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Car Of The Month :
November 2013

'Blue Horizons' by carguy143

My interest was first drawn to the Rover 75 and MG ZT in 2003 whilst, at the tender age of 16, I was employed by SGL/Phoenix to keep their stock presentable. Valeting those new cars with their price tags of £20,000 and above I really didnít think Iíd ever manage to be in the position of owning one myself, how things have changed!

I first saw my 190 during 2011 in a car park near to where I work, it looked a very clean and tidy example. I loved the unusual colour, Nocturne, sometimes blue, sometimes grey and on the odd occasion even purple. Iíd never seen one in this colour before and, apart from pictures online, never since.

A few weeks later, quite by chance, I spotted an advert for the very same car; the owner was selling due to the completion of another project. He was considering scrapping the car due to the silly offers people were making. I went to view and, despite the car being on SORN at the time, I decided there and then to buy it.

It was a rather large gamble for me having never even driven one. For the princely sum of £900 it was mine, a Monogram 2003 MG ZT 190 complete with drivers intelligence pack, 128,000 miles, full service history, 2 months MoT, seven wheels and an Adams & Webb back box on the rear seat!

Itís hard to believe the car once cost someone around £25,000 when new in 2003. Coming from a Rover 400 the MG ZT felt so much more the premium car, the doors were more solid, the steering more weighted and the engine note sublime!

The great feeling was short lived as the clutch ďlet goĒ in the middle of nowhere which required the master cylinder being replaced. I wasnít to know at the time but this was only the tip of the iceberg! This was followed by the failure of the radiator fan and the water pump all within the space of two months.

Fast running out of money I did at one point wonder whether it was all worth it, but decided to give the car a second chance, threw caution to the wind and had the repairs done. My one hope was that nothing else would require attention for the foreseeable future. At this point people thought me mad spending money on what is perceived to be an unreliable marque, unfortunately for me the car was living up to that reputation.

Thankfully my faith was rewarded and I had enough trouble free motoring to save up the costs to sort an advisory that had seemingly plagued the suspension for three years. New front struts and rear shock absorbers were fitted; the car now handles like nothing Iíve ever driven before.

The next gamble for me came at 143,000 miles; my circumstances changed which would result in my yearly mileage doubling. I had two options, buy a smaller or diesel car or convert the ZT to run on LPG. A tough call as the mileage was at what many would class as being rather high for a V6 petrol. By this time Iíd invested rather a lot into the car, that would all be lost if I replaced it with an unknown quantity.

Luckily there was a local rolling road day organised which was perfect timing for me to see how the engine was actually performing. The fact that it hit just under 185bhp, bearing in mind it would have been 187bhp from the factory, was in my opinion the sign of an engine thatís still in good working order.

An unexpected revelation when on the rolling road was that the car revs lower than most 190ís, only 2800rpm at 70mph, which would point to it having a different gearbox/final drive. I did decide to have the car converted to run on LPG and Iím really happy with it, V6 drama at diesel running costs.

Fast forward and my car has now done 159,000 miles, it has a few scrapes on the rear bumper which have been there from the day I bought her, along with the usual age related stone chips which I do intend getting sorted one day. As my daily drive she may well be dirty more often as not and can be the butt of jokes by North West members, but sheís mine and is growing old gracefully. She even managed to sneak in next to some classic MGís at a recent classic car show.

Iíve made some improvements, halogen projector headlights, thanks to vindaloo for sourcing these and rich17865 for fitting them, along with MG7 style rear lights. The interior is standard apart from the black oak dash. Future plans include a full leather interior as well as having the wheels refurbished.

ZT ownership has brought me, and my three year old daughter, many happy journeys together, taken me and my American girlfriend on an 1100 mile tour of the U.K. and has been by far the nicest car Iíve ever owned. I dread to think how much the car has cost me since I bought it but I can safely say I have no intentions of selling as the memories are priceless and far outweigh the financial cost. In my opinion, despite the lows, the gamble I took certainly has paid off.

Article written by member carguy143

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