How does Rover´s vanguard of 1996 look today?
It´s hard to tell. The seller of this particular orphan has only just learned to use a camera. Two out of the three photos (twelve are allowed for free) at the car-sales website are taken with the sun light coming from behind the car. Thus in two out of three photos the image is mostly a Honda Accord silhouette with some Rover 600 chrome here and there. The third photo shows the front rear three-quarter with no shadow. This says the owner a) knows nothing about photography, absolutely nothing at all and b) they they couldn´t be bothered to walk all the way around the car. “Ah, the other view is the same as the one I just took….I´ll stop here.” Now, if the car was selling for say, 10,000kr (nearly nothing) you could understand a certain carelessness in the presentation. But this buyer wants 30,000 kr for this 255,000 km vehicle. For that kind of money
you can buy any number of much less unappealing cars than this one.
Here is the car as Rover wanted it to be seen:
There were some aspects of the Rover 600 worthy of praise. At a time when most car interiors were rather drab and grimly modernistic (all the bad sides of modernism but none of the good parts) Rover threw a lot of leather and wood at their 600 design. In daylight it looked very clubby. At night it looked dark because few of the switches were illuminated. Rover also reinstated chrome on the outside and decided a grille was needed to give the car
the Roverness that was lacking in the Accord it was based on some style. I seem to recall Brian Sewell, the art critic, quite liking it. Rover were desperate for people to forget the car was not really a Rover. So for their adverts they chose the tag line “Above all, it´s a Rover.” The implication was that this vehicle would set you apart from the other reps in their chromeless, mundane Vectras, Mondeos and Lagunas. The tag line was as meaningless as “It´s the real thing”.
Nearly 20 years on, this flashback to a flashback of Britishness is not looking so good, if only because the photos are so poor. We see aftermarket wheels and a high mileage and little else. Examples I have seen of this car at this mileage are almost always rusted in odd places. The base of the a-pillar is a popular site of infestation. For lots of reasons I would veer away from this car, not least because its seller doesn´t care enough about the car to want to photograph it properly, I mean just walk entirely around the car. It´s also a 4-cylinder when it really ought to have a 2.5 litre V6 moving it along. Another reason is that if I really wanted a car like this I would buy the Accord and avail of solid Japanese construction or get a much older Jaguar.
If the seller really wants to get rid of this object they need to take photos that show car, not shadow and drop 50% off the price. And finally, as a general tip, take your unloved car to somewhere else other than your local area to photograph it.