It’s good knowing others with the same sort of automotive suffering as myself, sometimes they surprise you with opportunities like this one.
A friend and fellow SD1 owner (and also the Chairman of the local Rover club), Nick, had been following a lead on a couple of SD1s that were sitting in a backyard up in Whanganui. These cars were sadly left behind when the owner passed away, and his widow was looking at options to move them on. She was having trouble accepting that due to the condition of the cars they were going to be hard to sell for much, as none of them were complete, none of them had engines or trans and all of them were de-registered.
A few months pass and I get a call from Nick asking if I was interested in coming with him to check the Rovers out, and see what parts could be saved from them. It turns out the widow had given up and was going to scrap all of the cars. Understandably as soon as Nick heard this he jumped on the chance to save the hard to find parts that we all need to save.
Of course I’m never going to turn down a chance to have a look at some SD1s, let alone the chance to hopefully score some good parts for little money (and save the parts from scrap).
Yesterday we made the 4+ hour round trip to visit the cars. There were three cars left, out of what sounds like a possible four or five originally, so she had managed to find a home for at least one.
The red car was completely stripped, and had a whole range of various random bits dumped inside. Unfortunately these had been left out in the elements, so some of the good stuff was ruined. The red cars shell actually looked like a good rust free shell (other than the rusty tailgate) but it would be a lot of work to do anything with other than cut off repair panels.
The red car also had a strange looking coilover strut setup in the rear. The axle looked standard, and no signs of a rear swaybar or anything. Normally SD1s have separate spring and strut, not coilovers. One issue that has been found with some other cars changing to a coilover like this is that the metal where the top of the strut mounts was never designed to have that much force put on it, and can be damaged.
It’s not the most fancy or solidly built towbar, so I wont be towing car trailers with it or anything, but being able to haul a load of garden waste or a motorbike around would be awesome. Nothing like towing a mundane load with something special.
Don’t work on cars that have been sitting outside on a farm if you can’t man up and pretend there aren’t spiders. This one was chilling out right next to where I was working in the boot. There was one on the other side too, of similar size.
I got a bunch of good stuff from that car, including some spare headlights, some good uncracked tail lights and a set of indicator/wiper stalks that aren’t broken.
The shed itself was full of hidden goodies. You really needed to keep your eyes peeled as there was stuff everywhere. This straight through large bore exhaust was just chilling against the back wall. I had to strongly resist the urge to bring that home with me. Gosh it must sound good though.
Yes, that is a legit original rubber Vitesse spoiler. It’s in terrible condition, but I will save it. These are like gold-fish teeth to get hold of, and here was one, sitting right there. *regains composure*
It’s badly painted, cracking and the internal metal frame is rusting, but I’ll sand all the paint off, remove what metal I can and see what I have. I’m hoping to be able to make a mould of it, and then either use the rubber one on the car, or make a light weight fibreglass copy and store the rubber one away. But hey, I have one, and that’s what matters; It gives me options.
I salvaged a whole big box of other random parts, most of which I needed to tidy up little things on my car. I found a pair of these front chrome strips that go on the front grille (the one that my car had painted black, and I covered in chrome tape before British Car Day). It’ll be nice to fit a proper one of these as the chrome tape looks good from far but far from good.
I also grabbed a speedo and tacho cluster. This has a good plastic lens to replace my scratched one, but more importantly it’ll let me play with the trip counter and find out why they stick and won’t reset, and how to fix it. I’ll also look into the tacho and see what solder joints might have failed in mine so I can one day reinstate it.
I found a pair of these series one front corner lights too, so will experiment with swapping from the orange lenses to the clear lenses (the orange insert on these ones can be removed) and see if I like it. One is damaged, so if I like it i’ll have to try to source a good lens.