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Rover SD1, Blowing Out The Cobwebs

It’s been a bit of a rough weekend, so what better cure than to take the Rover out for a spin and an Italian Tune-up.

The sun was out, so off came the car cover, and out came the Rover.

I had been meaning to check out the new Kapiti Expressway that has just been built, but hadn’t had a chance to make it up that way, and every time I wanted to drive the Rover recently the weather has turned to mud, and what fun is it cruising in the pouring down rain? Not to mention not being able to button her back up again after the drive due to the car being wet, and then getting covered in pine needles.

So yeah, this was an adventurous trip. In my whole time with the Rover, I have never driven it this far from home. The furthest is usually to either Upper Hutt or the CBD, roughly 20-30km away. The Rover has been running well recently, and after the water pump failure it’s been holding its fluids and been mechanically sound. A pleasure to drive.

Firing the car up for the first time in a couple of weeks, it didn’t start quite as sweetly as usual, and was running a bit lumpy and spluttering when given gas. Obviously not happy with the tweaks I did last time (in an effort to make warm starting easier), so I tapped a few keys on the laptop and reverted back to a previous tune. Started and idled much better this time.

The first test was the new Haywards Interchange, which is an utter clusterfark, no matter which way you try to go through there the road markings are a mess and everything is guided by some messy cones. It will be good once it’s done, but blegh.

Once the temporary 50kph zone changes to 100kph though, it was time to unleash all 190hp, and the sound of my people. Pedal to the floor, trans kicks down and off we go in a roar of V8 anger. She may not be fast, but it hardly matters with a sound like that.

It was a fairly slow drive around SH58 thanks to a typical Prius driver which couldn’t hold more speed than a 30 year old Rover through the corners. Oh well, more time to enjoy the cruise and the scenery.

The rest of the drive was pretty uneventful, other than seeing a sweet steam train choo chooing its way to Pram. Lots of railfans hanging around taking photos of it. Probably got some with a Rover photobombing them, lol.

The Kapiti Expressway is a new 18km long grade separated four lane expressway built to bypass a rubbish bit of roading that used to go through a couple of towns and slow everything down.

This is only one section in a bigger project, which will include the Transmission Gully Expressway that will take traffic off the two lane coastal route between Porirua and Paraparaumu (Kapiti), but the Kapiti Expressway is the first section to be completed and drivable. Gives an idea of what the rest of the project will be like.

Four lanes good.

Heading to Paraparaumu for lunch, we took the exit that said “Paraparaumu”, as expected, and strangely got shunted straight off the new expressway and back onto the old State Highway. Not the glamorous expressway I expected!

Stopped at BurgerFuel for lunch, snapped a sneaky bum shot

After lunch we found a proper on ramp to the expressway and decided to head North. Not knowing how far the expressway went, we just cruised along until the new road ran out, and we were on the old one again. Turning around and heading South again allowed us to sample the whole 18km expressway.

Impressions? Its nice. Very smooth, very flowing and very fast. That said there are already some surface repairs in places, and something about the road surface and my high-end SuperCat tires meant that I had an annoying rattle whilst driving on the new road. A strange resonance or something.

I do hope to see the speed limit increased on the expressway at some point; its very easy to speed as its so open and wide, and its a prime candidate for a trial of 110kph.

It’s nice to see the work they put into the area surrounding the expressway too. Lots of green; new plantings and what will eventually be mounds of grass and bush. You can catch glimpses of the wetlands they build in various spots as well; just little ponds of water here and there.

Anyway, back to what is important here. The Rover ran faultlessly the whole time, and was great to drive. It’s equally at home puttering around town, as it is at passing cars up hills and cruising the motorways.

We made a quick stop for a rest, and take a couple of photos. Shes filthy, but in a well-loved kind of way.

Unfortunately though, it doesn’t run on hopes and dreams, so a stop at the local Dino station was on the cards.

What a surprise that was though!

Yup, a drop of 2.2l/100km down to 15.9l/100km. Not bad for an old beast tuned by me. I have clocked just under 1200km since getting her, most of those done with the Speeduino setup. It’s good to see the economy finally working out, and becoming somewhat reasonable.

I love driving this car, so will be using it as much as possible, as long as the weather holds out. Oh what I would do to have a carport or garage, instead of a car cover.

More to come. Might FINALLY get around to doing the front speakers at some point, and it’ll need another warrant next month, so there is that to look forward to. Yay.

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