"How I was bitten by the Rover Bug"

Personal Profile of Daniel Shepherd
December 2001

The first Rover I fell in love with belonged to a Vicar (and his daughter wasn't bad either!). It was a P5 3 litre saloon and I often walked past it on my way to school, admiring its shape and detail.

In 1987 Roger Douglas, wearing a red tie but blue underpants, began the removal of tariffs protecting our local car production industry, and so to get into the spirit of things my father dashed off to England, bought an SD1, popped in to say hello to his Mum, and came back home with it. It was a 1983 2.6, in the forever gorgeous moonraker blue, and was immediately pressed into service as the bridal car for my sister's wedding. Having learnt to drive in a rust-white Morris 1100, I was on occasion (on very rare occasion) given the key to the SD1 and let loose on the North Shore Roads. I was impressed by its comfort and power, not to mention its size. I recall vividly on one occasion transporting five bodies, a drumkit, two electric guitars, one bass guitar and four amplifiers of various descriptions out to a band practise. I wouldn't say the ride on that day was particularly comfortable, but the SD1 just hummed along as if it was business as usual.

Of course given its year, the SD1 wasn't without its moments. The bottoms of all four doors began rusting and the electric sunroof kept jamming open. The 2.6 did what all 2.6s do at one stage or another and broke its cambelt. The resulting repair bills weren't kind to Dad's wallet and so the SD1 was sold and replaced by a Mazda, which rapidly went the way of the Morris 1100!

After briefly owning a triumph Herald (Continental looks, Albanian engineering!) I was once again looking for a new car, this time to share with my partner Robyn. With my natural charm and grace I managed to convince Robyn that a P4 was the car for us, and we got a jet black 1963 P4 95 for the princely sum of two thousand dollars back in 1996. We drove that car everyday all over the place for three years before taking it off the road for a clean up. In that time the only trouble we had, apart from being best friends with the local service station owners, was a failed starter motor.

Of course while the P4 was off the road we needed a replacement vehicle, a scan in the advertisements in Roverdom exposed a 1964 P5 3L, which we picked up for $1500. Unfortunately we only had this vehicle for two months before someone decided to drive into it while it was parked on the side of the road. The Japanese car that hit it was scrapped up and put in someone's rubbish bin, while after a quick inspection with the attending police officer the Rover was driven home. This began a nightmare with an insurance company that is another story altogether, but I can gladly say that I've just recently won in the courtroom and we hope to have both our Rovers back on the road within the next six months.

And the P5 owned by the Vicar? Well, my good friend David Welch bought it two years ago, although the deviant Vicar had replaced the three litre with a V8. As for his daughter, well who knows?