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Car Of The Month :
March 2019

'A life In Cars' by Jim Jamieson

This is more of a life story but I have featured some of my cars along the way. Being raised on a farm, driving was in my blood from an early age so I honed my skills at the tender age of 13, first on a grey Ferguson TE 20 then moving on to a Fordson Dexta.

On the car side my family ran Fords starting off with a 5 cwt. Thames van followed by a another one then the first Ford Escort which was basically a Thames Van converted into an estate car. This was replaced by a Consul Classic 315 then after my father passed away my mum purchased what would be the last Ford, a 1200 Cortina on which I had to replace the crankshaft when I was just 16 years old.

Mum moved to BMC a forefather of MG Rover with a Morris Minor 1000 and it was in this car I learned to drive on the road subsequently passing my driving test just one month and two days after my 17th birthday. The Morris Minor was replaced with a Marina 1.3 Saloon by which time I had my own car, an Austin Cambridge followed by a Vanden Plas Princess1100. I was an HGV mechanic at the time and yes our fleet was mainly Leyland Trucks with a smattering of early Scania Vabis and Volvo.

Shortly after changing my job I was now working with a local Austin Rover Main Dealer and I purchased my first Rover, a 2000 TC. I was only 21 and couldn't believe I was the owner of such a lovely car. With promotion at work I was issued with a company car my first being a Mini, in fact I had several progressing onto Mini Clubman Estates of which I had 5 in just one summer season.

In those days our company cars were considered demonstrators and were for sale at any time. I moved "up" to Allegros mostly the estate version which I rather liked the style of then Marinas and Itals before moving down to Metros when business was getting tough. As you may have gathered I was faithful to the BMC, British Leyland, BL Cars, Austin Rover then MG Rover and I may have missed a few titles as the company changed names so often.

In addition to the company car I also owned a Triumph Dolomite 1850 and another Vanden Plas Princess, this time a 1300 automatic which I still own to this day. After moving over to Vauxhalls I returned to Rover when I was made redundant when I purchased my ex service managers company car, a 2.0 SD1 in Metallic Gold. This was followed with a more powerful 3.5 V8 Vitesse in Moonraker Blue which again I still own to this day.

I remain the second owner of this car and in 2006 I started a three year restoration where the car was virtually rebuilt with new body panels, not that the car really needed them as there was only minimal rust around the wheel arches with similar rust on the doors. When the car was stripped of its' panels all I had was the roof, floor and A & B pillars the C pillars being part of the rear wing which was renewed.

Anyway the doors were all re skinned, a complete new front end fitted and new rear wings with a custom made boot area to accommodate the addition of a duplex twin exhaust outlet Jaguar Style. This was added onto the already fitted Rimmers Sport Stainless Exhaust. I spent almost a whole week fabricating the new rear panel to suit the duplex exhaust and the end product looks as if it had been done at the factory.

When completed in 2010 I picked up best in class and best in show at the Scottish all Rover Rally at The Falkirk Wheel then best in class and best in show at the SD1 National Peterborough later that year. The car was also displayed on the SD1 Rover stand at the 2010 Classic Car Show NEC.

In 2002 we purchased our first Rover 75, a dealer registered 2.0 diesel Connoisseur automatic in Royal Blue Metallic with sandstone leather interior. It was during ownership of this car when I joined this forum where I have shared many topics such as My Two 75's and my suspension overhaul. During this time I also ran a Rover 418 SLD as a second car for a short period.

In 2011 a second 75 was added as a second car this time a 2002 2.5 V6 petrol Connoisseur automatic in Wedgewood Blue. This car was a low mileage example with just 36k and to my surprise I discovered that it had been built just 6 days prior to our diesel Connoisseur and had been despatched to the same Main Dealer in East Kilbride where we purchased our diesel model some 9 years earlier. It may even have travelled up to Scotland on the same transporter as our diesel back in 2002.

The Rover 75 has been the most comfortable car and the most reliable I have owned with our diesel being used right up to December 2014 when it was replaced with a 3.0 diesel Jaguar XF Premium Luxury. Meantime I continued to run the V6 75 on which I have carried out a full suspension overhaul where the rear suspension sub frame was removed and sand blasted. After re painting new springs with new rear upper arms were fitted. The front end received similar treatment with new OE front suspension units complete with OE drop links. The entire underside of the car was cleaned down and re coated with stone chip paint.

On the engine side new timing belts with new idlers, new auxiliary belt and new water pump fitted along with new thermostat complete with new piping and temperature sender unit. During my ownership the car has now had two transmission oil changes. I've always been a lover of accessories but ones which suit the car and this car has almost too many to mention but here's a few:

Stainless mesh upper and lower grille with fog light panel painted in silver, Stainless Duplex exhaust from the Cat back, Projector headlamps, 15" Union alloys with Union alloy spare wheel, Extra chrome trim on front and rear bumper, Colour coded twin pin stripe above chrome waist line, Fully concealed detachable tow bar with drop down 13 pin electrics, Additional sound insulation to boot area, PPD Rover logo front head restraints with original fronts fitted to rear, Modified cruise control switch allowing easier access to resume on/off function, additional walnut trim to dash board (Simon Bulgaria) and finally my own hand crafter walnut veneer door cappings. I actually supplied Simon in Bulgaria with templates for these door cappings to allow him to make his own styled ones.

As if my V6 Connoisseur was not enough in 2017 I purchased yet another one from a forum member, this time a 2001 2.5 V6 Connoisseur SE automatic in Zircon Silver on which I have carried out yet another full suspension overhaul. I have also renewed the timing belts etc. including thermostat and fully serviced the transmission. The saggy head cloth was re trimmed along with the door cards. I converted the passenger's seat to give height adjustment, fitted "Angel Eyes" DRL's with projector headlamps and fitted stainless mesh to upper and lower grilles. On top of this I have fully serviced the brakes with new discs and pads with the callipers stripped to bare metal and re painted black.

My decision to swop over to the SE was simply because it had more accessories on it like traction control, rear electric blind, Harmon Kardon sound, fold back mirrors, electric sunroof, Hi line sat nav and of course personal line blue leather trim complete with tailored carpet mats. My Wedgewood Blue V6 is now currently up for sale.

So I have owned a Rover car consistently since the purchase of my 2.0 SD1 back in 1986 some 32 years ago, although I have now moved to Mercedes after replacing our troublesome Jaguar XF with a CLS Shooting Brake, but that's another story and I haven't even mentioned my Mini.

Article written by member Jim Jamieson

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