A big blue bargain. One for the Connoisseur…
By Tony Middlehurst / Friday, 24 June 2022 / Loading comments
Some people will never eat what they consider to be weird foods like semolina, oysters, cabbage or whelks. Shed knows that this is an illogical hatred because the most delicious thing he ever ate turned out to be cow’s brains. He ordered it by mistake because the menu was written in French and he thought cerveau was some sort of lamb dish. Today, even though he knows just how delicious cow’s brains can be, he also knows that he will never, ever order it again.
That’s the weird thing about brains. They make us do funny things. Take buying a Rover 75. Many would never do that when they were new, and many more will never do it now that they’re used, despite perfectly decent examples being both plentiful and cheap in the used market. Either it’s because they don’t respect the badge, they can’t stand the gap between the bonnet and the slam panel, the oval instruments makes them feel queasy, or they’ve got it into their head that the interior is always going to smell of wee.
If you’re looking at them with a little more objectivity, actual reasons to hate a Rover 75 are quite hard to pin down, especially when it’s a top spec Connoisseur Tourer estate with the BMW-sourced 2.0 litre diesel like today’s shed.
The 2.5 petrol V6s are smooth and cultured, but like your Uncle Harry at a wedding they are known to like a drink, returning everyday mpg figures in the low 20s or high teens. A turbodiesel CDT is a different kettle of shellfish altogether. The headline horsepower figure of under 115hp in our first-year 2001 Tourer looks puny, and wasn’t much better than puny when they hoisted it to 129hp in 2002, but it was all irrelevant because you had 192lb ft of torque at 2,000rpm.
This gave the Rover very acceptable real-world numbers like 120mph and fuel consumptions in the high 40s, turning it into an exceptional long-distance cruising machine and, in estate form, a fine holiday vehicle. There was a hefty 680 litres of space even before you dropped the back seats. The Tourer’s separately openable rear window was a nice touch, as was the siting of the emergency triangle in the tailgate. This meant you could comfortably break down on a Route Nationale on a stinking hot July day and erect your triangle without having to go to all the bother of emptying your luggage all over the hard shoulder, or épaule dure as it is almost certainly not called.
Dark blue can be the death of many a car but it’s a good colour for a 75, especially with the chunky alloys you get with a Connoisseur. The dealer tells us that lacquer is missing from the upper facing panels, by which Shed presumes he means the bonnet and roof. Mrs Shed used to put lacquer on her barnet, which is her version of a roof, but she stopped after Shed absent-mindedly tapped out the embers of his pipe on her head thinking it was an ashtray, and there was a small but thankfully easily managed conflagration.
As per everything, even Rover 75 prices have gone up. This time last year you might well have secured a car like this for not much more than a grand. Today you’re looking at £1,495 for something which, as the ad says, is no garage queen – but there’s worthiness in a workhorse, especially one that’s been as diligently serviced as this one appears to have been. The last MOT test in March was a clean pass, and the history leading up to that was all consumables related with nothing to scare you. Okay, so the cruise control might play up, the parking sensors and other electronic fripperies might go a bit haywire and the odd piece of trim might fall off, but that sort of thing can happen to any car.
Badge snobs should remember that BMW was heavily involved in the development of the 75 at a time when their own vehicles were riding high in the public’s estimation. Which they still are of course. If you can set aside your prejudices you might be very pleasantly surprised by a Rover 75 Connoisseur CDT. If you do spring for one and then take your family off to France in it, do try the cerveau, it’s delish.
See the full ad here
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