R&CC Fleet: Meet the Rover 45

I’ve had the 45 for a few months now, but have yet to write a few details about it. As some of you may have known, I had begun to fall out of love with the Mini, the sills needed doing and a scuttle leak I felt it was time to let go. It was much easier to let go off the Mini than I had previously imagined, having spent most of its ownership under me hiding in the garage from the elements or occasional show use, it was rarely getting used. With that in mind, I went about advertising it for sale at the end of 2012. It took quite some time, but it headed off in early November.

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With my Birthday nearing, I decided to take the plunge and look for a Rover 45. Why a 45? I’ve often talked about Rovers, and often merited the Longbridge cars but have never owned a saloon that carried the Rover badge.  Granted the Mini was a Longbridge car, but that didn’t carry that all important Viking badge.  My neighbour used to own a Rover 416 saloon and my Godfather a 416 hatchback and I was rather fond of them. The saloon more than the hatch, may I add.

Having previously driven a friend’s in 2.0 TD Club specification, it was with that I confirmed what I was after. The L series is said to be the more reliable unit of the engines offered on the 400/45, although the K series are fine once the MLS gasket has been changed.  My search started on the usual car sale websites, and led me to a cheap Rover 416 about 20 miles from home.  This example was fitted with the K series, with the all important leather, and seemed like a good idea as a quick project to smarten up for Pride of Longbridge 2013. So with all the key details covered I took the train to take a look at the 400. The appearance of the used car dealership was stuck in the 1990s, which was a slight concern. Once finding the 400 it became evident what looked like a solid 416 needed more work than I hoped. Sure, it was over 14 years ago but the neglect meant that it needed more than its value thrown at it. With that example written off I decided to go back to searching for another one.

There were many dealers advertising well specced 45s but the long distance to travel to them put me off.  As the weeks went on, and the Mini sold I upped the search. I spotted a well written ad on Ebay for a Rover 45 2.0 TD located in Chesterfield. Given that I live in Kent, and previously dismissed cars that had been located too far away, you’d think I would have ignored this one.  Sadly not, further enquires proceeded and I agreed to buy it for the princely sum of £1000. I mean, what could possibly go wrong?

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So, I had agreed to buy my first blind purchase that was 220 miles away.  A bit mad? Yes, maybe. I collected the car that weekend to find the car wasn’t quite as good as the ad inferred, but was solid and tidy enough to drive back to Kent.

What did I buy for the money then? A Rover 45 2.0 TD Club with 124K on the clock. Okay paintwork in places with nasty primer and lacquer over most of the car, sound velour interior (with the exception of the rip on the rear), working Air-Con and the bulk of service history.  Nowhere near concours, but that’s understandable at the price, but usable. Oh, and it a came with 6 months tax and half a tank of diesel.

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Now for the good news. It drives remarkably smoothly; diesel is quiet and averages about 45-50mpg. The L series is a competent unit, and is no slouch when you enter the use of the turbo on the motorway runs. It isn’t the fastest saloon in the world but does put a smile on my face, when the Mini didn’t.

What I have got planned for it? The 45 is going to have a new gear box gaitor and surround fitted, along with a set of Cosmos,  waxoyled on  the driver’s and passenger’s side footwell and the leak in the driver’s footwell dried and sorted.  I may have forgotten a few things.

For £1000 I don’t think I’ve done too badly, but once I’ve tidied up those bits it should be better car.  Hopefully 2013 should reveal it to be a usable Rover, even if I do miss out on showing my car at show season. 

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