This old barge was a bit of a bargain at £180 with a long MOT, but it needed a little work - still, I can't complain, because these problems could easily have struck a car costing 10 times as much.
Although Rover build quality has been much derided over the years this car still drives with a lot of grace, no creaks and no groans. A solidly built car, and doing exceptionally well for the mileage on it.
Driving is a bit like being at sea around corners, but it holds the road very well even at very high speeds and rides with a bit of dignity. The steering is too light and doesn't give you much information. It's not a car to hustle, but it can cope reasonably well with it...
The interior is very '80s (it's basically the same as the mk1 Rover 800 launched in 1986) and it's disappointing that Rover carried on with it up until the year 2000. The buttons are scattered everywhere - adjuster for the dashboard lights at the bottom of the centre console anyone? The materials are mostly hard and cheap-looking, but the design is "endearing" and preferable to the often very boring and equally cheap Honda dashboards found in later Rovers. Headroom is tight in the front, probably because the sunroof takes up so much space, but accommodation in the rear is very good, even with the front seats right back on their runners. The boot is huge though, you could stash a good few corpses in there, if you wanted...
VM's 425 OHV engine (shared with Ford Scorpio TD, Jeep Cherokee TD, Chrysler Voyager TD, etc.) is very good despite its weird backwards design - pushrods and valves instead of cams, gear driven instead of belt/chain driven, but it makes it a tough and friendly old thing. It has around the same torque as the sporting 820 Vitesse models, so accelerating is a cinch, but unlike the Vitesse it has the potential for 50MPG. I manage to derive about 40MPG from it, but factor in that it runs well on vegetable oil from the supermarket and it's the cost equivalent of 80MPG.
The exterior styling has grown on me, subtle and elegant - but then most see it as an old man's car which should be in the scrappy. The body is in very good condition for such a cheap old car with only two small rust scabs and a little laquer peeling off the boot.