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Big BEN Rally day one

Time 5:47 pm, October 13, 2012

STRANGE as this may sound, it turns out that Alan Partridge’s taste in cars was actually spot on.

Batch and I can report this happily, having just racked up a whopping 570 miles in his very vehicle of choice – a Rover 827 ‘Sterling’ saloon. That’s before we mention its maiden voyage to Gosport, too – all the way from its previous Midlands home.

Ok, so ours isn’t quite as well cared for as Partridge’s example, but broken filler flap release aside it’s held up very well over its 135,000 mile life.


Electric windows, electric sunroof, electric seats, and electronic climate control: all still working perfectly. In fact bar a missing button on the stereo – and carpets that smell like ashtrays – everything’s like brand new.

It’s been drawing plenty of looks on the French autoroutes, too – though whether that’s for the right reasons or not remains to be seen. Batch’s terrifying mask probably hasn’t helped matters.

Speaking of roads, Northern France isn’t half dull – just fields upon fields of agriculture. Reminds me of Patridge’s native Norfolk, appropriately enough.

Thankfully though, the company is enough to make up for it – whether it be old or new faces. In particular, Car Dealer readers might remember James and Batch’s saviours-in-a-Hyundai from last year: Wags and Rob.


This year they’ve gone all out: dressing their Nissan Maxima QX to look like Thunderbird Two, complete with wings and – terrifyingly – some sort of makeshift rocket strapped to the boot.

Speaking of familiar faces, AA men Brian and Andy – who spent much of the last Bangers4Ben making friends with our Volvo’s alternator – are also back once again, giving our new car their blessing (of sorts).

Not that the Rover requires any such encouragement, of course – we know it’ll make it to Spain and back. Whether it’ll be doing that under its own steam, of course, remains to be seen…

Jon Reay's avatar

Staff Writer Jon is one of the Car Dealer team's newest members. You can also find him contributing to AOL Cars.

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