The story starts in 1996 when I graduated from University. I had my Land Rover, but needed a more economic form of transport to get to my new job and back (22 miles each way, at 17mpg, it would add up!)
Looking around at the diesel cars of the time, the Montego Turbo Diesel was far and away the most economic of the lot, a good 10mpg better than offering from Ford (Escort / Sierra), Vauxhall (Cavalier) and Peugeot (405). The only downside was the rust reputation and the engine noise. The noise is because the Montego is direct injection, rather than indirect like the rest. Notice how now they're all direct - Rover leading the way again.
I managed to obtain a 4 year old 2.0DLX saloon with 45K on the clock, all the toys (PAS, electric windows, central locking, heated mirrors and electric mirrors) for £2995. Welcome K822CAC.
K822CAC carried me and various friends all over the UK, to Lands End, John O'Groats, Wales, Norfolk, and also as far as Bruges and the South of France. We added a further 160,000 miles to that when I bought her.
Major milestones were:
- 77,000 - new head gasket
- 130,000 - new clutch - the lining was fine, but I'd made a spring fall out by wheelspinning with the handbrake on
- 133,000 - smashed a piston, dropped the swarf into the sump and blocked the oil pump. Replacement engine from the scrapyard
- 140,000 - Replacement engine overheated and cracked the head in two places - rebuild original engine (the crank didn't need regrinding!)
- 166,000 - Differential star wheel pin escaped through the casing - gearbox from the scrapyard
- 192,000 - Drove into a flood too fast, the water came over the bonnet, and went into the air intake. Bent a con-rod.
- 196,000 - Replaced the front dampers
- 204,631 - Retired
- Average fuel consumption: 45.7mpg
- Worst fuel consumption: 33.9mpg towing a box trailer
- Best fuel consumption: 58.0mpg touring Scotland.
- Diesel cost:£10,600
- Total cost for 160,000 miles: £24,600
- Cost per mile: £0.15p
I have retired K822CAC because the following job list makes it silly to spend the money when I have bought a replacement one J199HHG as a replacement for £200.
- Gearbox noisy
- Exhaust leaks
- Steering rack worn
- Pulls to the right under power
- Corrosion in rear structural members
- Wheelarch corroded away
- Leaky radiator
I really liked my Montego, if Rover had painted them better they'd be in a better shape now, rather than the rusty laughing stock that most people see them as. But at the end of the day, I'd love to hear from somebody who has had cheaper motoring than me, 15p a mile TOTAL cost is pretty hard to beat.
Of course, this page is called Montegos plural. What about the rest of them. Well. The original bonnet rusted where it had been accident repaired, and then Snowy finished it off with an axe. Rover wanted £180+painting for another one. So I bought an accident damaged G reg Montego with a silver bonnet for £100, and used the bonnet, two wheels, and the rear seat, and then got £40 for it at the scrapyard.
Also, when K822CAC was having the engine rebuilt, I needed to get to Wales and back. So I bought a Montego of a friend for £40, did the trip, then drove it to the scrapyard and got £10 for it. Much cheaper than hiring a car!