience had shown him if you want something, have it, because there might not be a tomorrow.

Paul viewed the car and later picked it up, bringing it around to show me. It was gorgeous. Yes, there were niggles, but nothing he couldn’t fix. Only 66k on the clock, two belt changes and a huge history file. She had the original dealer keyring, MG Rover dealer plates, even the tax disc holder was original dealer material.

We both now had purring V6 motors (and I had also taken on a 1.8 mad fool that I am!), and when I was able to drive again, we booked into the May Nano with both.

The night before the meet Paul rang me to say he didn’t feel well, and was giving the Nano a miss this time. Just four weeks later to the day, Paul passed away with a rare form of lymphoma.

To cut a very long story short, the ZT sat at his home then for some 16 months. I wanted to take it on, but his wife wasn’t ready, and we had very little contact.

The thought that my brother’s car was sitting, tyres perishing and paintwork turning green pained me, and one day at the Lincolnshire Aviation meet I saw an identical car and it almost brought me to tears. In the end, though, there was nothing I could do so I carried on spending money on my V6 and also the Old English white “Bones” I had bought in between.

Bizarrely, in October 2018 my sister in law finally contacted me to offer me the ZT. I was wary, as she had done this once before and backed out, but I had to try. I went over to view the car. What would it look like after all this time? Would it start? Would it be full of water? Would sills, underbody, brake pipes and discs be corroded?

Amazingly, it appeared in pretty good shape. The front tyres had cracked and the wipers disintegrated, there was some green mould to the paintwork, the discs were rusty, but she started.

I quickly put together a plan to get her MOT’d, taxed, insured and picked up – but this sadly meant I needed the room, and the cash, so my own V6 and “Bones” would need to be sold. Luckily, both cars found a home with fellow club members!

About a week later, “Blue” came to live with me, at last. How ironic that I had spotted the car in the beginning, and that my own illness had prompted Paul to buy her, little knowing what would happen to him so quickly.

She was meant to bring happiness into my family, that I am sure. She made Paul smile every time I saw him drive her, even though he had very little time to do so. And now, she makes me smile too, both with her V6 growl, and the last memories of Paul before his illness.

Looking ahead, I have lots of niggles to deal with, from tyre protectors, to new badges, rear seals, light cleaning, and a seat repair, but its all doable, and I will enjoy the ride. For now, she has already had new tyres, wipers, a nice rubber boot mat, the catch tank cleaned out, a broken key repair and an intense clean up!

I look forward to the rest, because this lady is the final part in my MG/Rover journey – and she is a very special one.

Article written by member Dawn

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