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A Grand Monday: Rover Montego Countryman

Published 22 May 2017

They say that if you want to know what makes a good car - a rally good car - then you should ask a taxi driver. And, indeed, while the motoring press never really got excited about the estate version of the humble Austin-Rover Montego, legions of cabbies wouldn't hear a word said against it.

Especially in this format, fitted with the Perkins Prima diesel engine - a rattly, uncouth powerplant that had all the aural delights of a bottle bank caught in an earthquake, but which was utterly unkillable. Many a Montego diesel clocked up an astonishing mileage with a taxi beacon on the roof. This was a car that, at 250,000 miles, was barely run in. And at 500,000, was frequently still going strong. It was usually the bodywork, thrown together with the usual lackadaisical Austin-Rover approach, that finally finished them off.

As a result, they're rare now, and they have quite a following. There's even a Montego Countryman Enthusiasts Group on Facebook, and its 200+ members are infectiously keen, bringing moribund rotboxes back from the dead to allow the pure, unbridled joys of Montego motoring to be enjoyed by future generations. 

As a result, we don't think this example will hang around for long. Priced at a sensible £525, it's surprisingly all there for an old Monty, albeit with some corrosion around the rear wheelarches (they all do that, sir...)

Montego Countryman Estate (3)

It's a genuine Countryman, too, not just a common or garden Montego estate. That means some nice wooden door cappings, a radio-cassette player, leccy windows, power steering and seven seats. The perfect car, then, for someone who spent their childhood being shuttled around in the boot of a clattery old Montego and wants to afford their own children the same life-affirming experience. 

With 121k on the clock, it's also barely run-in. It'll do four times that without shrugging a shoulder. As a piece of nostalgic cheese, this is a veritable bargain, and quite a rare car to boot. Enjoy it if you can, as it'll be hard to find another.

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