Rover 75 | Shed of the Week10/09/2020
15 years after production ended, there's plenty going for a Shed-spec 75
By Tony Middlehurst / Friday, October 9, 2020
Shed has reached the age now where he will quite regularly find himself in a room with no clue as to what he's supposed to be doing there, or even why he went there in the first place. Even young'ns can have that happen to them, of course, but in Shed's case the rooms in question can sometimes have pictograms of ladies on the door, leading to embarrassment, misunderstandings and/or screaming.
This slowly growing randomness has started to affect Shed's motoring knowledge. So far, he hasn't forgotten the important guff about what makes a car stop and go and what sort of money he should be selling cars for (twice what he paid for them), but he does sometimes forget entirely about cars that he really liked when they were new
This week's humble offering, a Rover 75, falls squarely into Shed's mental hole. No so humble, actually. During its gestation the 75 was being heavily touted as a 'mini-Bentley'. By the time it finally came out in 1998 the accountants had had a go at it and things were different. Even so, it was still a very nice car with genuinely exceptional ride comfort.
There's only been one of these 75/ZTs in this column over the last five years, a smart blue MG ZT 2.5 V6 estate that popped up in the summer of 2015 with a long MOT and an £895 price tag. Shed can think of three possible reasons why the 75 and its variants might be such rare visitors here. One, they're being driven into the ground. Two, owners are happily hanging on to them. Three, the prices don't often drop into our sub-£1,500 bracket. Permutate any or all of these for any given car.
Whatever the reason behind this one coming onto the market, Shed does remember it being advertised for something nearer to two grand a week or so ago. The 'get rid of it' drop to £1,495 may be a reflection of the 75's waning star or a general suspicion about the reliability of anything modern(ish) with a Rover badge on it. A suspicion not that well founded in the case of 2.0 BMW diesel engined 75s like this one.
The German drivetrain had issues of its own – injectors, flywheels, clutches, cooling fans, crankshaft pulleys, fuel pumps etc – but it was at heart a very good engine. Most of the Rover's home-brewed weaknesses were hardly 75-unique: blocked polled filters causing damp footwells and/or ECU problems, airbag light caused by loose underseat connections, springs, bushes, suspension parts, that sort of thing. Even now Shed suspects it will be easier to find owners with positive rather than negative 75 CDTi experiences.
Barring the practically extinct Vanden Plas, the Connoisseur SE was the highest spec 75 you could buy. The interior of this one has that slightly faded granny's front parlour sideboard look about it. Wherever Rover got its leather from is one of the facts Shed has forgotten but he's fairly sure it was more Telford than Turin. There was something weird about it. It cracked and creased in the desired manner but the non-creased bits somehow managed to stay hard and shiny. The lumps of cabin wood looked good though and, as we can see here, they last well.
Last March's MOT was passed with just one advisory for a spot of corrosion on the nearside rear suspension arm, but the car looks pretty sharp in silver and it has a handy towbar to boot, or indeed below the boot. There's some odd spelling in the ad – what is this Antifeez stuff they use? – but that's not as important as the kind of service you can expect from a dealer, and judging by the Google reviews of this place they're a good bunch of lads. The only negative comment on there was from someone complaining about their security lights being left on at night. Which is kind of the point of security lights, but hey ho. They should think themselves lucky they don't live next to Shed's premises, what with the all-night banging. In his workshop, obvs.
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