Rover P6 2000 TC

Driving impressions after 1500 hurried miles

In order to get an up to date driving impression of the Rover 2000 TC ROAD TEST publisher Bill Quinn and Director of Photography Benjamin Louie took an almost showroom fresh Rover on a slightly lengthened weekend trip from Los Angeles to Lake Tahoe and return. Immediately upon their return, Managing Editor Jim Matthews conducted the following tape recorded interview.

RT: Bill, you just took a lengthy trip in the Rover 2000 TC with the stick shift. First, tell us a little bit about your itinerary. Where did you go?

Quinn: Actually the car had 700 miles when we left Los Angeles, we put about 1500 miles on it in a little under three days. We left Los Angeles late at night, and went to Santa Clara, California and from there, after an overnight stop, we went to San Francisco, from San Francisco to Lake Tahoe, from Tahoe to Reno, Nevada and then from Reno back to San Francisco and from San Francisco back to Los Angeles. We recorded the mileage over-all. Our lowest mileage, under extremely hard use, was 22.5 mpg. Our best mileage was 28.5.

RT: What section of the road did you get your best mileage, between what two points?

Quinn: Well, as I recall it would be on the way from Bakersfield to Santa Clara and in the reverse direction coming back from San Francisco to Los Angeles. Prior to that time we were in the hills where it reduced our mileage slightly.

RT: How about the Rover in the mountains around Lake Tahoe? Did you encounter any roads where you could really test the roadability of the Rover?

Quinn: On the road to Tahoe we did run into some narrow twisting highway because we went a short route which is a little more twisting but going back down the other side we took a freeway type road, the car handled very well. One good feature we noticed was on the way to Tahoe, we had the Ice-Alert activated, which is normal because itīs always under testing conditions and we thought no more about it until half way up to Tahoe the light came on frequently and intermittently and then stayed on constantly. I understand that it comes on intermittently at about 360 and stays on when the temperature outside is about 320. In this case it worked very well beacuse it alerted us to possible icy conditions of the road. I think it is a very good feature, because we might not have even realized that we were running into slippery condition, particularly with the very effective heater that the Rover is equipped with, we had very comfortable conditions and yet outside it was under 320.

RT: Bill, thatīs a long trip in a very, very short period of time. How many miles again did you say you covered?

Quinn: Well, it was over 1500, probably between 1500 and 1700 miles. It was a lot of miles in a very short period and yet both the photographer, Ben Louie, and myself experienced no fatigue at all, the seats adjust in such a variety of positions that you never have any problems with your back aching or things like that. Itīs a very easy car to drive, cross wind present no problem, irregular surfaces are just soaked up by the very advanced suspension, the brakes are superb and thatīs about all you can say. Thereīs no reason that you couldnīt put 18 or 20 hours at a stretch in the car particularly with an off-duty driver being able to rest in the reclining type seats that the Rover is equipped with.

RT: That was going to be my next question, on the braking ability of the car whether you had any traffic situations where you had an opportunity to put the Rover brakes to a severe test?

Quinn: Inadvertently we did. A truck in front of us had a flat tire, and swerved through two lanes of traffic to reach the shoulder and unfortunately swerved right in front of us, causing me to have to brake and turn at the same time. In a car not equipped with radial ply tires and 4 wheel disc brakes Iīm sure that there would have been some slipping or skidding. In the case of the Rover it acted just like we were on dry pavement. Aside from a momentary speeding up of my heart action there were no problems.

RT: Thatīs a kind of situation that anyone is likely to encounter most unexpectedly on the highway and it certainly speaks very well for the combination of braking and tires on the Rover. On your trip you covered many, many different types of terrain, is there anything else that comes to mind that you might think of that would compare the Rover with any other particular make of car or just generally the roadability and handling features.

Quinn: Yes, the fact that in the Rover you can maintain a high average speed practically regardless of the road surface conditions. If you encounter a rough section of highway you may just maintain your speed because the car has a very good adhesion to the road due to the independent suspension on front. It really isnīt independent suspension on the rear, but itīs a De Dion type which has very little unsprung weight causing very good traction both on cruising, acceleration and braking. The wheels just stay in contact with the road and this is half the battle when youīre traveling fast on a rough road. In a typical with a live rear axle you have to be careful applying your brakes and applying power because your wheels will bounce. In the Rover they just stay on the ground where they belong.

RT: Now this was a comparatively new car with less than 1000 miles when you started out. Many inquiries received ask about the reliability of the car and whether owners can expect any difficulties. With a new car you might expect some kind of problems along the way, now did you have any?

Quinn: The only problems we had were directly traceable to the fact that the car was new and there was a slight tendency of the engine to continue to run after the ignition switch was off. This is called pre-ignition and is usually caused by gasoline not being of high enough octane or a slightly high idle adjustment speed or a combination of both plus a tight engine. During the trip however, when I put many miles on it, the engine loosened up considerably, I canīt even think of any problems we had. Our mileage as I say varied but as we put on more miles the mileage increased, oil consumption was nil. Iīd say we had less problems than you can expect in the average new car.

RT: Well, for those of us who live in the Southern California area, and this, of course, is the home of ROAD TEST, itīs a great opportunity to get to test a car in the snow and icy conditions at Tahoe and once again you said that the heater was quite adequate for comfort even driving through the snow, right?

Quinn: Yes, it did present a unique opportunity because we have often been criticized in overlooking faults in cars that show up under cold conditions so in this case we did have a chance to drive the car in the very cold condition and it presented no problems. There was a little difficulty in starting it in the high altitudes since we were at 7100 feet and a read-adjustment of the carburettor would have corrected this problem.

RT: Thank you, Bill Quinn, for your views on the Rover following a fast and enjoyable highway trip.

ROAD TEST / USA June 1968