Theme: Aftermarket – Plato’s Garments Cloak the Sunrise

Fun fact: for Ireland only this car came with a 1.4 L petrol engine.

That had something to do with Ireland’s punitive car taxation system. Still, it’s a puzzle. The Celtic Tiger roared loudest around then: was Rover (Irl.) Ltd so desperate to sell cars that they had to
Continue reading “Theme: Aftermarket – Plato’s Garments Cloak the Sunrise”

Fastback Flashback – 1976 Rover SD1

We attempt to remain aloof to the SD1’s visual appeal, but like the car itself, we fall at the final hurdle.

1977 Rover SD1. Image: Drivemy
1977 Rover SD1. Image: Drivemy

When it comes to legacies and reputations, has sufficient time elapsed to talk about the Rover SD1 without falling into the usual narrative tramlines? It’s a tricky one isn’t it? After all, the big Rover remains a deeply likeable car with much to commend it. Yet at the same time, although it didn’t quite attain Lancia Gamma levels of customer toxicity, it became the living embodiment of British Leyland’s genius for snatching defeat from the very cusp of victory. Continue reading “Fastback Flashback – 1976 Rover SD1”

Stolen Thunder – 1986 Rover CCV Concept

Intended to signpost the crucial 800 saloon, Rover’s CCV concept could be said to have eclipsed it entirely.

1986 Rover CCV concept. Image: arrse.com
1986 Rover CCV concept. Image: arrse.com

Why Austin Rover chose to display CCV at the Turin motor show a matter of weeks before the launch of their highly anticipated Rover 800 saloon seems a curious one in retrospect. For although it gained them a good deal of column inches and the approbation of the design community, it also ramped up anticipation for the new saloon model – which was dashed slightly when the 800 was revealed later that year. Continue reading “Stolen Thunder – 1986 Rover CCV Concept”

The world’s Oddest Head Restraints

The head-restraints in the Rover 3500 always struck me as overkill, the ones in the back I mean.

1968 Rover 3500 rear headrestraint.
1968 Rover 3500 rear head-restraint.

Sorry about the reflections in the photo. 80% of that head restraint is not adding comfort or restraint. Why did they make them so big? We wrote about the 3500 before. Continue reading “The world’s Oddest Head Restraints”

Misposted in Posterity’s Pigeonhole : Rover P6

We ask if it’s sometimes better to die young.

Rover 2000TC C

Recently it’s been pointed out that, whatever his past achievements, such as a surprisingly admirable commitment to gay rights, David Cameron, British Prime Minister at the time of writing, will be defined by history as the man primarily responsible for Britain leaving the European Union and, conceivably, of causing irreparable damage to the EU itself. Whether you deserve it or not, posterity can be a harsh judge. Continue reading “Misposted in Posterity’s Pigeonhole : Rover P6”

20 Years of the Rover 200

Happy 20th anniversary, Rover 200. Or is 21st anniversary?

1995 or 1996 Rover 200: Autocar
1995 or 1996 Rover 200: Autocar

Around about this time 20 years ago Rover enjoyed the beginnings of renaissance. We all know where that ended. It ended in a story that classic car journalists like because they can rake over and ask “what if” as they swirl madeira in their glasses.

This image is from the front cover of Autocar, January 17, 1996. It’s one of the first reviews, perhaps. Either way. Water. Bridge. Under. A lot of. The article pitted the Rover 214 against the new Fiat Bravo. I’d like to say which one won but in the end Continue reading “20 Years of the Rover 200”

A Photo for Sunday: 1967-1973 Rover P5B

After a bit of a hiatus a Photo for Sunday returns with an old favourite of Driven To Write, the Rover V8 engine in its original UK application, the Rover 3.5 Litre.

1967-1973 Rover 3.5 litre.
1967-1973 Rover 3.5 litre.

This one was not seen in my local neighbourhood, but in the midlands of Ireland. Normally I do as little editing as possible with these images. As there was a person sitting in this car I promised to anonymise the photos. Hence the blockular incongruities.

The Rover isn’t relatively big compared to most modern cars. It’s probably smaller than a VW Polo. You can measure it and yet still not believe your eyes. It still looks enormous and incredibly imposing without having the massive, stately-home inertia of a Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow which manages to Continue reading “A Photo for Sunday: 1967-1973 Rover P5B”

Looking Back: 2001 MG ZT-190

Regular readers of this site know that there are only three natural positions for a product in the car market: luxury, sporting and economy. And?

2001 MG ZT-190: automobiles-sportive.com
2001 MG ZT-190: automobiles-sportive.com

And don’t get pushed too far from them. That’s the no-man’s land of not very sporty, not very cheap and not very luxurious. The unmarked graves of Lincoln (unfilled at the moment), Saab, Oldsmobile and Lancia are all in that bourne from which no car maker returns. Apart from Saab and Borgward.

On with the story. Continue reading “Looking Back: 2001 MG ZT-190”

Theme : Evolution – The Missing Links 7

The Useless Estate Car

Rover Estora 2
Image : http://www.mbclub.co.uk

Today there are quite a few contenders for that dubious accolade, possible exemplified best by the Mercedes CLS Shooting Brake. The idea of tacking a glassy, generous box onto the boot of a saloon, maybe even lengthening it a bit, in order to make something supremely useful just isn’t sexy in the 21st Century. People don’t want to be thought of as saddoes, who are only at their happiest bustling around B&Q with a groaning trolley of timber flooring. No, their lifestyle choices are better and, whilst they might need a bit of added loadspace for windsurfer accoutrements, old school golf clubs or just to fit in an extra Louis Vuitton hatbox, it’s important that the car doesn’t look in the least bit practical. Continue reading “Theme : Evolution – The Missing Links 7”

1980 Rover V8-S Roadtest

“Roverpowering!” Archie Vicar describes his impressions of the new Rover V8-S. The text is a what appears to be transcript of an article that appeared in Today´s Motoring Magazine, July 1980 (pages 45-46). The original photos were by Nigel Rollister-Hyde. Due to reproduction problems, archive photos have been used.

1980 Rover V8-S in Triton Green
1980 Rover V8-S in Triton Green

That the Rover 3500 is a remarkable car goes without saying. Since its launch in 1976 it has won a firm following and has set a new benchmark in the large hatchback class. But the 1976 car was far from perfect, some say. It lacked a height-tilt adjustment for the driver´s seat cushion and a rear screen wiper, for example. Furthermore, the rear seats were set far too low and the passenger´s vent seldom functioned reliably. The steering wheel also obscured the minor instruments too and the lights’ master switch was hard to see. But there were compensations such as Continue reading “1980 Rover V8-S Roadtest”

Theme : Dashboards – The Rover P6

An Ignored Classic

Rover V8 Int

In Simon’s introduction he mentions the original P6 Rover dashboard, and I think this merits more scrutiny. The P6 Rover ceased production in 1977, ending its life as a British Leyland product built in 2.2 and 3.5 litre forms, and viewed as a rather staid design with a latterly gained reputation for poor build quality. Continue reading “Theme : Dashboards – The Rover P6”

1987 Jaguar XJ-6 3.6 Versus the Rover Sterling and Vauxhall Senator 3.0 CDi

How bad were Jaguar’s quality problems in 1987? And what was Car magazine thinking when the XJ6 won a giant-test against the Rover Sterling and Vauxhall Senator? The Jaguar was rusting before their eyes.

1987 Jaguar XJ-6 3.6 automatic, with OEM rust.
Jaguar XJ-6 3.6 automatic, with OEM rust.

On page 129 of the November 1987 edition of Car, there is photo of a door-seal parting company from the door of a Jaguar XJ-6, a new Jaguar XJ-6 provided by Jaguar Ltd for a comparison test. Did they not check before loaning it out? Or was it fine the day it left Brown’s Lane and then rusted in the interim? Continue reading “1987 Jaguar XJ-6 3.6 Versus the Rover Sterling and Vauxhall Senator 3.0 CDi”

Something rotten in Denmark: 1996 Rover 2.0 Ti

It´s hard to tell. The seller of this particular orphan has only just learned to use a camera. Two out of the three photos (twelve are allowed for free) at the car-sales website are taken with the sun light coming from behind the car. Thus in two out of three photos the image is mostly a Honda Accord silhouette with some Rover 600 chrome here and there. The third photo shows the front rear three-quarter with no shadow. This says the owner a) knows nothing about photography, absolutely nothing at all and b) they they couldn´t be bothered to walk all the way around the car.

How does Rover´s vanguard of 1996 look today?

1996 Rover 600 2.0 Ti diesel
1996 Rover 600 2.0 Ti

It´s hard to tell. The seller of this particular orphan has only just learned to use a camera. Two out of the three photos (twelve are allowed for free) at the car-sales website are taken with the sun light coming from behind the car. Thus in two out of three photos the image is mostly a Honda Accord silhouette with some Rover 600 chrome here and there. The third photo shows the front rear three-quarter with no shadow. This says the owner a) knows nothing about photography, absolutely nothing at all and b) they they couldn´t be bothered to walk all the way around the car. “Ah, the other view is the same as the one I just took….I´ll stop here.”  Now, if the car was selling for say, 10,000kr (nearly nothing) you could understand a certain carelessness in the Continue reading “Something rotten in Denmark: 1996 Rover 2.0 Ti”

Something Rotten in […] Denmark: The Baby Bentley

The quality of the interior has held up better than the quality of the concept of the Rover 827.

ImageGiven the depredations of the Danish climate and the fact this car was assembled in the UK, today´s discovery, a Rover 827 coupe, has held up rather well. Goodness, the leather interior is even developing a patina which I used think was only possible on cars made before I was born.

Continue reading “Something Rotten in […] Denmark: The Baby Bentley”