End of an era

I had a VW Beetle in Hong Kong, bought in 1981. Given the temperatures and hilly routes between the NT and Kowloon, an air-cooled car seemed a good idea. One of the Chan brothers duly fixed me up:

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It did get a bit rusty:

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So rusty in fact that the passenger seat cast off its moorings and had to go:

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A bit of a shed, but it went and went.
 
My memory must be playing tricks on me as I thought the Rover V8 conversion was fairly common. I have a mate in Switzerland, a car mechanic, who has one with the Rover V8 and perhaps this has distorted my impressions.

Before anyone asks, no he doesn’t have Desert Eagle...
It was fairly common to slap in a Buick, but the conversion was never sanctioned by BL, it didn't haeve the same cooling problems. Later when they sussed it was the radiator flow size that was the issue and after market replacement radiators from the Triumph club it transformed the car. I Loved their look but then I would have liked a Sunbeam tiger and a Facel Vega and a few others. Sad thing is there was an engineering company on the way into London, not far from London Bridge that had a shell sitting on top of a skip back in the nineties. I passed it every day on my commute, thinking what a waste it was and if I had the money. Hey ho back to reality. Incidentally chaps, My Rover is in it's new Garage and I'm finally able to work on it.
 
I helped a mate strip and rebuild a Stag in early 1986, she was a 1972 model in Maroon, changed to Diamond White, it was fitted with an original straight 6 which we ditched in favour of a Rover V8, because of the links with Buick we fitted the V8 with performance high lift cams, high pressure oil pump, Buick 4 port carburettor (later changed for fuel injection) and the block was bored out to 3.9ltr (from 3.5ltr). The result was 385 bhp. To cool the beast we took a trip to a scappies and liberated two BMW 530i radiators, mounted back-to-back they cooled the engine a treat, but because of the thickness we had to remove large portions of bodywork at the front of the car. Brakes were up rated and the only gearbox that could take the torque was an uprated auto box from a police SD1, queue a trip back to the police auctions in the UK, I learnt so much on that job, not least that the Stag was a beautiful car that just needed a Rover V8 to be turned into a beautiful beast!
It must have been a very early one then and May I say with complete candour that if it had a six, it should have been kept, cos that would be worth a mint. Yes It needed the Buick, the the licencing arrangements with Rover meant that it couldn't be put in a car that would be a direct competitor on the US market. Stag did market in the US and that's why BL couldn't sanction the conversion. Of course what one does after market with a car is one's own concern, but because BL wouldn't sanction it insurance policy cost hit the roof.
 
In my youth I had a selection of various cars, VW Beetle, Mk1 & Mk2 Cortina, Mk1 Escort, Anglia.
There are a few others I would have liked, Daimler Sovereign 4.2, Rover 2000, Mk3 Cortina, and the ultimate E-Type.
The car I sought after most and which even today gets the pulse racing is, strangely enough, the Isetta Bubble Car, one of my uncles had one when I was about 4 and I just fell in love with it, I tried to buy one on several occasions during the pre-interweb thingy days, but usually as I was arriving at the sellers house it was disappointingly being driven away by someone who was able to get there quicker than me. Since the introduction of the interweb the prices have been prohibitive.
 
I remember on a skiing holiday in Bulgaria in the early 1980s the instructors all seemed to drive these German-type jeeps (or something similar), we reckoned that they must have been left over from WWII but in hindsight that is unlikely. Did these cars sell well in the Eastern Bloc and would they have been well suited to snowy conditions? I seem to recall they flew up snowy roads with little difficulty.
 
Renault 5 turbo was nice in a brutal way. We had a rigger sgt enter the fairy office looking for us to fit an alarm to his new pride and joy. Lifted the bonnet. WTF literally no room to fit the box!! We ended up getting very creative.
 
It must have been a very early one then and May I say with complete candour that if it had a six, it should have been kept, cos that would be worth a mint. Yes It needed the Buick, the the licencing arrangements with Rover meant that it couldn't be put in a car that would be a direct competitor on the US market. Stag did market in the US and that's why BL couldn't sanction the conversion. Of course what one does after market with a car is one's own concern, but because BL wouldn't sanction it insurance policy cost hit the roof.
Remember this was 1986, the car was only 14 years old and not considered a classic as it is today. Not so much was known about how to cure the pig of a problem with leaks and overheating, my mate just knew that the Rover V8 could be heavily modified and produce almost twice the power if done right, the straight 6 may have valued the car higher now, but back then it was a useless piece of sh*t that was a hindrance not an asset.
 
My history of car ownership ( including company cars )
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Followed by
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Had a 997 ( not 998 )Cooper engine worth a mint
Then
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1st company car
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2nd company car
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Then 3 x of these ( all 1.6's )
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Then 3 x of these ( all 5 doors , nothing vulgar )
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And finally :rolleyes:
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and this ….
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Remember this was 1986, the car was only 14 years old and not considered a classic as it is today. Not so much was known about how to cure the pig of a problem with leaks and overheating, my mate just knew that the Rover V8 could be heavily modified and produce almost twice the power if done right, the straight 6 may have valued the car higher now, but back then it was a useless piece of sh*t that was a hindrance not an asset.
I face exactly the same problem with the P5. It's a Mk 3 and they never have been money spinners, but then that's what classics are all about. The Knock on from Martin Hurst Bringing back the V8 was that it needed a test bed and the P5 was it before it was shoehorned into the P6. The B stands for Buick. But that was a monumental change period- that makes the car you dealt with a '72. Triumph already had issues with competition between the 2000/2.5pI and the P6 2000 which was uprated to 2.2 Add Jaguar into the mix and nothing in the Lunchbox and P5b would do. But it was never meant to be built by Rover Now had Rover created a P6 convertable, not dissimilar to the stag, they would have had the power train for it. That was the original thinking for the conversions. But then Rover would have hit precisely the convention they undertook not to compete in the US. In short the only car they could market in the US was the P5B
 
My favourite car was my Mk2 Astra GTE (8V) that I bought new in 1987. I travelled all over the UK and Western Europe in that car and it was the first reliable, modern car that I owned (after an All-agro and a RWD Cavalier). I ended up selling it to an RAF Officer friend, from whom it was stolen 3 times, with the last time resulting in it being burnt-out.
I still remember the reg too, and occasionally use it as a password.
 
And aint that cheap in comparison. Of course federalised meant more controls on emissions and less power, but hey
The Citreon 2CV was my favourite to drive and (mostly) to work on, shame that the quality of the parts let the whole thing down.
I saw one of those come apart on the A2 many years ago-Like Laurel and Hardy and just as funny (chicken shack)
 

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