"How I was bitten by the Rover Bug"

Personal Profile of Tony Grigaitis

My first contact with a Rover was back in the 1960's when I was courting Celilia, who is now my wife. Her father bought a 1940 Rover 10, one of the last produced before they went over to war-time production. I proposed to Cecilia in that car, and after her father's death, we acquired it some time later from her family who had no further use for it. Although somewhat shabby by this stage it was totally reliable; it started first time, every time, even in the depths of an English winter, often covered in snow and ice as we didn't have a garage. The ravages of time and salt covered roads resulted in the bodywork deteriorating beyond recovery and the Rover was replaced by a Standard Vanguard Phase III, though the '10' was retained as a rolling chassis with the intention of rebuilding it as a special'. A growing family and a move to New Zealand prevented that and it was sold just before we left England in 1975.

The Rover connection was not reestablished until the purchase of a 1964 Land Rover whilst we were in Wellington and which was used extensively with the local 4WD club and which I still own. The next addition to our 'collection' was the 1959 P4 '105' purchased in 1995 (actually a wedding anniversary gift from Cecillia).

Although this car was in running order, I decided to carry out a reasonably thorough refurbishment rather than a 'rolling restoration', so it was off the road for the next two years whilst this was carried out. Since then the car has won a couple of awards and is in regular club use; it has even competed in off-road trials events so it isn't cosseted but driven, sometimes quite hard.

Since then I have also acquired a 1947 P2 '16' to be restored; a 1948 P3 '75' - body beyond recovery but reduced to a rolling chassis and basis for a 'special' (do you recall the saga of the P3 and the camelias?); a 1966 P6 2000 SC in running order; and a 1984 SD1 2600S, also in running order, both the latter cars requiring some TLC to bring them back to the proper Rover standard.

A P5 would complete the 'set' but I don't have any more room!