With February coming to an end it was time to sell car #2 the beautiful Rover 416 Tourer.
I'll be honest, I still can't get over what a great looking car this was. I thought I'd try selling it on various car forums, including the Rover forum before offering it up for the general riff raff of ebay, and it got quite a lot of comments and love from various forum members regarding the price of the beast, many people thinking that it's value should be up around the £1000 price bracket due to its condition, and it's rareity. But, although I would like to have thought that it would be worth £1000 - £1500, when I bid on it I only went to £800, which I thought was probably far too much! But as it looked so good I thought I'd chance it! However other bidders thought it only to be worth somewhere in the region of £500 which was lucky for me is where they gave up! Having a rare car (I think there's less than 300 left on the road) is not what makes it valuable. In my opinion you could have the rarest car in the world, but if no one liked it, or bought it when it was new, then theres a fairly good chance it won't have much of a following when it's old. This means it wont be all that desireable, and therefore despite being in great condition it will still have very little value. Desirability is what gives a car value and of all the 400 series Rovers the estate is possibly the least desirable, with the coupé probably being the most. So although this is a very nice version of the 400 series Rover, the only way it's going to make really good money is if there are two bidders who just have to have it, and I'm not sure how likely that is, but I figured that I would just have to see. Having said all that, as I watched the listing maturing throughout the week I started to think that maybe there was a chance that it would go for good money.
As a side note, and more about the selling experience on fleabay, rather than the owning and driving experience on the Rover, I find it a bit odd, that nearly a week on from the end of the auction listing I'm still getting emails from people asking if it's still for sale, and that they meant to bid but forgot, and that if the winning bidder doens't show up could I let them know as they'll buy it straight away! I've even had two people offering me £600 to sell it to them instead! The funniest part of all of this is that the exception of one of them, NONE of the rest of the people who have sent me these messages since the auction ended put a bid in in the first place!! Whats that about? I mean, if you want to buy a car in an auction then get with the programme and BID!!
2322 views, 635 watchers, 28 bids from 11 different bidders, I thought to myself, I dunno, maybe this IS going to go well! However, in the end it went for just £530, which is more or less where I expected it to end. Unfortunately for me it initially cost me £552 to buy, so that left me £22 down on the whole deal, actually, after ebay relieved me £30 for the privalige of listing and selling the Rover on their site, it actually left me £52 out of pocket! Not ideal, but for £52 I did get to experience one of my favourite Rovers of all time, plus, it's engine didn't blow up which all my friends kept telling me was going to happen at any moment! Not that there was anything wrong with the engine, but like I said before, as soon as my friends saw my Rover 416 all I had were horror stories of Rover K-series engines, and how they're unreliable and the head gaskets going to go at any moment so on and so fourth. Well, I'm pleased to report that the head gasket didn't go at any moment, and infact it behaved and drove beautifully the whole time I had it, and I can honestly say that I think it has probably got many more years life in it as long as it gets looked after like it obviously has been in the past. Of course, now my friends are all telling me that I had a lucky escape, but there you go! So anyway, when I decided that it was time list the old girl on fleabay, stand back, cross my fingers, and hope for the best, I took some clear photos, wrote what I thought was a good honest description, and started the auction at just £1. I always worry when I list things on ebay because of the seemingly high amount of people who bid without ever having any intention of buying and collecting their purchase, luckily for me, this time it didn't happen, and I had lots of questions from people who genuinely seemed interested in having it. The lucky winner was a lady who comes from Scotland, and she wanted to collect it next week. This wasn't good for me as I have other commitments next week so I asked her if she would like to have it collected, or come a little bit earlier. To my surprise she decided to fly down, and drive it the 536 miles home, which means, all going well that she should have arrived back home about 8 hours 38 minutes later... I got to hand it to her, this puts the people who say "I would have it if it was closer" in their place. Get out there people, buying a car and having a road trip is half the point and fun in owning a cool retro car isn't it?
And away it goes! She had asked me several times on the bay of E if the head gasket had been done, and I replied several times to say that I didn't know, as fastidiously looked after as this Rover was, I was quite surprised that I had absolutely no service history at all with it! I find this very strange because I would have thought that anyone who looked after their car so maticulously as this has been would've kept all the reciepts for any work they've had done, but I had nothing, nothing at all, well, except for the most recent MOT... This to me seems very odd! Anyway, more questions poured in, all asking about the head gasket, and timing belt, to which I replied that I had no idea. This I think is what may have put people off putting in a big bid. But I would rather tell people I didn't know what had been done to it, than give them false hope, and then have it let them down a couple of weeks down the line. However the lady who was the eventual winner collected it quite promptly, and after she and her husband gave it a good looking over, they said they were very pleased with it. As the drove away I thought that I was actually glad that this couple bought it as they were obviously into their 400 series Rovers by the way they talked about them, and it looks like it will continue to be cherished and looked after like it obviously has been all it's life.
Anyhoo, I'm probably rambling on like a babbling fool as usual when what you really want to read was what was it like to live with, yes? Well when I picked it up about a month ago it had just 102946 miles on it, and today, as it drove away from my tear filled eyes the odometer rolled over onto 103252 miles, which means in my month of Rover motoring I managed to cover a measley but thoroughly enjoyable 306 miles, mostly on the school run to be fair! This 306 miles used 34.8 foreign litres, or 7.65 English gallons, and cost me just £40, this all means that I was getting about 40 miles to the gallon!! Not too shabby for the skool run!! Actually, now I'm looking at it, thats pretty freakin' good!!
Under the bonnet the little 1.6 litre Rover K-series happily purred away, had plenty of power, was a joy to drive, and happily for me, didn't blow up! Which disappointed my mates no end I might add! It didn't use any oil, or water, and despite being told by pretty much everyone who saw it, it didn't make it's own mayonaisse either, so it was all good. I really don't think it could've been a better engine, although I suppose if you really wanted to make it a bit better you could do a turbo conversion. But in all honesty, for me, and for regular driving you don't need to. However, that being said the extra ooomph might be fun at the traffic light grand prix, if you should indulge in such things!
I know I've said this before, but MAN ALIVE THIS THING IS CLEAN!! It's also really really comfortable, and a very pleasant place to park your bum when you're driving! I really did feel like I was driving a brand new car when I was driving this little beauty about. Despite constantly looking at the temperature gauge as I drove along, it was a really pleasant driving experience.
Like the front seats, the back seats were a pleasant place to sit, my two little Monsters said they were very comfortable, but they didn't really like having to take off their shoes when they got inside. But I was determined not to let them get the back of this car grubby.
So what else can be said for my month of cool Rover ownership, well, for me I 've always liked the look of the 416 Tourer, I've always thought that you can see an element of BMW influence in the design, especially around the rear, and despite not really being a fan of BMW's I do quite like it, for me the only improvement in its looks that could've been made would've been if they'd made a two door estate version! To be fair though, life with this lovely Rover 416 Tourer was pretty damn sweet! But one of the things I can't work out is this, one of my Brothers had an Escort estate of the same vintage as the Rover, and one of my Brothers had an Astra estate of the same vintage as the Rover, they were all of about the same trim level, but neither the Escort, or the Astra were anywhere close to being as nice, plush, and refined as the Rover. So what the heck happened? Why is Rover no longer trading? I cannot imagine why when Rover built cars like this, are they not still around? My Dad has a Rover 75 Tourer, and again, its a superb car, really nice. So why aren't they still building and selling cars now? I can only imagine that Rover never really got over the reputation they tarred themselves with back in the seventies, that, and I believe that they were mis-managed by BMW when they took them over, and this really spelled the end for Rover, sadly this really is a shame when they could build and sell cars as good as this!
Anyhoo, that's two down, ten to go! NEXT!