‘Would you be­lieve I've been done for speed­ing in this?'

1936 Rover 14 P1 Wil­liam and An­thony Hamer, Cum­bria

Practical Classics (UK) - - YOUR CARS -

How did you come by this old thing, Wil­liam?

'I have a clas­sic bus hire busi­ness, Cum­bria Clas­sic Coaches. With the wed­ding hire part of the busi­ness grow­ing, I had a grow­ing num­ber of re­quests com­ing in for a vin­tage car, along­side the coaches. I love old Rovers. so hav­ing han­kered af­ter one for sev­eral years I was de­lighted when a 1936 Rover 14 came up on ebay at a price that seemed too good to be true. It was well de­scribed and had a good num­ber of pho­tographs on the list­ing but we weren’t able to go and view the car as it was a bit far away.'

How far away was it then?

'Err… in this case ‘far’ meant New Zealand, where it had been bought new by a farmer who had used it up un­til the Six­ties. Af­ter that he left it to rot in a field. A farm-feed rep had seen the car while vis­it­ing the farm in the Seven­ties and bought it for the princely sum of £60 be­fore restor­ing it over ten years to near con­cours con­di­tion. Sadly, he be­came un­able to drive the car as his health de­te­ri­o­rated and that’s when he put it up for sale.'

How did you get it here?

'It cost a fair whack to trans­port the car over here in a con­tainer and get it reg­is­tered for UK roads, but amaz­ingly it was still cheaper than buy­ing a sim­i­lar car in the UK and I now I wouldn’t swap it for the world. When it ar­rived, I had the ig­ni­tion sys­tem stripped down. Then I put it all back to­gether af­ter a thor­ough elec­tri­cal ser­vice. We do it at the end of ev­ery wed­ding sea­son. With the amount of wed­dings we do, we’re in­her­ently aware that it’s not the done thing to break down on the way to the church, so it gives us the mo­ti­va­tion to en­sure all the ve­hi­cles – buses in­cluded – are im­pec­ca­bly main­tained.'

What was it like when you got it back on the road?

'With every­thing re­assem­bled, I took us for a spin in it, where it be­came clear that the car was quite a chal­lenge to drive on the Cum­brian hills. With its crash gear­box and rather lack­lus­tre en­gine, I had to work hard to get the best out of it, but the smile on my face was con­ta­gious – I call it proper driv­ing. And would you be­lieve I’ve been done for speed­ing in this? I went on a speed aware­ness course, but I think that re­ally I should have been pre­sented with a cer­tifi­cate of achieve­ment…'

How did you start this all?

'We have now been run­ning Cum­bria Clas­sic Coaches for 17 years. We started hir­ing the first bus out for wed­dings, and it was al­ways a bit of a worry that we might not be able to deliver – what with clas­sic ve­hi­cles hav­ing minds of their own – so it made sound busi­ness sense to ex­pand the fleet to two buses. Then one thing led to an­other and the fleet is now up to six buses plus two coaches and, just for con­trast, this 1936 Rover 14!'

TOP RIGHT Whoa – slow down, Wil­liam! RIGHT A fit­tingly classy ride for any bride and groom. Rover 14 has joined the Hamer fam­ily bus fleet .

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