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DLR's Cars - Swedish Stablemates

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Before I indulge you in what I am currently having motoring-related bother with, please see this post as a brief overview of the last two years of DLR family motoring. I am at a loose end so apologies for the ramblings!


So I the last time I did one of these I think I had a 1998 Rover 820 Coupe, a broken 1995 Rover 820 Si (see the other thread) and my dad had a 1995 Rover 825 Sterling. This would've been back in April 2014. Have a terrible quality picture of the cars in question:




So I wasn't getting on with the Coupe and my dad found the Sterling too expensive to run (being the 2.5 v6 it was rather thirsty for the sort of driving the family used it for) so a plan was formed involving the purchase of his work colleague's Ford Escort and I would buy the Sterling off the folks. As part of this deal, I would be paying for the Escort and would also foot the bill for MOT work on the Sterling (this plan being formed right on the expiry date of the MOT).


We went to look at the Escort on a Saturday in late April.


Yep, that's an Escort.


With the deal done (I forget the agreed amounts) we were to pick the Escort up on the Friday, after I had MOTd the Sterling and arranged for my insurance to be swapped onto it from the Coupe. There were a few fails I had to sort, cost around £300 if I remember correctly.


Then like all good plans, everything changed. Dad's work colleague had decided he didn't want to sell the Escort after all, but didn't tell us until the Friday morning (the day of collection). Naturally this left us with quite the predicament, the Sterling was in my name and insured by me, the Coupe was no longer insured and the easiest thing to do would have been to postpone the exchange until we could source a suitable replacement for the family. Luckily, round our neck of the woods Friday is cars day in the local paper. So we scoured the classifieds and circled anything which looked cheap and promising. We found an ad for a Mondeo, which read something like "1998 Ford Mondeo, 91,000 miles, FSH, 3 months Tax/Test. £275". Naturally we had to investigate this, so calls were made and we jumped into the car and headed off to Highworth. We were given directions to the local community hall where the car was parked and were met by the seller. He was the second owner and had owned it since 2001, it had always lived in Highworth and was bought and regularly serviced by the local independent Ford Dealer, Reg Skull motors. Not many receipts but the book was full of stamps from the dealer. Money was exchanged and the new family runabout was purchased. Meet Mungo the Mondeo:






This is what £275 got you back in early May 2014. Electric windows in the front, remote central locking, original dealer plates, three wheel trims and some badly painted bumpers. Magnificent! I think it was a 2 litre, but I could be wrong.


Not much was done with this, it was used for 3 months and we sold it two days before the MOT to a man who worked as an air host-man-person/TV extra who wanted something more economical than his 90s Mustang (no pictures of that sadly). Sold for £200 so £75 for 3 months motoring is not bad!


This left us with another dilemma of being down to one car. With conflicting shift patterns it would not be feasible to share the Sterling with my dad, so we decided that a suitable replacement for Mungo would be another Rover 45. Before the parents bought the Sterling they had a 2002 Impression 1.6 hatchback in green. They sold it as it was too small for their needs and it needed some work, including cambelt/water pump, tyres, brakes and service. So we had a look on ebay and there was nothing worth travelling for. But wait, on the Sunday I had a notification for new Rover 45 adverts added! Amongst them was an ad for a local 2002 Impression 1.6 Hatchback in green, recent work including cambelt/water pump, 4 new tyres, new discs and pads and recently serviced. This sounds awfully familiar...



Only the same one! Of course messages were exchanged and price agreed, collection that evening. My parents originally bought this 45 in 2010 for £620 (remember it was only 8 years old at the time, utter madness), then sold it in 2013 for £400 with it needing all the maintenance and then bought it back in 2014 for £500. They still have it now, although it is looking a little tired and could possibly need a new clutch soon. 


Other family cars - my sister is now driving a 2001 Ford Ka, which needs another post all of its own. The MOT is due in February and I will be utterly gobsmacked if it doesn't need welding.


So that's the family cars sorted for the last couple of years. Now I'll introduce my own current cars!

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So 2014 sees me own a succession of Rover 800s, all in varying conditions. The main daily driver started as the Coupe, then the Sterling Fastback pictured in the previous post. it was a lovely car:






For some reason I don't have any pictures of the interior, but trust me it was very nice indeed. I'm sure you're all aware from the other 800-nuts (term of endearment I promise!) on this forum what a Sterling interior looks like. It had only done around 67,000 miles and was a good runner, the 2.5 v6 was very smooth and so was the gearbox. Sadly it was costing me £70 a week in fuel just to drive to work and back and with plans to go back to University at some point I had to downsize. I sold the car for £390 to a man in Durham who had plans to LPG it and use it as his runabout between the properties he managed. According to the MOT check it is still going and again, huge regrets over selling this one. But at least it was sold and not scrapped!


I decided to go modern. I wanted a car built in the 21st century, a car with no scope for unreliability and something which was striking to look at and daring to drive. I also like saloons and wanted it to be economical, a concept I have never been used to in my motoring history. It had to be interesting enough to stop me becoming bored with it (planning to own it for the next 3-5 years) but be that happy medium of big enough to be practical for most situations, yet small and cheap enough to run whilst living on a student budget...


Naturally I was able to find a car with heated seats, electric sunroof, remote locking, parking sensors and headlamp washers rather easily. The car I found was a 2004/53 registered car with only 21,200 miles on the clock. It had only one previous lady owner (a 92 year old lady who had replaced it with a brand new automatic Kia) and a 1.6 litre engine which has a reputation for economy and reliability.


Now it probably sounds like this car would not fit in here. Too new and modern with too many creature comforts. But what if I told you that this car was a facelifted version of a car which was essentially a rebadged Japanese car built in the 90s?



Yes, it's a Rover 45!







One owner, 21,200 miles, 1.6 engine and had been serviced a few months previous to my purchase. Cost of £1000, not a very autoshite-y price, but as a long-term investment this initial investment would be rewarded with a couple of years trouble-free motoring. Had also had a new clutch (two changes in three years, which would explain the new automatic Kia).


As you can imagine it wasn't as trouble-free as first anticipated. I have spent out on head gasket, cambelt, water pump, service, brake pads, complete exhaust system and four new tyres. Basically anything that could go wrong had now been fixed so even if it was a little cosmetically challenged (both the front arches have been scuffed and dented and received some questionable repairs) it would be mechanically reliable for the forseeable future. I have not had a car this "sound" ever, unless you count the 1992 Rover 416 I owned when I was 18. I only got rid of that because I crashed it, I would hate for the same thing to happen again to my only other mechanically sorted car...






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(I'm replying in several posts as my internet connection is dodgy and I don't want to lose what I've done, this isn't a ploy to artificially increase my post count, honest...)


So I've crashed my 45. Since buying it in September 2014 I have increased the mileage from 21,200 to 34,000-and-something. Since getting the head gasket sorted and the other associated work it has been the most reliable car I've owned, provided you ignore the one occasion I had to call Green Flag because it wouldn't start following an interior valet at my local Tesco. Turns out they'd knocked the cut-off switch behind the centre console, I didn't think to try this as it seemed too obvious and I looked like a massive fool when the nice man turned up and simply pressed the button.


Anyway, back to the prang! It happened in November 2015, the week after I put the ad up for someone to take on my Rover 820 and the same week I was moving house. Bad timing. A van driver pulled out of a row of spaces without looking in a car park and there was simply no time to react. He admitted liability and the car has now been written off. Value of £800, or £720 and I can keep the car. Given the car still drives fine (I drove it for 3 weeks after the accident like that) and it appears to be purely cosmetic (mainly the bonnet and a lot of panel alignment issues) I have decided to accept the offer of £720 and keep it. Although I am still waiting for the payment to arrive (it has all been offered in writing and approved, just waiting for signatures or something). The trouble is it is now a Category C write-off and I need to find panels for a car in a rare colour (paint code GDH, aka Calypso Gold if my googling is correct) and the MOT has now run out. Luckily I do have a replacement car, but more on that in a moment.


Here are some comparison pictures for you lovely people of Autoshite to cast your eye over and offer your verdict:


Before accident:



After accident:



Some rather beautiful panel gaps:







Now I'm no expert, but I'm thinking that to begin with I should probably buy a new bonnet and possibly some hinges and see about how that would fit before going any further? I'm not fussed about it being the same colour at present as the wings also need replacing anyway (you can just about make out the dents and bad paint job in a couple of the pictures). I just want to try and make it straight and then get it MOTd/back on the road as soon as possible. What are your thoughts, people of Autoshite? Do you think it would be as easy as all that? I'm struggling to find a cheap bonnet or even one that's close enough to justify paying more for it. All the bonnets I've found for sale that are cheap are mostly 100 miles away. Does anyone have a Rover 45/MG ZS bonnet they want to sell?



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Also, I should show you the 45's replacement. I originally wanted something non-Rover, possibly Volvo or Saab. However there is a Rover I've not owned yet - the 75. As my plans for returning to University are up in the air at present, I decided now was the time to spend a little more and find the best example I could for my budget.


The week before Christmas saw me on a train to Bath on a drizzly Saturday morning to pick up THIS beauty:



It's a 2003 Rover 75 Connoisseur Tourer. 2 litre diesel automatic with a funky green personal line interior. Quite possibly the nicest (and most expensive) car I've ever owned, which makes me nervous. I was having doubts about keeping it, but after a nice 430 mile round trip to Burnley yesterday I have decided that I'd be mad to part with it and the fact it's an estate should come in handy should I decide to relocate up north again and need to cart my worldly possessions around the country again!


I have no more pictures at the moment as I've not had chance to clean it properly and take it somewhere nice for photos, so here are some of the pictures from the original ad:







That's it for now, thank you for the comments so far. I hope this final post doesn't disappoint!

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Regarding the insurance issue on the 45 I have a question. Does the insurance company have to offer you a price to return the car? I only ask this because if something happened to my Rover I would be terrified of sending it away for inspection and never seeing it again.


There was a guy over on the 75 forum (which I recommend you join) who refused to hand over the keys when his lovely 75 picked up a light scuff as he was worried he might not get it back.....

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EssDeeWon - not bought from a dealer, the gent was selling it privately. He was a property developer and had another 75 tourer which had recently been away to have work done. He used this one while it was away and hadn't owned it long, I understand that he kept the other one over this one as it had lower miles. But 84,000 still seems to be quite low for one of these now! It wouldn't surprise me if the ad was just a straight ctrl+c/ctrl+v from when he purchased it. He also had a Daimler in the garage, so it came from a good home and the seller was a helpful gent.

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Ah, the insurance fiasco. I am still waiting for the payout even though it's effectively just waiting for a manager's signature.


I didn't go through my insurers and insisted I went through the other driver's. I had similar concerns as my insurers wanted to take it away. Instead by going through theirs they were due to send an assessor employed by an external company to my home address so the car would never be handed over. The bloke never showed and I drove to this company's "centre" in Reading.


I think they have to offer you the chance to buy back as salvage, I'd imagine they'd prefer it if you retained the car as they don't have to pay for collection/disposal. It has cost me £80 but I'd much rather keep the car. I'd do the same as the person on the 75 forum - keep the car and don't let it out of your sight! Or if it has to go somewhere do what I did and take it/go with it. I've heard of too many horror stories to trust anyone to take my car away for assessment, only for it to be returned minus personal possessions/parts swapped.

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Wow man. I am very jealous you have a 75 and I still haven't managed to buy one. I probably never will.

On 1/16/2016 at 5:26 PM, DLR said:

...sold the car for £390 to a man in Durham who had plans to LPG it and use it as his runabout between the properties he managed...

Sounds very familiar. Was the chaps name 'Matthew' or 'Matt'? Bloke in mid 40s, short dark hair? Because a bloke sounding similar to the chap you sold your car too bought my LPG'd 827 Coupe and mentioned properties too.

Also, I know how you feel about the insurance thing. I got paid for my car but still waiting for separate payment. When my Merc was damaged, I got paid about £900 plus keep the car. I know I wouldn't have been able to find a similar Mercedes for that money.

Oddly enough, I also had the use of a Rover 45 2.0 Diesel saloon, though mine was silver with full Black leather interior. Plus it wasn't actually mine and nor did I bump it. I wish I'd actually bought it to be fair.

With your 45, I'd get its bonnet and hinges replaced and keep/sell/whatever (or lend me the car as my Sterling is trying to kill itself) plus I'd honestly hold out for the one in the right colour, seriously, there are still loads of the 45s about and many heading to the breakers, it'll save on painting and if you sell, you won't get so many sniffy types trying to haggle you down because of "wrong colour bonnet"

I'm back to using my 'free' KV6 Sterling. I really like the car and it's a great way to travel but it isn't the best example ever. The sills are crumbly and messy, the radiator is crumbly and losing water, it needs a service and frankly, a complete overhaul. But it still drives (just about). Hopefully it'll last until my Merc is sorted.

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Mo, that's exactly why I've done it now. I don't see myself ever owning another 800, unless you sell the 820E or the chap in Wales sells my grandad's old one. I had to scratch this itch and I'm so glad I have. It's a lot of money for a car (but I didn't pay the asking price!) but it is in such good condition I think it's worth it. Once I've had my fun with this I can move on to something else knowing I've scratched the Rover itch.


I think that was the same bloke! Some sort of property developer who used to be a teacher, he was telling me he invested in the LPG kit and swaps it from car to car. The Sterling Fastback was replacing a Mercedes I think. Small world!


With regards to the 45, I think I'll be waiting a long time for one in the right colour. The MOT has lapsed now and I want to at least get it roadworthy, which would mean replacing the bent bits, sorting the headlamp aim and replacing the number plate. I am not sure I want to sell it as-is or fixed yet, so I don't mind it being a bit of a patchwork car! If I fix it and don't use it for a bit you'd be more than welcome to use it for a bit. I'll do a proper update when I have the parts, if all goes to plan I could be going for a drive tomorrow to get one!

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Bloody marvellous few posts.


I've had three Rovers - you can see photos of all of them in my signature. I do know exactly what a Sterling interior looks like, and it was fap-worthy.


I swapped the first Rover for the MR2 (which was fucking fantastic and absolutely awful at the same time), the second Rover blew it's HG just after I'd paid to enter Wales, and the third Rover was purchased without any service history, driven very hard for 2yrs without any mechanical sympathy or servicing (cambelt was overdue), and P/Xed for £500, whereupon it was abused by the garage as a workhorse for a further year (12k put on it) and then fragged.


I'd personally jump at the chance of owning the exceptionally rare Rover 825d - I missed out on such a chance by a matter of hours a long time ago - but otherwise I think my Rover-owning days are behind me. The niggling faults with the 45 (window falling out, door handles coming off etc) drove me to distraction, even if the engine was capable of taking on 1:5 grade hills in the Brecon Beacons in 30 degree heat without batting an eye.

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Mo, that's exactly why I've done it now. I don't see myself ever owning another 800...


I think that was the same bloke! Some sort of property developer who used to be a teacher, he was telling me he invested in the LPG kit and swaps it from car to car. The Sterling Fastback was replacing a Mercedes I think. Small world!

That's a bit of an unexpected shock, not owning another 800!? I've got a feeling that you and 800s will cross paths again in the future. I still love 800s, I'm a fan of them and I will always have one whatever happens, but right now I'm a bit tired of them, same old thing so I am looking to continue my experience of enjoying Mercedes ownership.


Wow, the bloke sounds even more familiar. I think he did mention somrthing to do with property and he also mentioned that he'd owned a Mercedes S280 as I'd picked him up in my Merc when I went to fetch him on the day of the sale of my 827 Coupe. Despite it not starting and taking an AA and RAC bloke to diagnose a problem with the 827 Coupe being a fuse for the fuel pump, the chap bought the car and said he'd never sell it as he'd always wanted a Coupe. So it looks like my car and your car are both together under his ownership now! Small world.

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  • 2 weeks later...

So at the beginning of last week I found myself with a couple of days off work. To take my mind off things I decided to be productive and make a start on the 45.


A bonnet was procured for £40 from a breaker in Bristol:



After consulting the Haynes manual, it was clear that I would need a second pair of hands to help me remove the bonnet. Naturally, being a man I decided this was a lie and I could do it on my own. The challenge was set and in 10 minutes the car looked like this:



Nice and simple. The bonnet is attached to the car with 8 bolts. Easy peasy for a simpleton such as myself.


Before going any further, I slotted the replacement bonnet into position just to check it did fit and the whole lot wasn't shunted totally out of shape:



Took a look at the slam panel. I've taken a photo to try and illustrate how bent it actually is:



As you can see it has been almost squashed down on the nearside and has been pushed back to some degree. Now the option that seems to be favourite on the internet for pulling out this damage is to attach a rope to the panel and tie to a tree/other substantial structure and drive the car away in reverse. Sadly I have no trees to use and didn't fancy using the garage structure, so I used the 75's towbar to pull it out. I do have a picture of this, but you'll have to wait as the file seems to be corrupt and I need to try and recover it. Trust me, it was as pikey as it gets and the neighbours must be well chuffed that we've moved in. I digress...


I also anticipated the hinges would be bent following the prang, so for £7 I bought a set from a Rover 400. I removed the originals and here are side-by-side comparisons:





Scaled-down modern art for the garden! Gold ones original, green ones the replacements. There doesn't appear to be much difference between them in these photos, but it is rather noticeable in person just how bent they were. Not surprised really...


So then followed a lot of swearing and cussing as I tried to line up the bonnet pins with the locks. Took around an hour of tweaking, but it was all worthwhile as the bonnet now locks in position and unlocks like it should do. I was left with this:




Looks rubbish! Goodness gracious why have I wasted my time on this??


Bonnet shuts are looking much better. However it does seem a little off-centre, with the offside shut being much tighter and closer to factory than the nearside. I wonder if there is any more adjustment with the location of the hinges to be had? Here are some before and after shots for comparison:










Added the finishing touches to the front. I tried to use the existing grille, even though it was slightly damaged, but when it came to fitting it most of the fixings snapped. Cheap and nasty chrome-effect plastic. This left me with the only option of using the facelift grille that came with the car. I also purchased a new number plate, which unfortunately is nowhere near centred properly! Bugger, that'll have to come back off. I have also superglued the headlamp washer case back on, which was destroyed in the crash but retained after the accident.


And this is how she looks today:




Looking at it now I wonder why I've gone to so much effort. It looks pants. I have also forgotten to address the issue of headlight aim. The headlight unit is possibly damaged as it feels loose and doesn't quite sit right. I think I need to take it apart and investigate, having studied some online pictures of the rear of the unit I suspect one of the seemingly flimsy plastic mountings has snapped. Other than that I think we're nearly ready for an MOT!


Is this worthy of autoshite now? :D


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Looking at it now I wonder why I've gone to so much effort. It looks pants.


Is this worthy of autoshite now? :D

It doesn't look as good as a proper coloured bonnet might be, but at the same time it looks straighter and doesn't clash too much, plus it's been a good learning curve for you, next time you want to change the bonnet, it'll be easier! As I said, I'd have held out for the right colour even. Maybe there aren't so many Rover 45s being broken up in other places as there are here in the Midlands?


As I'm taking on an '03 E46 BMW 316i, my Rover will be going to stored up for a while, the radiator is now leaking quite badly and the coolant isn't bothering to stay in. I don't want to do anymore damage to it if it can be avoided. I may scrap it in the end, I don't know...


If I were taking on your car I reckon I'd get you a proper bonnet in the right colour. I think there are some movements in the hinges themselves or adjusters, unsure.


Your 45 was worthy of Autoshite mint or otherwise, we like cars that are generally shunned by general society, Rovers are a great example of this.

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After accident:


Just wondering, apart from adjusting the headlights if they're out, would it not pass an MOT like that anyway? I see no sharp edges on the front, and I guess the bonnet catch works fine?


I've seen cars in far worse a state driving around and coming out of MOT centres here in Bristol!

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Hey Dan! Your old KV6 Fastback has come up for sale, though it doesn't look as nice as when you had it:








Apparently it seems to have suffered a gearbox failure of some sort which I bet just needs a flush, I know mine does. Interior looks disgusting. It's a shame that these cars end up like this, many seem unwanted I see more and more former "enthusiasts" cars end up like this. Kind of makes me more determined to keep on with mine. You can't save 'em all though...

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Just wondering, apart from adjusting the headlights if they're out, would it not pass an MOT like that anyway? I see no sharp edges on the front, and I guess the bonnet catch works fine?


I've seen cars in far worse a state driving around and coming out of MOT centres here in Bristol!

To be perfectly honest I am not sure if it would pass like that or not. The corners on the front weren't flush with the wings, so I assumed that they may have been an issue. It did lock fine, but needed some force to make it so. At least now it opens and closes with ease and it is slightly more presentable*.


In 45-related news I have purchased a headlight to replace the cracked one on the passenger side. Sadly weather has prevented me from cracking on with it, but I am in-between jobs for a week now so I am hoping I can get it fitted and then MOTd by the end of the week. I'll have to remove the bumper to do it though, I'm just hoping I don't uncover more unseen damage to the metalwork or the bumper fixings, otherwise I could be panic-buying a bumper too. But I'm optimistic!


One thing I have noticed is how much I do miss driving it. I wasn't a big fan of it when it was working, but now I have the 75 which is big and somewhat sluggish (2 litre diesel with auto gearbox in such a big car means it's not exactly sprightly) I miss how much I could chuck it about. I am looking forward to getting it properly roadworthy. I've even had thoughts of getting the front end professionally painted/repaired so it is of a standard befitting the mileage...


In 75-related news, I've finally received the logbook. The seller hadn't yet received one and after much waiting I applied for a logbook myself. I have also remembered the MOT is due in March, so once the 45 is back on the road I'll look into getting it booked in for an MOT and a service. Note to anyone who buys a car without a logbook, so long as you have the original green slip that the seller received when they bought it you can still tax your car. I queried it as I didn't want the seller getting my refund when the registered keeper was finally changed and they said they do check to see how many payments there are on a vehicle and refund accordingly. Confused the man at the Post Office though!



Hey Dan! Your old KV6 Fastback has come up for sale, though it doesn't look as nice as when you had it:



Apparently it seems to have suffered a gearbox failure of some sort which I bet just needs a flush, I know mine does. Interior looks disgusting. It's a shame that these cars end up like this, many seem unwanted I see more and more former "enthusiasts" cars end up like this. Kind of makes me more determined to keep on with mine. You can't save 'em all though...


MO! No, I said no more 800s. I mean it! Don't guilt trip me into buying it...


I suppose an enquiry to find out what is actually wrong isn't out of the question...neither is a request for a postcode to see if it is viable to get it transported home...


Does anyone know of someone able to transport a car from Thirsk to Swindon?

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45 update!


Headlight purchased. Sadly the seller sent me one with an orange indicator lens from an MG ZS. Not to worry, the correct one was sent the following day at no extra cost. Excellent news. Unfortunately this one was damaged in the same places mine was, but didn't realise this until the car looked like this:




So I decided to use the unit with the orange lens. This was on Tuesday of this week and I didn't want to put it off any longer as I start a new job next week. So I put the lot back together and I booked the car in for an MOT on Thursday. I couldn't think of anything immediately obvious it would fail on, so at least this would let me know what, if anything, I had to work on to get it legal again...


Of course I needn't have worried as it passed with flying colours! No advisories!  :-D  Chuffed is an understatement.


Next step is to work out what to do with it. I am still of an age where insurance is an issue, insuring multiple cars seems far too costly and I have no need for two cars at present. Although I must say I did take it the long way to the garage and then the long way home again and I forgot how much I enjoyed driving it. It's nothing special, just a little everyday car. But compared to the cumbersome nature of the 75 it feels so nimble and agile in comparison. So familiar too, I've had it for a year and a half and travelled over 13,000 miles in it and it has so much more life left. Would it be worth selling? No as it's just another tatty 45. 


Anyway enough waffling, have some post-MOT pictures somewhere nice! Needs a clean...






Although there are members here who are much more skilled than I am and do far much more work on their cars, to me this feels like quite an achievement  :mrgreen:  This car has survived a collision with a police car, taken me across the country for Uni interviews, survived an attack from a violent drunk man and was written off because of a careless van driver. Accumulating some history!

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  • DLR changed the title to DLR's Cars - Swedish Stablemates

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