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Car Of The Month :
November 2014

'The Black Raven' by watkindj

S428 DEH rolled off the Cowley production line on the 7th January 1999. It became Slough Motor Company (SMC) Roverís dealer launch vehicle and spent many months on display in their showroom. The car was put to good use as a demonstrator until it was eventually sold to its first owner on the 9th July 2002, having by then only covered a total of 624 miles.

Subsequently it was purchased by another dealer, P.G. Green Ltd in Northampton, in 2005 and used as a company vehicle by Pat Lockton, one of their employees; from 2007 to 2008 it wore her private plate A697 PAT.

In August 2008 it was reunited with its original registration number when it was sold to Mr B Murphy of Birmingham. It stayed with him until he moved and sold it to ĎíHouse of Carriagesíí for the owner to use as a daily runner where it stayed until I purchased it on 26 April 2011.

I had actually been looking for an Austin A30 as I am a fan of classic cars, but on visiting the showroom was struck by the car; so sleek and black, just what I needed for weddings to transport the family and at the lowly sum of £900 a deal was struck.

At the time of my purchase the 75 had travelled a total of 123,000 miles, this was confirmed by the many MoT certificates in the vehicles history file plus by the comprehensive dealer service record, it has since only travelled a further 700 miles. I had only driven it a few times before somebody made the comment that as it was black it would be better used for funerals; it was at that time I retired it to the garage.

Interior, note it has walnut trim surrounding the hazard lights and locking switch whereas most early vehicles were I believe black, the rear compartment has hardly been used.

Six weeks after buying the car it was vandalised whilst parked at a friendís house, shock horror as it now had a big key scratch all the way down the nearside. I was determined not to let the culprit get away but he did. The car was very promptly repaired by an old friend in Swaffham.

Where are we today; unfortunately itís very rarely used, itís just had its first MoT since I have owned the car, it failed due to corroded brake lines and cloudy headlamps so the lights were polished and new brake lines fitted front to back, MOT then passed with no advisories it now awaits the next MOT with trepidation as it does not get used as often as it should.

Rear view showing the blank boot plinth.

I donít use the car every day but I now use it more carefully since finding out recently, after being a member of the forum since April 2013, that not only was it a rare pre-production example number 001432, but due to the helpful members of the forum, according to the build records the only black pre-production 75 made.

Article written by member watkindj

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