Practical Classics (UK)



Were it not for the ULEZ, there’s a very good chance that T584 KFL would still be with its second keeper. A late Rover 820Si, registered in April 1999 (six months after the last 800 rolled off the Cowley production line), it was purchased by its original owner from Marshalls of Peterborou­gh at a substantia­l discount and in 2003 passed into the hands of an owner who would keep it for the next 18 years.

It lived most of its life in the Beckenham and Charlton areas of South-east

London, both of which are already within the ULEZ area. The chap was still using the car well into his Seventies, until 2021 when the imminent arrival of the ULEZ forced him to reluctantl­y part with it and was still running perfectly well with 72,000 miles on the clock.

He hasn’t replaced his faithful old friend because his pension won’t stretch that far – and therein lies what’s wrong with ULEZ in my eyes. Why should a pensioner have to give up his independen­ce when his contributi­on to exhaust emissions is minimal to start with?

I became the Rover’s custodian last year, swapping it with a mate for a Peugeot 405 1.9 diesel that

I’d rescued locally, so between us we’d kept two older cars destined for scrap on the road.

The Rover is a typical ex-london car. Years of on-street parking in tree-lined roads have taken their toll on the paint. On the plus side it has been largely protected from the rigours of grit-salted motorways, so it has never been welded and the underside is perfect. In short, it’s a well-preserved, functional and fully working old car.

Sadly, it’s also very typical of those that are falling victim to the Mayor of London’s ULEZ scheme.

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