A rotten car from the eighties. Rear wheel drive, elegant styling, touring car credentials and plenty of performance from a 3.5 litre V8. Had there been a German or Italian badge on this, instead of that leaky-looking longboat, perhaps it wouldn’t be sat here in the waiting room of God’s crusher. The market, today, dictates what things are worth and (sadly) this SD1 isn’t worth saving. Even in this decrepit state, the equivalent BMW M-machine would have us looking for positives, man-mathematicians contriving a plan to save it. But it’s gone, probably already recycled by the time this story gets published.

Here’s another SD1. Same scrapyard. Same state. It might be a bit ‘council’ to have this sat on your drive under a tarp’, but can’t something be done? If it were a vintage boat it would be sunk somewhere warm for divers to explore, encouraging marine growth. Actually, flora and fauna are taking hold. We have two kinds of moss, two kinds of lichen, a Buddleia and that weed with pretty red roots that makes your hands stink when you pick it, all clinging to life on this Longbridge rotter. However, these pictures were taken not by a diver in tropical waters, but MotorPunk’s Rad, in a breakers yard in Derby. In the rain.

And a third! Perhaps a hoarder had all three of them, the council (or snotty neighbours) compelling him to shift them, or an elderly chap who had them from new (old Rovers are always driven by chaps) who’s eyesight failed faster than the rust grew, arthritic fingers unable to fix the faults these cars came with as standard. They’re all knackered, anyway, but there’s a beauty in the decay, don’t you think? Nature taking everything back to the elements.

There’s a Moggy Minor, too. In the same colour Arkwright’s squeeze, Nurse Gladys Emmanuel, used to have. Today your district nurse has a Corsa. Why are new cars so utterly charmless? Will we shed a tear in the scrapyard of the future at the sight of a 2015 Corsa?

And as a bonus, a really terrible deathrap on not-quite-enough wheels, a machine once loved by cheapskate local councils, and us MotorPunks. I thought it was a Piaggio Ape, but it’s a Vespacar p601v. Same Italian bodged nonsense, probably, but with a different badge. It’s cool, even here awaiting it’s moment with the jaws of the crusher. The clues in scrapyards are interesting, this Vespacar is on a V plate, so 1980-ish, but the stickers as used on the bonnet were only common from the mid-nineties. I can imagine a disgruntled park-cleaner driving this thing on two-wheels, trying to kill it, a good decade after it should have been scrapped.

Perhaps we should start making an effort to start saving some of these things. They’ll never appreciate in value unless folks start to talk-up their merits and cherish their quirks. Bits can be bought. Rust can be conquered. Actually, some of them don’t look that far gone. Squint.

Pics; Rad Pajor. Rambling; Duisberg

PS – For SD1s in a sunnier, and funnier, setting – you might like this.

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.

6 Responses

  1. ken johnson

    If the Vespacar ( UK model by the way – turn signal lenses were MOT requirement in UK. The ones in the headlight surround were covered over by demand. UK model is the only one that used these particular ones) hasn’t been crushed I have a buyer in UK for it if half reasonable for price. Has a few of them. I restore them here in Canada so I’d bring it home if it was here and give it new life as a donor vehicle – Ken

  2. ken johnson

    Contacted the wrecking yard where the P601V was located and couldn’t save it. Advised them to contact me if another shows up and I’ll have UK Vespacar friends buy them for parts. Not a lot of crushed value so purchase price should be reasonable. Sum of the parts is greater than the whole – Ken


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