Matt Ge­orge picks up a new mo­tor for com­mut­ing and tow­ing

Practical Classics (UK) - - CONTENTS - Matt Ge­orge

Con­fes­sions of the PC team’s buy­ing habits and daily trans­port choices.

I wasn’t look­ing for the Rover – it just kind of found its way to me. On a re­cent pho­to­shoot I’d men­tioned in pass­ing to arch-roverist Craig Cheetham that I was keen on a re­place­ment for my old Peu­geot 205 diesel. Hav­ing bought a trailer tent, I needed a big­ger car (and one com­plete with a tow­bar) to, well, tow it with. ‘I’ve got just the thing for you,’ teased Craig. ‘It’s a Rover 600, L-se­ries diesel. It even has leather…’ It was quite cheap, too. Craig showed me a few pics and I was sold there and then: it was only a mat­ter of sec­onds be­fore the words, ‘I’ll take it’, came out of my mouth.

All this means that, for once, Mr Cheetham is star­ring on the pages of Banger­nomics hav­ing sold an old Rover (shock hor­ror!) rather than ad­mit­ting to buy­ing yet an­other one, while its re­place­ment is most un-cheetham-es­que (see ad­join­ing page).

Craig had only owned the 600 since Fe­bru­ary him­self, so it was a bit of an un­known quan­tity. I changed the air fil­ter, oil and oil fil­ter im­me­di­ately as a mat­ter of course, then merely checked the coolant and brake fluid lev­els be­fore press­ing the car into ser­vice. I’ve had the car for three months now and it is per­form­ing well so far, prov­ing it­self to be a good all-rounder. The 2-litre diesel en­gine doesn’t of­fer much in the way of ‘oomph’ un­til you get it spin­ning be­yond 2000rpm (hello Nineties-spec turbo lag) but will cruise all day at mo­tor­way speeds with­out com­plaint. Even bet­ter, the lev­els of both equip­ment and sheer com­fort on of­fer in­side are streets ahead of the poverty-spec ‘Ju­nior’ trim of the 205 it re­placed.

Early in our time to­gether the front brakes be­gan graunch­ing when com­ing to a halt. This turned out to be due to the front brake pads, which were worn down to the metal… full value had def­i­nitely been had by the pre­vi­ous own­ers! I took a punt on a set of £10 NOS Honda Ac­cord pads via ebay in an­tic­i­pa­tion and, after half an hour on the work­shop ramp, we were back in busi­ness.

Since then we’ve been on hol­i­day to Snow­don in the car and it han­dled the task of tow­ing our Pen­nine Aztec trailer tent up hill and down dale in its stride, con­sis­tently man­ag­ing high thir­ties MPG with the trailer on the back. The 600 is do­ing ex­actly what I en­vi­sioned when I bought it. Yes, I do have to fend off the odd brick­bat about my ‘old man’s car but I don’t care. Maybe I am get­ting old.

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