Monday, November 1, 2010

San Francisco Street Sighting - 1969 Rover TC 2000

I really love stories of people who buy cars new and keep them for a long time instead of replacing them whenever the warranty runs out or a flashy new model comes along. Many owners in our consumer culture bail on their vehicles when they suffer a mechanical problem or the condition declines due to poor maintenance habits. From here the ownership spectrum branches out; some keep the car because they love it, some keep it because they can't afford to replace it.
Happily, this 1969 Rover TC 2000 seems to be a prime example of the former.

The story on this car is fantastic. According to the owner, who I have never met but I tracked down a website he created for the car, he bought it brand new in the city - most likely from British Motor Car Distributors on Van Ness. It has been his daily driver ever since, with minimal modification and no restoration.
In 1969 Rover didn't offer much in the way of options or equipment. You had a choice of manual or automatic transmission and whether or not you wanted air-conditioning. This car is a four-speed stick with no A/C, no power anything. Over the course of decades, the owner has added Cibie fog lights and a CD player with the changer in the trunk. The interior is otherwise stock and recently received a reupholstery job to make the black leather look like new again. According to the owner's site, he covered some 300,000 miles with his Rover before the factory engine gave out and had to be replaced. People like to joke about the unreliability of British cars but this one evidently bucked the trend.
The Rover 2000 TC began life in 1963, as the Rover P6 in England. It was attractive but somewhat inefficiently packaged, with relatively little trunk space and seating for four. Only one 2.0 liter, overhead-cam, four-cylinder engine was initially available. Four-wheel disc brakes were standard. The TC was a higher-end model with dual SU carburetors for better fuel delivery and more power. A V8 model, the 3500, would be introduced in 1968.
Condition of this Rover is excellent for an unrestored car of its age. I don't know if the paint is original but it shines like new and the body is flawless. It even has the factory Icelert cold weather sensor still attached to the front end, a feature included on American-market cars. I wish more people took care of their cars this meticulously.
This fellow obviously didn't learn his lesson about Rovers after the first one, so a couple of years ago he purchased a gorgeous blue 1970 3500 sedan. I'd love to find it someday.

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