A classic Rover 216 which had covered more than 402,000 miles in the hands of a single owner will live on after it was saved from a manufacturer scrappage scheme by a combination of Mazda UK, the dealer concerned and the Rover 200 & 400 Owners’ Club.

The 1987 Rover 216 was put forward for Mazda’s scrappage scheme at Beechwood Mazda in Derby, with the scheme allowing anyone with a car registered before December 2011 up to a £4000 saving on a new car. It’s the oldest car Beechwood has ever had in exchange under the scheme. As with many of its sales, the dealer took to social media to post about the exchange. However, it surely wasn’t prepared for the reaction, which saw widespread calls for the car to be saved. And to the dealer’s immense credit, it acted quickly to make that happen despite the conditions of the scrappage scheme.

“We were really surprised by the scrappage car offered, it looked in good condition and had covered an incredible number of miles,” said Rob Wood, Managing Director of Beechwood Mazda. “But under the scrappage scheme we have to scrap cars, and there are no exceptions to this.

“When we posted this on social media we were inundated with requests not to scrap the car. I had my technical guys take a look at it and they confirmed it was in good shape so we asked Mazda UK if we could change the terms of the sale to help save this classic, allowing us to give it a new lease of life. I am pleased to say the change was agreed.

Classic Rover 216

“We are pleased to have done our part to save just a little of British automotive history and I hope it goes on to be preserved for the future.”

There was widespread praise for Mazda and especially the dealer, including from TV star Paul Cowland, who worked at Beechwood when it was a Saab dealer. “Lovely to see my old dealership doing this,” he Tweeted. “It’s a family business run by some properly decent people.”

The car is now set to be taken on by the Rover 200 & 400 Owners’ Club, where its incredible mileage is sure to be a subject of much discussion and celebration.

“This has all happened very quickly and we’re still working out the details, but we have indeed saved the car from being scrapped,” said club Chairman John Batchelor.

“Previously we have restored two cars (at the Practical Classics Restoration Show in 2017 and 2019) and then sold them with profits going to charity. Hopefully we’ll be able to do something similar with this car.

“At the last count there were only 25 SD3 rover 216s still on the UK roads, including this one. With a total mileage at the last MoT of over 392,000 miles this must be one of the highest-mileage Austin Rover S-Series engines ever.”

We’ll bring you more in a future issue, but in the meantime, we can’t help but wonder if the customer’s new Mazda will manage such an impressive innings.