Rover 2000 TC

The Rover 2000 TC wears its advanced engineering under one of the prettier sheetmetal skins of our time. In fact, not all of it is sheet steel, parts such as the hood and deck lid are fabricated from aluminium.

As you settle behind the big, 2-spoke wheel (simulated racing on the TC), Rover´s current emphasis on safety becomes apparent. The standard harnesses for driver and passenger are impossible to ignore, as they flop around like scarecrows if not worn. Cavernous, padded “glove” boxes slant down in front of passenger and driver, leaving the latter just barely enough room to get his feet up on the pedals. Their primary function is not so much space for storage, as it is to cushion the so-called second collision.

Like current Mercedes models, the front and rear quarters of the car are designed to accordion upon impact. This may be potentially expensive, but at least the chances are much better that you will be around to pay the bill. The rest of the body is unstressed metal surrounding a rigid skeleton. The only safety-slanted item that is questionable is a big windshield sticker which blares the fact that Rover has been “commended by PARENTS´ magazine”. This is all very fine, but the sticker obscures one´s vision.

Instrumentation is unusually complete. Though not exclusive to Rover, we particularly liked the inclusion of a parking-brake warning light that also warns of low hydraulic-fluid level. Exclusive, as far as we know, is another light that reminds you of forgetting to push in the choke. The first inch or so of choke-knob movement, incidentally, merely acts as a hapid throttle, facilitating starts when the engine is lukewarm.

Except perhaps for Rambler´s “Weather Eye”, we have yet to encounter a more efficient combined ventilating-heating system. Although the ventilating phase can´t control the temperature of the outside air, you sure get a blast of it when the spouts are wide open. You can even force-feed it with a fan. The heating phase seems like it would be capable of warming a 3-bedroom ranch home, and it still has enough left for defrosting, the flow for which unde normal conditions is borrowed from the mainstream.

Of all the controls, our only complaint involve the throttle. It is a pedal of the same size and height as the adjacent brake and clutch. While the heel-and-toe school of drivers like this, positive motion in an emergency for the average driver when moving the right foot from the accelerator to the brake takes some practice. Also the high position of the accelerator is tiring on long drives because the Rover scoots along at speed limit with very little throttle opening.

The “TC” stands for twin SU carburetors mounted on their sides. These, plus a 10-to-1 compression ratio, provide the difference that enables this gutsy, nicely finished 4 to propel the TC from 0 to 60 mph in 13.2 seconds, a figure nearly 2 seconds under that obtained with the single-carburetor model. Fuel consumption during 940 miles of driving averaged 25.5 mpg, a rather remarkable figure considering that the bulk of this mileage was accumulated in normal commuting service.

Braking from the four discs is excellent, once you get your foot placed foursquare on the pedal. The ease of steering defies description. We even doublechecked under the hood to see if a power unit wasn´t hiding somewhere. There are 3 ¾ turns lock-to-lock and they come easy with the big wheel, even when parking. Rover describes the unit as “adamant hour-glass worm and roller followers”, which leaves us as bemused as we were before we wrote this sentence. It may be “adamant” in construction, but it certainly isn´t while cornering.

The ride is distinctly soft but well controlled, and it stems from a suspension unlike that found on any other car. Shock from the front wheels travels up through a succession of arms to coils, horizotelly mounted at the rear of the fender wells. At the rear there are two coil springs in the normal position but it´s a variable track layout with a de Dion tube to keep the wheels parallel to each other. We were not able to bottom the car, and though softly sprung, it cornered well.

The interior is well finished in genuine leather and the trunk is commodious. It can be made even more so by an ingenious provision for temporarily moving the spare from its conventional location up to an optional mounting bracket on top of the deck lid, a la Continental.

A relatively modest $4198, including excise tax – which was the tag on our well equipped test car – buys a lot of intriguing automobile (price included two headrests, $36 each; harness set, front only, $26; tinted glass all around, $49). Other available options include Mag Star wheels ($125) and an AM/FM radio ($110 plus installation).

The Rover 2000 TC proves that the French no longer have a corner on imaginative auto engineering. It will top 100 mph with ease, it accelerates briskly and will carry four adults in clubhouse luxury. In fact, everything is impressive about the Rover but its size.

MOTOR TREND / USA August 1966