[ROVERNET - UK] "Restoring" Rovers, Market Value, et cetera

Stephen JC Beer stephen at beerinc.com
Sat Jul 29 14:16:13 BST 2006

Well done, James.

This story needs to be presented with the car -- and is part of its 


On Jul 28, 2006, at 11:45 PM, James Dean wrote:

>         I would like to fill in the details and background on this 
> Rover P4 ;as it seems there is some undue criticism here, based on a 
> lack of information. This  LHD Rover  100, decades  ago, belonged to a 
> University Professor, I believe from Utah. It had survived, but was in 
> bad condition, when it was purchased by a Universityof Miami student, 
> and brought to Florida. He had no money or ability to restore it , so 
> came to my Ft. Lauderdale shop, and asked me to find him a buyer.The 
> car had been in an accident decades ago, and had the earlier Rover 90 
> front fitted; probably from the only available Rover  in that part of 
> America. I did nothing to the front fenders; if they were misaligned; 
> it was due to the old accident and repair. Hugh came to me; He had 
> just received a "golden parachute" bonus of about a hundred thousand 
> dollars, when his employer was bought out by another 
> company.Fortunately   he diidn't spend it on fast women; but spent 
> part on a slow Rover.He admired the restoration we were doing on my 69 
> 2000TC, and bought the P4, I think for $700. The car was a piece of 
> junk, and we began making a silk purse out of a sow's ear.
>        There was extensive rust, especially in the rear. I allowed 
> Hugh to order parts directly fromWadham's, at no profit to  myself..I 
> lowered my labor rate, I think to $40 an hour, and a helper at 
> $20/hour. In this long, long project; my profit was probably not   
> five dollars an hour. This was not rural British Columbia, but 
> downtown Ft. Lauderdale; with a high overhead .There were many things 
> Hugh chose to do himself. Welding and rust removal was done in my 
> shop,but not the paint or finish bodywork. Hugh chose to oversee that 
> himself; and  spent a lot of money with a different shop for paint. I 
> suggested that Hugh order his interior from Wadham's. No, he wanted it 
> done by Dennis, a talented local American car upholsterer he knew.Hugh 
> and Dennis chose colors and materials, and after we finished 
> mechanical work , it went first to the body shop, then to the 
> upholstery shop Sadly,Dennis developed a brain tumor. He vowed to 
> finish Hugh's car before he died, and did; though it was a struggle 
> for him. If upholstery seemed unfinished, it was probably because 
> Dennis was dying, as he finished it. Like the paint; I had nothing to 
> do with the upholstery.
>        The windshield was installed by a glass shop, that the paint 
> shop used. Not done by my shop..Hugh wanted state of the art sound and 
> alarm system. I advised against that, but he chose to spend money 
> having that done by someone else.Every classic car alarm system I have 
> ever seen caused problems; this was no exception.Hugh wanted air 
> conditioning in this car. I told him initially he should buy my 
> 2000TC, which had AC ; he'd save $5,000.No, he chose to spend $5,000 
> and have air conditioning. The oversize tires? Hugh bought them,as he 
> liked the way it looked. When the paint, upholstery, and stereo shop 
> finished their  work, we did final details, then Hugh drove it. it 
> came back a few times to work out small bugs, but he finally drove it 
> quite a bit, and it was reliable..He basicly eventually sold the car, 
> because it was slow. He bought a 67 Camaro, with a Supercharger.
>        He relocated to Connecticut. While there,Hemmings Motor News 
> came to him, and used the car on the 2000 HMN Calendar. Also, in 1999, 
> Landrover North America/BMW shipped this Rover, as well as my 69 
> 2000TC to Couer D'Alene, Idaho, and put it in the Ballroom at the 
> National Landrover Dealer's convention.   With its' Rover 75 badge, it 
> was really the star of the show; as the new Rover 75 , the new Mini, 
> and an MGF were  there as well.
>        ... The point of all this; People are quick to blame a 
> restoration shop; who have never owned one. When this car left my 
> shop, the things done in my shop worked well,The metalwork was sound, 
> and the car was reliable. The customer pays the bills; so if he wants 
> an alarm system, or his own choice of paint, upholstery or tires,he 
> gets them.Hugh chose to spend that amount of money; He had a car that 
> received national acclaim of the highest sort.  I have no idea what 
> maintenance was done after it left; but probably several years had 
> elapsed by the time  the reports of the oil leak and alarm malfunction 
> were made.. If he had bought a new car; he would have not had the 
> enjoyment and accolodes this car briefly bought him. In a few years, 
> that new car would have sold for $8,000. In the end; the Classic car 
> community benefited greatly because Hugh saved an old Rover, instead 
> of buying a Harley or a trip to the Bahamas. I just hope the present 
> owner realizes it is his role to preserve the heritage he has 
> inherited with this car.
>                     James Dean, Ft.Lauderdale.
> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Ben Rodgers" 
> <irishrover at netscape.ca>
> To: <rovercar at comcast.net>; <rovernet at lyris.ccdata.com>
> Sent: Thursday, July 27, 2006 6:47 PM
> Subject: Re: [ROVERNET - UK] "Restoring" Rovers, Market Value, et 
> cetera
>> Hi Glen
>>           The $40.000 P4 you refer to, was purchased by James Supler 
>> for
>> approx $8.000 . He later sold it for approx $4000. Now this 
>> restoration to
>> say the least was mediocre and it actually cost in the region of 
>> $34.000.
>> The shop fitted the front end of a 1954 P4 to a 1960 P4, from the 
>> front it
>> looked like a P4 circa 1952-57 and the rear circa 1960- 64. It also 
>> left the
>> shop with a long crack on pass side of windshield, the crack started 
>> at the
>> roof line, obviously who ever installed the glass caused the crack.  
>> The
>> tires were much too large and one front tire touched edge of fender 
>> when
>> turn hard right, didn't do it hard left, indicating fenders out of 
>> line,
>> which they were. The upholstery trim was shoddy and hung down at the 
>> rear.
>> When jim drove it home the gear shift lever fell apart. I drove it 
>> from
>> Boston to PEI and a few miles into the trip I spotted the oil light 
>> coming
>> on every time I slowed. Oil was pumping out at the rear of the valve 
>> cover
>> where the gasket had been incorrectly installed. This car featured in 
>> the
>> Hemmings Calendar around 2000?
>> It was originally owned by a gentlman name Hugh, can't remember his 
>> last
>> name, but he surely wasted alot of money. The car looked great in a
>> photograph and up close to an untrained eye.  It drove well once the 
>> tires
>> were changed but it soon developed other problems, hard to start, poor
>> brakes, wipers stopped working. alarm system shut down the car every 
>> time
>> the battery was disconnected which took a lot of fiddling to get it 
>> running
>> again.. All in all it was a poor job done by people that knew little 
>> or
>> nothing about Rovers. Its still in the area, New Brunswick, and still 
>> on the
>> road but I haven't seen it for a couple of years.
>>                                               Regards  Ben.
>> born in Belfast, Northern Ireland,
>> Author of "lily and me" a great book and a great read .
>> Order on line at amazon.com. Book # ISBN1-55430-019-3
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