16 June 2006

wild rover

I have just finished this book and would like to write about it, but need a little time to get the thoughts in order. However, if in doubt, do read it as it's bloody good.

No, today is about the wondrous Rover P6. Here it is (nb: some problem uploading pictures at the moment - will add later) - a Lledo Hidden Treasures version.

The Hidden Treasures range is great - they replicate backyard wrecks and show rust, faded/wrecked paintwork and so on. This model even has the sticker on the windscreen that the car has failed its MoT and is unregistered, and even has the inevitable bent coat hanger for its radio aerial. As the Rover that I acquired was definitely in this category, it was appropriate that I got the Hidden Treasures model version.

The Rover was bought as a project (ie backyard wreck) to do up as a first car for the
male offspring, but the work proved beyond me. I bought it for $100 from a mate who lived at the time in Bombala (southern NSW). He had acquired a company car and so the Rover was superfluous to needs. It also had a few ominous noises from the 3.5 litre V8, caused (he said) by the previous owner having dropped something metallic and solid down one (or perhaps two) spark plug holes. It had two high powered driving lights and a very natty, very small leather steering wheel - ie set up as a high speed tourer. The P6s did cruise well but weren't fast off the line - they had discs all round (inboard at the rear) and a full chassis - all factors that appealed as a first car for a male offspring. The downside was the fairly prodigious thirst of the V8 (everything else about V8s is unambiguously good).

So I had to collect this beast from Bombala. I hired a car trailer - lying that I wasn't taking it outside the ACT border - hitched it to the tow car (my then 4.4 litre (P76 engined) Triumph 2500 and collected another wreck from friends of friends of another mate to deliver to yet another friend of said mate in Bombala. It was only some small Jap car and I got down to Bombala from Canberra very easily - just slightly higher fuel consumption, but as the V8 Trump only ever got 18 mpg at best, it hardly mattered.

Brian in Bombala with the Rover had organised a big night out (revolving crawl between the 3 pubs) so I was keen to get on with it, but I figured without the bloke I was delivering the Jap crap to. I had met him a few times - he was best described as an alternate lifestyler. He lived in a wrecked house about 10 kms out of town. There was cold running water but no toilet as he had shot it to death some months previously. The yard was full of wrecked cars including about 3 or 4 Triumphs. He met me in town with a slab of VB and several bottles of hard liquor and had evidently planned a large-ish night in. I hated to let him down (I love a party as much as the next bloke) but, as stated, I was on a promise. So we unloaded the Jap crap, I had a couple of beers to be companionable, I made my apologies and repaired back to town.

It was a very big night. Friday night in Bombala is big. Or at lwast was back in the early 1990s. Drink-driving appeared to be more obligatory than prohibited.

The next morning, after a bracing walk in the minus 2 degree mist to try to clear the head, we loaded the Rover on the trailer and off I went. Brian lived most of the way up a fair sized hill with a picturesque gravel (dirt) driveway up to it - halfway along which was a small bridge over a creek. Crawling down the hill, the trailer (with the Rover, which of course was a heavier car than the Trump - yet another piece of illegality to the whole exercise) started to get away and, altho' I was hard on the brakes, we started to slide. Into the bridge. Cutting a very long piece of this story short, we got the neighbouring farmer, over 80 years old, to hoist himself onto his tractor and come and remove us. And then - only then - did we adjust the override brakes on the trailer so that it would attempt to stop when the car brakes were on. Rather than after, or not at all.

And off we went. The P76 motor was big and lazy and had bags of torque. It only shifted down to second once in the whole trip - up a steep piece of road - but it also drank two and half tanks of petrol, working out to about 7-8 mpg.

Once I had the Rover back in Canberra I started to clean it. It had evidently done a lot of gravel road miles, I vacuumed about 10 kg of dirt and dust out of it. But it really was up for a big rebuild and so the idea of doing it up faded. I stuck some spare ACT plates on it and went to collect son from a mate's place one day. He was quite excited by this surprise - not as much as I was, as I kept an eye out for coppers.

Having dispensed with any idea of doing it up I pulled the motor out and sold it to one of my Triumph Club colleagues to put in his Triumph Stag (a very common conversion), put the little sports steering wheel on the Triumph and sold the rest.

I occasionally see a P6 around and think "hmmm", but not for long.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hello and glad to find your blog. I’ve recently added some pages on all the important Triumph models to my website and I invite you to check it out. I’ve posted some nice Triumph Dolomite wallpapers, quite a few Triumph TR7 pictures and also a cool picture of the Triumph Toledo. Hope you like them!


Michael S.

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