£1000 Chal­lenge

The Rover’s still pil­ing on the miles and re­cently met up with an in­ter­est­ing blue three-wheeler (no, not that one)

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - CONTENTS -

Rover 216 Coupé

CHRIS HOPE News that the Re­liant Robin has re­turned to the road seems to have reached our trusty Rover 216, be­cause af­ter reg­is­ter­ing a num­ber of run­ning is­sues, it seems to have un­ex­pect­edly ral­lied all of a sud­den. Its re­cent trip to Sy­well Aero­drome in Northamp­ton­shire for the venue’s Pis­tons and Props cel­e­bra­tion of air- and land-based his­toric ve­hi­cles passed with­out any is­sues what­so­ever.

Just be­fore our Tom­cat learned that its £1k Chal­lenge com­pa­triot had passed its MoT and would im­mi­nently be driv­ing back to Peter­bor­ough, it de­cided to throw a new fault into the mix. Staffer Char­lie Calder­wood was treated to less than smooth cruis­ing on the A14 courtesy of the 216’s Honda D-se­ries en­gine on his way to the Bri­tish Mo­tor Mu­seum to meet with ar­chiv­ist Gil­lian Bard­s­ley (who’d of­fered to help him with his fea­ture ear­lier in this is­sue mark­ing 30 years since the pass­ing of Alec Is­sigo­nis).

In top gear, lift­ing off the throt­tle mo­men­tar­ily re­sulted in the en­gine de­vel­op­ing an un­even­ness as the revs fell away, rather than a smooth and con­sis­tent drop as would be ex­pected. Ap­ply­ing throt­tle caused the prob­lem to dis­ap­pear, and it didn’t hap­pen every time on the over­run, but of­ten enough to cause con­cern.

The Rover must have taken a dis­like to our Char­lie be­cause prob­lems only re­ally seem to oc­cur when he’s be­hind the wheel – no idea why, be­cause he’s one of the few peo­ple on the CCW team who drives it with any me­chan­i­cal sym­pa­thy! It was dur­ing his drive it to the Good­wood Re­vival that its un­even idle re­turned – se­vere enough at one point to re­sult in it stalling in traf­fic, in fact – re­sult­ing in a rather ner­vous, if in­ci­dent-free, drive back to Peter­bor­ough.

I took the Tom­cat to Sy­well a few days af­ter Char­lie’s visit to Gay­don, fully ex­pect­ing the worst, but rather puzzingly, it didn’t fal­ter once dur­ing the 80-mile round trip.

I had promised that the Tom­cat’s is­sues would be in­ves­ti­gated, how­ever mo­ments of rest were few and far be­tween, given that it was the only ve­hi­cle avail­able for CCW du­ties at the time. I treated it to a new ro­tor arm, ig­ni­tion leads and coil pack in Au­gust, will be check­ing for vac­uum leaks and in­tend to re­place the ig­ni­tion mod­ule, while at the same time clean­ing out the idle con­trol valve.

If I find no leaks and a new ig­ni­tor doesn’t solve the prob­lem, then John Batch­e­lor of the Rover 200 and 400 Own­ers’ Club sug­gests that I re­place the fuel re­lay, coolant tem­per­a­ture sen­sor and lamba sen­sor.

For now, though, while its run­ning prob­lems are only ever in­ter­mit­tent, the Tom­cat con­tin­ues to work hard for its liv­ing. It’s last trip out, in fact, was to meet a cer­tain tiny lit­tle blue three-wheeler. No, not the Re­liant, but some­thing much rarer and even more diminu­tive – a Scootacar, no less.

Speak­ing of the Robin, our pair of £1k cars were sched­uled to meet for the very first time, re­cently – I’ll leave it to you to de­cide whether or not the lit­tle blue hor­ror made it to the ren­dezvous with­out suc­cumb­ing to some drama or other.

‘I took the Tom­cat to Sy­well, fully ex­pect­ing the worst’ solup­tatur, eaque que et eni­hilia con­estrum que se­quodis si uta­tia ‘It’s most re­cent trip out was to meet up with a tiny Scootacar’

The Tom­cat ran out of pa­tience wait­ing to meet our re­liant robin, so it went off and found an­other three-wheeler in­stead.

1959 Hun­slet scootacar won chris over. Fancy swap­ping the robin for it, David?

stuck with the mod­erns at sy­well as it’s too new to go in the pre-’88 area.

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