how my affair with Rovers began
by Mike Jenkins
It started in 1988 in Vancouver Canada
where I had been living for the previous 20 years, after emigrating from the U.K
as I am English.
I have owned many different vehicles in
England and Canada and in 1988 I owned an Austin 1800 MK2.
The person who owned the parts shop for
English cars in Vancouver owned a Rover TC2000 and advised me that there was
another TC for sale.
I bought this TC and together with three
other Rover owners started what is now the Rover Car Club of Canada.
One Saturday morning I was parked in the
high street doing some shopping when I spotted a P6B parked on the other side of
the road. It looked immaculate, unlike my TC that was being eaten away with a
rusty undercarriage. So I decided to wait around for the owner to come by. An
elderly gentleman came back to his Rover and we made friends immediately. I
asked if I may have a close look at the car and he obliged.
I made the usual important checks eg.
Rocker panels, undercarriage, base of trunk (boot) and found no signs of rust,
looked as if it had come straight from the factory.
I then looked at the odometer and my
heart missed a beat as it read 36,000 miles.
I wanted him to join our Rover club with
this fine specimen but he explained to me that he originally bought this car for
his wife to drive, but now she is not driving any more due to being an invalid.
He also drives very little and was considering selling it before.
I asked him if he would consider selling
it to me and he said yes if I gave him $4,000.00
I said that I could not come up with
that kind of cash right away but I could make him a interesting proposition. I
as a local electronic security business would make his home secure, and enable
24 hour emergency response for him and his invalid wife.
This idea did appeal to him and the deal
was made. I fulfilled my commitment for his home and handed him $2,000.00, we
were both happy especially him knowing this vehicle will be in good hands.
I also made a promise that each year the
Rover will appear in the local All British Field Meet that takes place in
I was pleased to return to him on many
occasions bringing with me the plaques won for being judged 1st or 2nd
or 3rd in class at these shows.
Serial number: 43300879A
Engine number: 43000776
Original licence date: 9th October 1971
1st plate number by me: Personalized Plate Number 72P6B
2nd plate number by me: Collector Plate Number B41 215
In 1996 the blue Rover became 25 years
of age and in British Columbia a vehicle that is in good and original condition
and is not a mass produced car, is eligible for collector status.
Collector plates will allow the owner to
drive his car for pleasure purposes only, and to pay approximately 25% of the
cost of registration and insurance.
I was very pleased to display my new
In 1997 I attended the annual All
British Field Meet as normal in Vancouver. During the day on the grounds, a motor
mechanic friend of mine told me about another P6B that has been sitting in a tow
yard for the past two years near to our home, and that I should get it for
I made a visit to this yard and sure
enough there was a Rover sitting there between many junk cars covered in leaves
and dirt. I asked the attendant if I could look at it and he said sure.
To my amazement it seemed intact and
nothing missing and upon close inspection the engine compartment was complete
and oil in the engine, transmission intact and with fluid and brake fluid in the
I returned to the attendant and asked
why this car is here and he advised me that they were given instructions by the
dept of transport to remove it from the street as it had no registration and had
I asked the Manager how much it would
cost for me to take it away and he said it would cost me close to $1,500.00 as
it has two years of storage charges plus the original towing charge.
So I thought very quickly and advised
him that I had just inspected it and found the drive shaft cracked, the
transmission fluid completely gone, not to mention the engine that could be
blown. Of course I believed nothing of the sort has happened to this car, but
even if a major component has gone it is still a good parts car for me.
So after this explanation to him I
offered him $400.00 to get it off his property as it will be there forever
taking valuable space. He then suggested I give him $600.00 and he will include
the title of the car in my name and deliver it to my driveway at home, and he
would clean it up before I get it.
Well I instantly agreed for that as I
figured the parts alone would be well worth it.
So the next day I had another Rover in
my driveway, one that I knew nothing about and would probably never run.
So first I must determine if this car
will be for parts or can I make it work without a major expense.
First remove the spark plugs and spray
oil down each cylinder, let it soak in for a few days.
Remove the road wheels and inspect brake
callipers, (not seized)
Next put a good battery in the car and
ignition and all electrical is working.
Next check cooling system, no leaks.
Next, after a couple of days, get in the
car and see what happens if I try to start it.
Ignition on, starter on, fingers
crossed, several turns of the engine and off she goes.
The engine begins to run and within
seconds a metallic grinding noise appears.
My hopes fade as I lean and listen
against the engine, but the noise is not coming from the engine, it is coming
from the water pump bearings, the engine sounds fine.
Next while the engine is running, try
In drive it moves forward, in reverse
I suspect that the previous owner of
this car was not familiar with Rovers and thought that the water pump bearings
related to an engine problem.
He then probably though the cost of
engine repairs was not worth it for an old car and therefore abandoned it.
The fact is that this car is very
workable and because I had very little to do on the Blue Rover, I set myself the
task of restoring this car.
Starting with a re-built water pump, all
fluids replaced, braked overhauled, electrical overhauled and everything to make
this car roadworthy.
It did not take a lot of money to
achieve this, as there were no major components to replace, just good
maintenance to undertake.
This Rover became my wife’s car which
she enjoyed driving. I found this Rover with 69,000 miles on
Serial Number: 43300792A
Original licence date: 1970
Registered by me in 1997 with personalized plates reading 70P6B
During the years of owning our two Rover
hobby cars, we had been making wintertime trips to the Baja Peninsula of Mexico
where we owned a condominium.
Each year we would pack up and drive
there (approximately 4,000km due South from Vancouver) in our Jeep Cherokee.
After a few years of doing this, we
decided to semi retire there and instead of making the drive each time, we would
fly to Vancouver and back.
In 1999 we made our summertime flight
back to Vancouver to enjoy driving the Rovers again and to attend the car shows.
Having the Rovers there and not with us
is a great pity so I got to thinking that why don’t we have one of them with us
in Mexico, retired with us?
I could not imagine taking the Blue
there and putting it at risk, but the Red? It could be a challenge and fun
So the decision was made, my wife would
return on her flight as she was very apprehensive and down right scared to try
it, and I would drive the Red Rover back down.
The Blue would be stored with my friend
until we return again.
I wrote the following narrative in
regards to my journey from Vancouver to San Jose Mexico.
THERE IS A ROVER IN
When you consider taking on a 2,500mile
journey in a 1970 Rover there is no need to be apprehensive, its not that far
anyway, so relax its a Rover.
To prepare for any unforeseen problems I
did a routine check of anything that could possibly fail or deteriorate
Good compression, good oil pressure,
quiet, oil always clean. This engine has 85,000 miles on it which I believe to
be correct having traced its originality back to the Carter dealership in
Vancouver and its three other owners in B.C., the last one and the biggest idiot
of all was he who abandoned it in North Vancouver for some bizarre reason.
Recently serviced, not that smooth, but
Replaced the engine to water-pump hose,
close inspection revealed a fine spray mist when the engine was running. I
always wondered why I was always topping up the radiator when there was no sign
of any leaks. Flush the system and refill.
Checked all calipers, replaced front
pads, clean and adjust rear, flush and refill the hydraulic system.
Resonator and muffler not good, if I
leave these on they will probably fail deep in the Baja desert, with my luck.
So Speedy Muffler went to work, designed
and installed from centre pipe to tail pipe, an
impressive after market exhaust set-up which resembles the tone of an Aston
Martin only smoother.
Check on the wheel bearings, all o.k.
correct the torque on hubs to bearings, It might get rid of the irritating clonk
that’s been there ever since I have known the car, no luck.
Replace right side track rod arm, that
might get rid of the clonk, no luck although it did feel bad at the steering
ball end, and I convinced myself that it could save me from eternity at the
bottom of a mountainous ravine.
The irritating clonk will have to stay
with me for now, could be a shock absorber but they operate and feel good, so I
will have to suspect the lower ball joint which I thought it was from the
beginning. This will have to be a future project, never heard of a lower ball
coming adrift and I don’t want to know anyway.
Mr. Lucas (prince of darkness) you have
never had a good word said about your unique electrical systems, but I am not
afraid of you because you have never dealt me any serious blows in all the time
I have owned British cars. Maybe it’s because we have had the understanding that
if I maintain you and keep you up to scratch ,you will be kind to me.
But nevertheless, to keep our
relationship on a solid footing do not ask me to take you for granted, so here
Remove alternator and have it tested,
check fan and power belts, lights, ignition, good battery ,make new connections
where nessessary, and discover that the brake light switch is intermittent. No
chance of getting an original so refit with one of my security switches, seems
to work well. Finish with a good all round tune-up.
Michelin XZ4 near new all round with all
reason steel radial spare, I feel confident in holding the road with these on.
O.K. lets get this car organized.
Fit the Thule roof rack, which will hold
the car top carrier.
Fit the spare tire on top of the trunk
lid as per. Rover touring car, more trunk space to boot (pun intended), load car
with junk for Mexico to numerous to list, but many containers of octane booster,
spare gas and water.
THE MASTER PLAN
To arrive at the condo one day after the
arrival of my wife, at a late afternoon hour before dark because one does not
drive on Mexican country roads at night.
No it’s not the bandidos, it’s the
wandering cattle that’s the problem.
Now if I leave on a Sunday morning at
4.am try to make Sacramento by Sunday evening, the next days drive should allow
me to reach San Diego by late afternoon, gives me time to visit the Baja club
for insurance, get some money changed and continue on to the border by
8.pm.There I will overnight and be ready to cross the boarder at 6.30am Tues.
I can then with a full days drive reach
Mulege, 690 miles south of Tijuana before dark for the last overnighter.
Then from Mulege without rushing to San
Jose, and into the arms of my waiting wife by 4.pm at the latest. All seems
reasonable right, so lets vamos.
United states boarder 4.00am.
Where are you from? Vancouver, where are
you going? Sacramento, what are you going to do in Sacramento? Sleep in a motel
on my way to San Jose Mexico.
Ha, I was there once on holiday great
place, I know officer, have a good trip, thanks officer.
9.00am. good morning Portland, must
remember this is the state with no self serve gas pumps. So after a short
discussion with a pump attendant asking him nicely not to dunk the nozzle and
fix it on automatic, he stood there patiently for the longest time until the
tank was full, without blowing back any gas over the bodywork, bravo.
I tried to make him feel better by
explaining that this weird British car was never designed for the modern high
speed gas pumps, I think he understood or at least made me feel better by the
slight grin on his face.
God help me when I try to explain this
in broken Spanish to a Mexican gas pump attendant.
Up and over the mountains of Grants Pass
and Ashland, not even a ping not even a gear changedown, the Jeep would have
geared down many times I’m sure, oh! The pleasure of driving a Rover.
Time to hit the rest area for a coffee
break close to Mount Shasta, roll to a stop, go to switch off the ignition, wait
what’s that noise? Look around nobody, it must be me.
Whine and chirp, whine and chirp, oh no,
open the hood and everything looks good.
My ear traces the sound to the
alternator, hand on and sure enough I feel the bearing.
So much for my preventative maintenance
testing on this baby. Well it’s still charging, car starts and the noise
disappears on higher revs, so ignore it.
Good evening Sacramento, I think I will
continue on a bit further to Stockton, a bit less driving tomorrow. Another
listen to the alternator before I switch off for the night, no noise, the all
day run must have done it good.
Before I turn in for the night I will go
through my old British car parts finder book just in case. There is a parts
place just west of the San Diego freeway just before L.A.
Exit the San Diego freeway, stop look at
the map and realize this parts place is at least eight miles down this road.
Better phone first, O.K. I get a garbled message from a machine, my gut feeling
says don’t waste your time unless you want to get into the L.A. rush hours and
muck up your master plan.
One more listen to the alternator,
spasmodic bearing noise, one more stare at the ammeter, reading normal I don’t
have to talk myself back into it, I’m back on that freeway like a rocket.
San Diego, I beat the dreaded L.A. rush
Good everything taken care of here, now
for a short drive to the boarder to overnight and get an early start in the
Approaching the second international
boarder, all alone accompanied by the spasmodic screeching of the alternator,
which I thought was sure to attract some attention, but the Mexican customs
official slumped in the passenger seat of his pick-up, with his feet on the dash
would not have been disturbed by another Mexican/American war.
So screeching across the boarder it’s
Hola Mexico, through the Tijuana traffic mess and on to the toll road for
Making good time now so let’s have a
relaxing breakfast in Ensenada before attempting the two lane transpenninsula
At this point it should be noted that I
have not seen a drop of rain since leaving Vancouver, despite the horrors of El
Nino which has been unfolding on California.
My first realization of what the rains
have done here is the partial destruction of the road , which is normally good.
The pot holes are large and many and
it’s a constant battle trying to steer around them, only to miss one but get the
next. The Mexican road repair crews are working constantly
with many hold ups, something like the
Squamish highway on a good day, but cannot smooth it out quick enough for me.
Now the road repair crews have long
since disappeared so it’s just me and the battle for the road. Then there are
the “Vados” a quick downhill and a quick uphill extended dips in the road,
normally manageable but now are void of blacktop, where torrents have washed
most of it away. Good job I took care of the exhaust system before I left surely
would have lost it all by now. The thing about “Vados” is they tend to pull you
into them and thrust you out again.
Approximately three hundred miles south
of Tijuana there is a “Vado”, an especially nasty “Vado”, in the desert some
sixty miles from the last small town. I am entering this
“Vado” a little too fast, it will punish
the undercarriage, too late “crunch”, “bang”, “roar”, can’t stop look back,
nothing left on the road, make for the flat then stop.
Oh please don’t let it be the manifolds.
Damage assessment on a warm desert
Parts missing assumed lost some time
Support bracket for silencer and tail
Flexible mounting for silencer and
Rubber ring and bump stop rubber,
Broken, one front exhaust pipe parted at
the weld where it joined the neat after market set up which remains intact and
hanging from one rubber support ring, is that all?
Nothing to do but drive on slowly and
see what’s up ahead.
Within ten minutes appears a small
hamlet with two guys changing tires on local trucks.
With the help of my two amigos, a used
coffee tin was found and trimmed to shape.
Wrapped with the coffee tin they clamped
the pipe together again while I worked on supporting the pipe and units with
metal coat hangers.
Now I have lost an hour in driving time,
but as luck would have it the bad road came to an end shortly after this
incident, which gave me the chance to make some progress, with the car sounding
somewhere between the Aston Martin and a Formula One.
Enter Guerro Negro and time changes to
mountain time, gas up and realize that I won’t
make todays destination before dark
because daylight will fail earlier, didn’t allow for that “ fool”.
If I keep going now , I can make Santa
Rosalia just after dark which will only add forty miles to the next days drive
anyway. So, why don’t I go for it?
Sixty miles into this section with
seventy to go the daylight is fading rapidly, have to put on the headlights
soon, “lights “alternator” holy cow forgot all about that problem with the other
Switch on the headlights and observe the
ammeter, get a sickening feeling in the stomach when the needle settles in the
maximum discharge area, oh well keep going.
It’s no good my lights are getting
dimmer and dimmer and the battery is draining, better pull off onto the desert
and sit there with the lights off, rev the engine and try to get some life back
into it. Well I never, all that time it was giving me just enough power to
Well it’s no use thinking about my
stupidity in not dealing with the alternator, I have to make a decision - now!
So do I switch off, sleep in the car
under the stars in the desert and hope it starts in the morning, and if not wait
for a passing vehicle for a jump start, or move on again now and see how far I
can get before the lights get to dim to see again.
Wait, there’s a light on the horizon, a
vehicle coming my way and it’s only 8.00pm might as well try it. Great it’s a
truck, let him pass and take off behind him, he can be my guiding light for as
long as it takes.
Here he comes, off I go behind him, I am
accelerating but the Rover is decelerating to a crawl, to my horror there is not
enough power to ignite the spark plugs or anything else in the ignition system.
There is a Rover “dead” on the
transpenninsula highway with a Rover nut standing alongside with flashlight in
hand. Well I suppose I can pace up and down and around the car while enjoying
the solitude under the stars, but wait, yes headlights approaching on the
horizon, try to guide him past with the flashlight, no he is pulling in behind
me, what luck. After a very difficult explanation of why I am here and what has
happened, and holding a set of jumper cables, the very eager to help Mexican
family from the beat-up pick-up truck finally
Now before I could yell “Alto” or “Stop”
papa was back in the pick-up driving around to position himself alongside to
attach battery cables. No no, I tried to explain about my battery being in the
back in this car and that he was fine where he was, and that it would be better
if he backed up again.
Another difficult explanation on his
part and I finally understand that he has no reverse on the truck.
So with me steering the Rover and the
rest of the family pushing, and headlights appearing on the horizon, we managed
to return to the previous position with him behind me. Just in time as the semi
trailer ground to a halt beside us, taking up every last square inch of the
highway. He was promptly waved on by the family who yelled words to the effect
that it’s all under control.
O.K. lets apply the jumper cables and
get out of here, battery to battery, nothing absolutely nothing “they don’t
work” it’s hard to believe that I brought cables with me that are useless .I
stare at the family and the family stare at me in disbelief, until papa smiles
and goes at the trucks battery with his wrench, I go at my connections with my
wrench and hey presto we have a battery exchange.
Now to ensure that exchange is no
robbery, papa’s brother rides with me as the family return to the pick-up to
follow me. Better not go too far in case they strand themselves, no I can see
them chugging along a long distance behind.
They had managed to push start that
truck and the battery is holding enough charge to keep them going, just goes to
show that my alternator is barely charging at all.
Nevertheless that pick-up is still
chugging along behind charging my battery, I hope there is enough juice left in
his battery to start him when we finally stop.
Half an hour and we reach the little
town of San Ignacio, which is quite well known for it’s ancient mission. Here we
will stop, change back the batteries, make sure we can both start and bid our
farewells. I hand him some pesos for some treats for the kids who sat through
this ordeal very patiently and watch them chug off into the darkness heading for
Santa Rosalia, where I was supposed to be this night.
So it’s the local motel for me, no way
will I switch on those headlights and go through this again.
To hit the road, which later I
discovered was 6.30am because I forgot to advance my watch due to last night’s
fiasco. Ignition on, hold breath, “starts” great, next stop Mulege.
I can’t stop looking at the ammeter with
a suspicious eye, it’s reading a slight discharge, glad it’s daytime. Through
Santa Rosalia and on into Mulege where I should have started from this morning,
never mind keep going and make for the Pemex station which is just outside of
the town. Now with the Pemex in sight the Rover repeats the deceleration process
and switches itself off, refusing to run on the last legs of power from a
totally discharged battery. Flip into neutral and coast along until we come to a
very quiet stop fifty feet from the Pemex station.
So same thing again, I just have to do
something about this alternator and “now”, because I am heading for winding
mountainous roads with no chance of stalling on an “S” bend unless I want to
meet my maker.
I will ask this gentleman with the
G.M.C. suburban displaying Oregon plates if he knows anyone, or place that
resembles an auto electrician. Of course, he replies saying that he lives here
during the winter and knows the perfect place he can tow me to.
To “tow” me, I am muttering to myself
(how did I get myself into this), as I find myself securing one end of his heavy
duty nylon strapping to the front bumper brackets of the Rover, while he ties
the other end around the ball of his tow hitch.
What have I let myself in for?, I am
being pulled back along the transpenninsula highway three feet behind this
G.M.C. trying to keep the nylon strap taught to avoid his rear bumper from
taking out my lights, front grill or whatever else a sudden stop would cause in
front end damage.
After this hair-raising tow back into
town we arrived at the auto electric shop accompanied by the overwhelming stench
of my overheated brake pads, which did not surprise me. I thanked the man from
Oregon for his tow, waved him goodbye and said to myself I will never try that
Please senore auto electrician remove
this unit from this car and do something with it while I go for a leisurely
breakfast and try to de-stress myself.
Upon my return I was presented with the
results of my negligence in the form of numerous burned windings no doubt caused
by the bad bearing or bearings screeching their cries for help all that time.
Obviously beyond repair, he showed me
with enthusiasm a substitute re-built alternator
a “Bosch” unit, whereby I spun the
mechanic around gently, asking him to speak in whispers and not let the car read
our lips. I don’t think he quite understood the humor in this, and I really
didn’t expect him to, but I did make him understand that for this alternator to
operate correctly an additional piece of metal must be welded to the adjusting
link. Sorry I told him this because it took a great deal of time to find this
little bit of metal and get him to weld it on correctly.
With the battery fully charged and the
ammeter reading correctly, even with the lights on, I handed him the required
amount of pesos a mucho gracias and adios.
It is 464 miles to San Jose. I have lost
four hours now out of my schedule, If I can make
La Paz by sunset, I may do it today,
keep watching the ammeter, perfect, don’t think about the exhaust system it
sounds o.k. and the road is good.
La Paz, last top-up for gas and get
going for San Lucas.Entering Todos Santos half way mark to Lucas and loosing
daylight fast, headlights on beautiful, now I have to break the golden rule
again and run the cattle gauntlet. Headlights are brilliant but periodically the
ammeter drops to a discharge and headlights start to dim but return to normal
very quickly .My immediate thought is that the Rover had indeed read our lips
and is going to reject it’s new implant.
As long as it keeps returning the charge
now, I can deal with the control box adjustment,
If that’s it, later on. I am pleased to
report that there were no more surprises and at 8.45pm I parked in the complex
of Club La Costa, made my way to unit # 202 and into the arms of my waiting
wife, who said “where the bloody hell have you been Iv been worried sick”.
Of course she did not say that, I just
thought she would.
Upon close inspection under the hood a
couple of days later, my attention was focused on the alternators welded section
of the adjustment bracket, which was drilled for a nut and bolt but was void of
My amigo electrician must have forgotten
to install one, hence the movement of the unit when
changing revs, belt slipping on the pulley and ammeter giving strange readings.
A muffler come welding shop was located
in San Jose and things were put back to as good as new. It is now returned to
sounding like a Rover 3500 with the touch of an Aston Martin.
If anyone considers taking their Rover
Saloon on a long hard journey anywhere in the world, all I can say is “DO IT”
RELAX IT’S A ROVER
THE ORIGINAL ULTIMATE
It is a pleasure having the Rover in
Mexico, when you see the junky cars that Americans and Canadians bring down with
The following short narrative was
prepared for the Rover Club Magazine:
THERE IS A ROVER IN MEXICO
STILL GOING STRONG
March 30th marked the anniversary, being
the first year of retirement for the older brother of the twin P6B”s. I must say
that it loves it’s new environment, especially the climate, and reacts to Pemex
regular petrol as if it were premium 94.
The exhaust system is still intact
despite my usage of some dirt roads, and hate to mention
(Bosch) but the alternator is doing a great job in the
We were re-united again after it had
been sitting in it’s garage (lucky rover) since May of that year. Of course I
was armed with a box full of tune-up parts and heading towards the garage when I
heard the groan from my wife, followed by "can it wait
for a while”. So reversing my direction back to the condo, I said yes“ of course
it can dear”.
When I got back to the garage about an
hour later, after a cold corona and lime, I got started. All went well with the
clean-up, tune-up and getting rid of the stale gas in the float chambers. The
transmission has always had a minor leak and over the course of six months had
soaked up the layers of cardboard I had left beneath it for just that purpose.
So with all the fluid levels back to
normal, battery re-charged and a minor tune-up, what did you expect, it started
instantly, it’s a Rover.
New or old, British cars are not
imported into Mexico therefore it is a rare sight to see one as was demonstrated
to me by a carload of young Mexican guys. They shouted to me while passing “
what is it a Mercedes or a BMW”, I shouted back in my best German accent, it’ a
Rover. They looked blank at each other, shrugged their shoulders and kept going.
I shall look forward to being re-united
with the old beast in the fall when it’s time to return.
In 2002 I put the Red Rover on blocks,
covered with a tarp and we left for Vancouver.
It was great to see the Blue Rover again
and be able to drive it again.
We had made plans to visit relatives in
Australia and would be leaving from Vancouver and storing the Rover there until
During the last week prior to our
departure, we were heading towards the local shopping centre when a young man in
a Ford Thunderbird, and talking on a mobile phone, made a left turn through a
red traffic light right in front of us.
There was no time for me to stop and he
hit us almost head on.
We were not hurt luckily, but the Rover
suffered bad damage to the right front end.
The repairers stated in their report
that the car is a write-off and unrepairable.
I would have disagreed about this but
did not have the time to argue as we were leaving for Australia.
I was paid the $10,000.00 value that I
had it insured for as a collector car.
I was offered the salvage for $800.00
which I would have taken it back, but being as we were living in Mexico, there
was nowhere in Vancouver for me to keep it.
Very sad set of circumstances, but my
love affair with the Blue Rover was over.
We made our trip to Australia and when
we returned we decided to make the application to retire there. During our visit
there I had visited the Rover clubs in Melbourne and Sydney and was very
impressed with the quality of the Rovers.
We were now back in Mexico and driving
our old faithful Red and preparing to sell the condo unit and return to
Vancouver where we will depart again for Australia.
The Red Rover was stored again and the
condo unit was on the market and we would soon be on our way back to Australia
where I feel sure that I can find another Rover like the Blue!
Now we are in Melbourne Australia
looking after my Nephew’s house while he is away on his honeymoon.
Our plan is not to reside here, as
the climate is too cool for us after being use to Mexico.
We will head North to Queensland
and the tropics.
I searched the newspapers for a
possible Rover purchase but nothing looked promising enough that would
make the Northern journey.
So to be on the safe side I
purchased the Jeep Laredo as I am use to Jeeps previously from business
and Mexico use.
We settled at our destination
being Cairns in Northern Queensland.
One year will pass and I decide
that I can no longer be without a Rover. I visit
a couple of possible 3500’s for sale, but not worth considering.
I then go to the web site of the Rover Club of
Victoria, the very club that I visited when being there.
On their site they have cars offered for sale by
private members. I zero in on an advertisement
that reads as follows:
1974 Rover P6 3500 Automatic V8
White exterior, walnut dash, tan leather with sheepskin
Registered, roadworthy and in immaculate condition
inside and out.
One elderly owner for the past 28 years. Full history,
low mileage, always garaged.
Followed by e-mail address.
This sounds very interesting, so I
contact my Nephew in Melbourne who happens to live quite close to the
location of this Rover.
I ask him to do me the favour of
looking at this car and deciding if this is the car for me.
He knows plenty about cars but to
help him with his decision I faxed him a list of things to look for,
example, rusty rocker panels, rusty boot seams, ball joints, leaks and a
few other things that we Rover people are use to.
He contacted me back to advise
that there is very little wrong with this car and it has been well looked
after. The reason for this sale is that the Daughter of the elderly
gentleman owner has to dispose of his belongings, as he cannot drive any
longer and will be going to a nursing home.
So I contacted the family and
suggested that if the car were taken through a roadworthy inspection, as
all second hand cars are required to do prior to being sold, I would
consider buying it for $6,000.00. This was agreed to, and a short list of
repairs were made and faxed to me, including renewal of front and rear
brakes, obviously due to the lack of use.
I then asked my Nephew to pay the
family there on my behalf and I would deposit back to his account later.
My nephew collected the car and
took it to his house and awaited my instructions.
I arranged to have the car
collected by a freight company and transported to Cairns, about 3,000km
North of Melbourne.
In a few days it was in Cairns
waiting for me to make it’s acquaintance.
Hello WHITE Rover.
I spent the next week going over
this car very carefully and asking myself how this man as looked after
this car so well for 28 years? This Rover is a reincarnation of the BLUE,
in fact is a little better; this must be poetic justice for me!
This car has the original
paintwork, perfect upholstery and air conditioning that works.
VIN/Chassis number- 45302619D
Engine number- 45503945C
Licence number- Qld 839 IUL
Current Mileage- 71,510
After much time spent looking for
something that needs attention on this car, I finally gave up. So in
memory of the BLUE, I added the club badges to the grill, changed the
hubcaps and the front marker lights to amber instead of white, to resemble
the North American model, which I prefer the look of.
After a couple of weeks the old
gentleman’s daughter phoned me to say that her father is still looking for
his Rover in the garage, and cannot understand where it has gone.
She asked me if I would be kind enough to drop him a
line to say that I have bought it to put his mind at rest. I said most
certainly, and sent him the following letter:
77 Spring Road
From: Mike Jenkins
20 Manus St.
Trinity Beach Qld
My name is Mike Jenkins and I am
the new owner of your Rover 3500
I have previously owned Rovers in
Canada where I had two of them, a 1972 and a 1970 model.
I had been looking for one here in
Australia for the past year and could not find anything nice.
I did see one locally but it
required a lot of work and had not been looked after by it’s previous
owners. I did see your car advertised on the web site of the Rover car
club in Melbourne that of which caught my attention immediately.
I asked my nephew, who lives close
to you, to go with Graem and check it out for me.
I gave my Nephew some instructions
as to what to look for on a Rover and left it to his judgement as to
whether I should buy . I took the gamble and the rest is history.
I congratulate you on the way you
have taken care of and maintained this car.
I have kept my previous Rovers in
the same manner as you and am delighted to know that you are a man after
my own heart.
My last Rover in Canada was in
similar condition to this one and I had won many 1st and 2nd
prizes in the annual British car shows.
Unfortunately two years ago, I was
hit head on by another car making an illegal turn in front of me. My Rover
was a write off, unrepairable, and I lost something very special to me.
Lucky I was not hurt (because I was in a Rover)
This Rover seems to me a
reincarnation of my other, and I have been given it back again.
Thank you for preserving this
lovely car the way you have done, and I can promise you that it will be
looked after and kept in the best condition imaginable.
It could not have gone to a better
person than myself, and with me it will stay probably until I am too old
to drive. It should give me a few more years I hope, as I am now 62.
Well done Bob.
She thanked me for this as I think
it did the trick.
Now it is one year in Australia
and the real estate person in Mexico has contacted us that we have a buyer
for our remaining condominium there.
So plans are made to return there,
and to see how the old Red Rover has fared being idle all that time.
It was still how I left it, up on
blocks (outside) as I sold the garage before, the tarp that was covering
it hanging in shreds from the effects of a Mexican summer and winter and
covered in dust.
I had brought with me the plugs,
points, plug leads from the White to assist me in getting it started again
if need be.
So with the help of my friend, we
got to work in the same way as I did when I first acquired this car.
With a little patience and time
spent in the pleasant sunshine, she was up and running again, just as
before. Again it attracted the curiosity of the Mexicans wherever we
drove, and we had a very happy two weeks with the Rover again.
Now we have to leave for Canada
and I don’t know what to do with the car.
My first thoughts were to drive it
back to Vancouver and donate it to the Rover club there. But after careful
consideration and the pleading from my wife not to do it, I decided that
it should stay in Mexico, as I should not risk a breakdown in the desert
and miss my flight back! (not that it would)??!!
I put a For Sale sign in the back
window and the very next day a Mexican taxi driver was knocking on my
He wanted to restore the car for
himself and seemed very enthusiastic and had a fair knowledge of what is
I was pleased to let this car go
to this guy as it would be something different for the area and that he
would have the interest of keeping it running.
So I gave him information on how
to access parts, gave him the old Haynes workshop manual, I took $800.00us
from him and the Canadian license plates.
I waved him and the Red Rover
adios and thought to myself that it won’t seem the same without the old
After seeing the Rover Car Club
editor in Vancouver and telling him about my Red Rover’s new owner in
Mexico, and my Rover find in Australia, and collecting from him an extra
amber side light cover, all Rover business was done.
So it has been Rover’s Red, White
and Blue, how more patriotic can I be?
When I got back to the house and
looked in the garage at this fine piece of British engineering, I sighed
and thought to myself there must be something I can do to you.
Yes there is, I am going to put a
nice CD player into you and maybe play the music of the seventies.
End of a Rover Trilogy