Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Down Rover!


Right, I just need to get this out of the way. The Rover 3-Litre saloon is the Unmitigated English motor car. I can't even start to tell you how much I need to be driving about in one of these with a Capstan on, an unrequited love that started when I made a model of it from a Revell kit in about 1963. This, oddly enough, is the year of my brochure, and also the year I fantasised about using one to force my geography teacher in his Triumph Herald into the ditch between Leicester and Melton Mowbray. The brochure has the Biro'd figures of a buyer-to-be on the cover, workings-out that suggest he was going to be relieved of £241.6s after part exchange. The full price appears to be £1,936.6s. Could this be right? And what was that six shillings for? "A radio can be supplied as an optional extra and fits neatly into the central parcel compartment." I have stared longingly at them for years, even growling when Margaret Thatcher was still using one as PM in the early eighties. And working on the BBC Restoration thing five years ago I curiously saw the backside of an unrestored burgundy example poking out of a delapidated garage near Exeter. "Wood cappings on all doors are of African Cherry to match the fascia".

8 comments:

Diplomat said...

Now - I'm so pleased you weren't taken in by the rather brash, cock-sure and altogether vulgar coupe.

Peter Ashley said...

You're right Diplo. The brochure says the coupe has "a new sleekness of line and fleetness of foot". But the illustration shows it with left-hand drive and white-walled tyres, so at least Rover knew their market for it well.

Justin Savage said...

Extraordinary. I have spent the best part of the day in a garden with one of these beautiful cars crashing through the hedge. On closer inspection it's just the front of the car, chopped off behind the front wheels, stuck onto the fence. It was a favourite car; the family couldn't bear to scrap it completely, so salvaged the front as a sort of automotive trompe l'oeil.

Peter Ashley said...

Quick Justin, have it away. The way things are going I'll find a back end behind a pub tomorrow and we can get Toby or Diplo to do a cut and shunt, or whatever it's called. And then you and I can go around in it until the two halves part again and leave us both sitting in the middle of the road with ecstatic smiles on our oily faces.

Camilla Jessop said...

A lovely car indeed, and most usually driven by men of breeding and good taste - not like Fred Lanaway, the Horley bookie, and men of his ilk, who generally chose Jaguars. For such a quintessentially English car, I am surprised that the door cappings are of African Cherry. I suppose it came down to their greater availability - and indeed, as a girl who was brought up in a house surrounded by trees and orchards, I think I should have been quite cross had someone tried to take my Cherry.

Justin Savage said...

Camilla. Really. What are we chaps to do?

Presumably the African Cherry came from a fading corner of Empire, where men in long khaki shorts watched over toiling workers in dangerous sawmills. Which reminds me Peter: the ride in the Napier-Hillman is off. Dad has sold it on to a timber yard on Tyneside, where it powers a band-saw as big as a house. Wish he'd let me know; there was a perfectly good tin of Smith-Kendon travel sweets lodged behind the supercharger.

Pedantically speaking, Toby or Diplo will cut & shut our conjoined Rover. We will then shunt it on our jolly, oily, outing.

Toby Savage said...

I know a chap who has a minter. It's the later 3.5 Thatcher mobile, but what the hell. Forgive and forget, eh Major? As for Camilla, after two pints of home brew (A kit Ron... One for you I fear. Like a rough Pedi) you sound a strapping lass well in tune with the the hopes and desires of this merry group.

Peter Ashley said...

Toby: Let me know if he wants to chauffeur me around it in it. I promise to wear a muffler and not keep putting the big cushioned armrests up and down whilst we're bowling along.

Camilla: My Uncle Horace looked like a bookie and drove a big Jaguar. In fact he was the boss of a mineral water factory and hated turning right. It took him three days to drive from Wellingborough to Leicester.