Rover 2000

When motorists talk about Rover cars, they usually think of a hand-built model, well engineered, good-looking, and an ideal professional manīs car.

When Rovers launch - as they are launching today - a surprise new model with an accent on quick performance and last-minute design, then that means motoring excitement.

Their new car, from a Ģ10.500.000 specially-built factory, is the Rover 2000, a sloping, slinky thoroughbred with a 2-litre, overhead camshaft 4-cylinder engine producing 90 brake horse power.

Without question, Rover engineers have brought out an enormously zippy and graceful motor car that sets new standards.


One unusual thing they have done is to discard the normal upright positioning of the independent suspension front coil springs. Instead, the new model has its coil springs horizontally mounted so that the stresses and reactions are taken up by the box-section steel bulkhead between engine and passenger compartment. This, with de Dion sliding tube back suspension (the rear wheels always remain parallel) gives an incredibly shock-proof ride, steady and sure, through corners and bends at really high speeds.

Another new idea can cut the cost of minor swipes. The car has a skeleton on which all the chassis components, electrical equipment and ancillaries are already mounted.


This skeleton is driven and tested before the individual, already-painted panels, doors and roof are bolted on. Because panels are made already finished and painted, a repair job can be completed just by fitting a new panel, saving time and cost.

For my three-day road test I took this gay and extremely efficient newcomer over hundreds of miles of wooded country, on motorways and through dense traffic. Cruising was well in the 90īs. In first gear I got 30 miles an hour; second gear 55 miles an hour; third gear 83 miles an hour; and flat out I just topped 104 miles an hour.

Itīs easy

The engine capacity is 1.978cc, it has a 9 to 1 compression ratio, and the bore and stroke are equal at 85.7 mm. This whisks the car about with consummate ease, helped by a first-class power to weight ratio, the car weighs only 23.75cwt.

The Rover 2000 is light on petrol. It gave me a touring fuel consumption at 65 mph of a little more than 27 miles to the gallon, and at constant speeds the figures were:

30 mph     42.5 mpg

40 mph     42.0 mpg

50 mph     39.1 mpg

60 mph     32.8 mpg

70 mph     27.7 mpg

80 mph     25.2 mpg

90 mph     20.5 mpg

My hours of driving proved that the front seats give high-speed comfort with fine support during rapid cornering. There is ample fore and aft adjustment for drivers of any length, and the backrests can be adjusted and locked in any position from vertical to fully reclining.

At the back, passengers sit in two well-formed individual seats, again designed for elegant and luxurious fast touring, and there is room for a third person there when the centre armrest is folded up.

The dashboard is in African walnut grain, and the instruments are grouped in a neat rectangular panel, easy to read through the dished two-spoke steering wheel. Switches are to hand in a row on the dashboard rail, recognisable by symbol, shape and movement. Parcels go on an accessible shelf and the heating system is simple to work and highly efficient.

Remote control

I particularly liked the large fresh-air vents set into the rail in front of the driver and passenger with an adjustable flap to direct any amount of cooll air to any level.

Then I tried the getaway times:

0 to 30 mph     4.6 sec.

0 to 40 mph     7.1 sec.

0 to 50 mph   10.1 sec

0 to 60 mph   13.9 sec.

0 to 70 mph   19.3 sec.

0 to 80 mph   26.9 sec.

These remarkable times were made possible by the quick response of a simple robust 5-crankshaft engine that is 100lb. lighter than previous 2-litre Rover engines.

The gear change is by a short remote-control lever operating a sweet four-speed, all-synchromesh gearbox.

Braking is well taken care of, with power-assisted Dunlop discs front and back, the rear ones being mounted inboard. Only the slightest touch is needed on the brake pedal.

At one point I had a load to carry and this fitted cosily in a 16 1/4 cubic foot boot. The spare wheel is fitted vertically on the left-hand side but it can also be stowed flat on the floor, or, for those who want more room in the boot, it can be mounted on the outside of the boot lid as an optional extra.


Rovers are making a spirited bid to capture the interest of the younger senior executive type with their own model. He is likely to have housing and young family responsibilities, they said, and although he would like a car which is something out of the ordinary in quality, performance and refinement, he canīt pay too much for it.

The Rover 2000 comes in as answer, and my, how reasonably priced it is at Ģ1.046 plus Ģ218 purchase tax, a total of Ģ1.264. This price comes between the Rover 95 saloon (Ģ1236) and the 110 saloon (Ģ1381), both of which are being continued along with the 3-litre saloon and coupé models.

Roverīs investment of Ģ10.500.000 on the Rover 2000 project, including a new factory at Solihull, for the specific production of one model, is far-sighted, and will hit the jackpot. The new car is up to the minute in design, fast, zestful, and still with the Rover tradition of quality first.