The trouble with Tomcats is that they get around. With some older than two decades now, many have been through the ravages of the Max Power brigade, received unflatteringly large alloy wheels for which their suspension geometry was never intended, had their fascias hacked to accommodate tacky silver fronted CD/MP3 stereos and their windows tinted. And that’s if you’re lucky, as under the bonnet an imitation K&N (the original is too expensive) induction kit will have been fitted, and the engine and transmission thrashed to within an inch of its life – on old, cold oil of course!
None of that applies to this, which is surely one of the best preserved Rover Tomcats of its era, having done 69,000 miles and as yet unravaged by racers – or unusually for a Rover of this era, rust. It’s not quite concours, with a couple of bumper scuffs and a few very minor bodywork blemishes, but it’s way better than average and does a good impersonation of a nearly new car when given a polish. The body is rust and dent-free, with only a few surface scratches and stone chips sullying it. The metallic blue paintwork has a deep shine, lacking the usual automatic car wash abrasion; it’s largely original, matching across all panels. The interior is excellent, almost as new, with clean upholstery and seats, and an unhacked around dash. Everything works, and the roof panels seal well and don’t leak.
Mechanically it’s superb, with a willing, lusty 2.0 Rover T16 (normally aspirated) engine and a crisp Honda box (both with freshly changed full synthetic oil). It’s just had a full service with new NGK Iridium sparkplugs, air filter, wiper blades, plus front brake discs and pads (Mintex). The clutch is smooth, the car feels tight and taut and unusually rattle-free for its age. On the road it’s very swift (if not blisteringly fast), with 60mph coming up in around 7.5 seconds and the suspension makes the car feel nicely planted. Brakes are strong and even, although the new pads still need bedding in. I’ve used it for long, high speed (70MPH, your worship) motorway runs and it’s averaged a remarkable 42MPG, going as high as 44.2 once last summer! This is one of the benefits of a big engine in a small car, along with the punchy performance. Also, the T-series was always a frugal design.
Overall, an extremely nice little modern classic, with no known faults and everything done that needs doing. Before me, the car had two previous owners and has a stack of old MOTs backing up the mileage. The price is £1,495 or near offer – including one year’s MOT. I am only selling because of space/storage limitations. Its next owner should love it, and with the roof off in summer, it is pure, unalloyed joy!