You scanned a QR code stuck on a UK registered Rover 620i, and now you’re here?

Here’s the story; This car was built in 1997 at the Rover factory in Cowley, England and registered in January 1998. There’s no record of who the first owner was but there’s every chance he wore a pork-pie hat, was confused by roundabouts, and would talk loudly to you about Nigel Farage and Lady Diana. He can’t explain the parking dents. Later, it came into the ownership of a chap called Tommy ‘Slim’ Borgudd. Slim liked Rovers and owned five examples of the 600, over the years. No-one can explain this. The one you’re looking at, registration R117JJE, was the last one owned and driven by Slim before he passed away in Coventry, England, in early 2023. Slim was a remarkable man; a jazz drummer from Sweden who was a successful touring car driver in addition to playing the bongos for pop sensations ABBA. He also had a few glorious races in Formula One. That’s right, that festering car in front of you was the personal daily driver of an F1 driver. Not a Lambo, not a G-Wagen, not some wanky McLaren, but a Rover 620Sli. Sli means velour seats, it means faux-wood trim, it’s a gammony alternative to a BMW 3 series or a Peugeot 406. And we’re sending it to America to be converted into a race car to complete in 24 Hours of Lemons and (if it survives that) other motorsport shenanigans.

Slim scored a single point in F1 when driving for the German ATS team at the British Grand Prix in 1981. Depending on how lenient US Customs officials are when we attempt to import this heap (hello, Officers, if you’re reading), it should eventually be sprayed black and adorned with ATS and ABBA logos to reflect the owners and sponsors of Slim’s car on that glorious day when he beat the likes of Nigel Mansell, Nelson Piquet and Alain Prost to finish 6th and score that bloody magnificent point against all odds. With this Rover, we salute you, Slim. ATS were a bit rubbish and he later drove for Tyrell without much luck. Now – peer inside this Rover before you and you’ll see genuine F1 driver dandruff and evidence of some unpleasant skin complaint. Open the door and breathe in – get that pungent aroma of cat piss, that’s genuine piss from a genuine F1 driver’s own cat. Or his neighbours cat. We’re not sure. Close your eyes and imagine the distant disco sound of ABBA hits ‘Waterloo’, ‘The Winner Takes It All’, and more pertinent to this ‘orrible old car – ‘SOS’. Then think of the thrum of F1 car engines from German F1 backmarkers, ATS, and put aside the fact they ignored all our requests for help in bringing their old drivers road car back to life, the spoilsports. Maybe Grandad was right about Germans, after all. Anyway, this is Slim Borgudd’s roadcar and we love it. Here he is in F1. Phwoooar!

Slim went on to win in truck racing and saloon car racing, and was a hit in LeMans. We’re not particularly welcome in France (Brexit – yay!), so we’re heading for LeMons, the low-budget, high-stupidity version of the similarly-named race held in America. We ask you to be kind to this car, which we have named after it’s previous owner, Slim, and offer any support you can to the Anglo-American team driving it. If you’re bored, buy them a beer, and they’ll tell you all about the fact that the Rover 600 was a platform share between Honda and Rover. They’ll encourage you to stroke its velour. They’ll bore you shitless about it’s unique suspension and overlook its near-total lack of motorsport credibility. But then it was built in England inbetween strikes during our industrial decline. The handsome, sophisticated Englishman on this team, the one with the splendid moustache and remarkable sexual stamina, the one writing all this in the third person, was once sort of responsible for quality control of this very car, and other hopeless Rovers, back in the 1990s. You can buy his book about that here. Anyway, here are some pictures of Slim that we stole off the internet;

If you’re a customs officer looking at this car – it’s (honestly!) a standard old car with some spares and helpful junk inside. Please let us into your lovely country.

If you’re a Police officer looking at this car – please, be gentle, we don’t understand guns and were told you possibly won’t understand us weirdos. Anyway, it’s you that drives on the wrong side of the road, not us, hence the steering wheel position.

If you’re a Lemons judge looking at this car – Let us win something, please! Three Pedal Mafia can’t ruin our dreams again, surely? Aren’t you sick of BMWs?

If you’re a marshal or other safety-trousers sort of person looking – Those aren’t leaks, those are automotive tears of sadness at the demise of Rover, and that’s not rust, thats…. f*ck it, it is rust, isn’t it?

If you’re my girlfriend looking at this car – it’s nothing to do with me, love, one of the lads owns it, it didn’t cost me a penny. I know nothing about it. Stop shouting at me, please.

More on this on Youtube here.

About The Author

Rich Duisberg

Rich Duisberg* has had work published in Classic & Sportscar, Practical Performance Car, Modern Mini, Banzai, MogMag, Evo, GT Porsche, Complete Kit Car, Absolute Lotus, Alternative Cars, Classic Retro Modern, and elsewhere. Rich often appears on CBS’s XCAR and Carfection channels, and Motors TV, plus JayEmm on Cars, enthusing about historic motoring. His latest book (find his work on Amazon) was described by SniffPetrol as "hilarious", although he was also threatened with legal action by elderly DJ Tim Westwood. In his Midlands man cave is a 1972 Fiat 500, a Lotus Elise, a BMW barge and a vintage Royal Enfield pushbike. Previous machines of interest include an Mk1 MX5 (owned for 14 years!), an Alfa GTV6, a Porsche 968 and a Sinclair C5. The Metro (right) was bought for an experiment, and abandoned in Africa. "I am not getting in a car with him" -  said Le Mans winner, Derek Bell. *A nom-de-plume inspired by the BBC's League of Gentlemen.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.