Rover 2000 TC

Roverīs rather staid and traditional image took a knock in the mid-1950s when the factory entered teams of their 3-litres in such blood and thunder events as the Marathon de la Route and the East African Safari. So it was not sursprising that the much lighter and faster 2000 would end up with its nave plates off and numbers on the doors. Yet Rover really put their rally experience to a rather back-to-front use, for the company had retired from competition before the 2000 TC was even announced. The plain fact of the matter is that the 2000 TC is the rally car, and that the miles of rough roads, extremes of temperature and general battering were mainly research being carried out while keeping the firmīs name in the news.

The TC stands for twin carburettors, but a great deal more has been done to the engine in order to increase its power output, which now stands at 114 bhp net at 5.500 rpm., compared with the standars carīs 90 bhp at 5.000 rpm. The bore and stroke remain unaltered, but the compression ratio is raised from 9.0 to 10.0 to 1. The engine uses a flat Heron cylinder head, with the combustion chambers in the crowns of the pistons and integral cast-in induction manifolding. A complete new head with four separate inlet ports is therefore fitted, and a modified camshaft. The mixture is supplied by two HD8 (2in.dia.) SU carburettors and fed through a bolt-on manifold; the carburettors are very flexibly mounted, with O-rings and a spring support. Exhaust is carried away through a four-branch manifold, which then merges into a two-branch pipe and finally a large-bore single pipe at the rear of the engine.

As this is a car which is likely to be driven pretty hard, an oil cooler is standard, built into the lower part of the water radiator; no oil temperature gauge is fitted.

In all other respects the 2000 TC is mechanically identical with the standard 2000, right down to the gearbox ratios and the braking system. The rather flamboyant colour schemes and fancy chrome-plated wheels are reserved for the United States market. On the normal cars, the only external recognition points are the "TC" badges on the bonnet, boot and on each front wing. Inside, a Smiths 7.000 rpm rev counter is fitted in a small panel alongside the clock on the wide central shelf. A rather unneccessary TC badge is also seen on the front loudspeaker grille, looking somewhat out of place in the otherwise restrained interior. There is no hint of "competition" about the 2000 TC engine when starting. The choke, with a pull-out control to one side of the radio speaker, needs to be set at about half distance and a warning lamp lights when the engine has warmed up sufficiently for the choke to be pushed in, a traditional Rover fitting.

With maximum torque - - being developed at 3.500 rpm, the 4-cylinder engine has to be worked hard to get the best from it. It cannot be said that the engine is either smooth, or at high revs, very quiet; our main criticism, however, must be aimed at the gearchange, which is very much out of keeping with the carīs otherwise light controls. Part of the blame can be put on the tiny lever, which gives very little purchase; changes are heavy and notchy and quite often the lever needs a hefty shove to get it into place. This is not helped by a heavy clutch movement, and driving the car in the London rush hour became somewhat tiring.

It is on the open road that the 2000 TC comes into its own, when the engine can get to work and constant gearchanges are not being made. One seems in complete control of the car, with light yet progressively powerful brakes, precise and responsive steering and superb grip from the Pirelli Cinturato tyres.

The car did, on certain surfaces, get a curious, but slight, rear end "shimmy"; at first we put this down to wrong tyre pressures but, after these were checked, it was found to be a movement of the semi-de Dion rear suspension. Although rather disturbing for the driver, until he gets used to it, it makes no apparent difference to the carīs stability, which is excellent at all times. When cornering fast, the body leans very noticeably, but this effect helps the driver in judging the forces generated.

With the high compression ratio, Super premium fuel is needed. However, some of the increase in price is made up for by the improvement in consumption, the TC managing 25.1 mpg compared with the slower single-carburettor car, which returned 24.0 mpg. The fuel tank holds 12 gallons, of which 1 1/4 gallons are held in a reserve operated by a lever matching the choke on the central console. The oil level never dropped during our 1.500-mile test.

It does not take long to appreciate the superb layout and quality of the Rover. There is ample leg room in both the front and rear; this is one of the few cars with individually shaped rear seats, with proper location for all the passengers. A lot of extra performance is provided by the engine changes, which enable the truly fine roadholding of the 2000 to be enjoyed even more than with the single carburettor version. This addition to the range should be the answer for all those Rover 2000 enthusiasts anxious for better acceleration.

0-60 mph 11.9 sec.

top speed 107 mph

overall fuel consumption 25.1 mpg


Autocar / UK March 1967