Nick’s 75’s clutch goes kaput during a long drive up north. Cue the AA van…
Despite having recently been treated to two new tyres, my Rover 75 decided that its clutch should expire on the A1, en route to an assignment.
There was hardly any warning. I thought I’d detected a bit of clutch slip a couple of weeks earlier, though it had seemed fine since, and performed faultlessly on a journey of some 150 miles to Donington and back.
This time my satchel was packed for a mission in County Durham and I wanted to go and create havoc at Spurr Classic Cars in Sheffield on the way back home.
Travelling up the day before turned out to be a wise decision – the car started losing power at an increasingly alarming rate shortly after a lunch stop near Grantham and the stench of hot, failing clutch pervaded. I thought I might be able to limp the car home but it and the clutch decided that we were going nowhere. I had no option but to call the very nice people at the AA.
This being a Sunday teatime, I was expecting a long wait and a trailer back, but the yellow van was there in less than 40 minutes and, boy, things have changed – it turns out that its Vauxhall Vivaro patrol vans are now fitted with towing frames.
The Rover was at Ellingworth’s Garage in Peterborough within an hour. Colin the AA man, who has been in the job for 41 years, owns a 1969 Volkswagen Beetle and well remembers renewing Austin Allegro front suspension ball joints at the side of the road. The worst cars as far as he is concerned during his career were the Reliant Robin and ‘anything French’.
I grabbed a stray 2001 Nissan Almera Sport (it’s a long story, but apparently it’s deeply rare) and arrived at my destination just 90 minutes later than originally planned.
Ellingworth’s had the car back on the road in three days and luckily only the clutch had gone – often the so called ‘chocolate’ flywheel is taken out too. Oh well, no Club 18-30 holidays in Marbella for me until the bill is paid.
Repairs to the Rover 75 have cost more than the car itself is worth, but what do you do? I’d have to find and pay for another car that wouldn’t have the cachet of having survived being hit by a Stagecoach bus. A good look over the car prior to the work being carried suggested that everything else is OK, so the Rover lives to fight another day. It even made friends with its older brothers at the Rover P4 Drivers’ Guild AGM, alongside the Gaydon Spring Gathering at the British Motor Museum.
The AA delivers Nick’s 75 to salvation at Ellingworth’s Garage. Ellingworth’s gives the Rover a good going over. Rest of it seems okay! The 75’s clutch was toast.