The Rover owners says

"I will never drive anything else but a Rover", replies a Vancouver industrial arts instructor.

"Best cars I ever owned. Built like a Rolls Royce", says a Wisconsin truck driver.

"This car commands my respect because of its engineering merit. I would buy another – at $4.000 itīs a steal!" states a Canadian electronics engineer/marketing manager.

"A great car", answers a Bronx computer programmer-analyst.

The four quotes above are representative of the enthusiasm and pride felt by Rover owners responding to the owner survey. None of the other makes and models of automobiles can boast of such a devoted group of owners. They, the people who pay for the automobile and drive it daily, substantiate the results of our unbiased and exhausting road tests of the Rover – it is a great car.

But the Rover owners can speak for themselves. Almost to the last man they listed safety, comfort, handling and roadability as the primary reasons for purchasing the Rover. A USAF instrument technician stated the Rover gives him "peace of mind", while a New Jersey steamship company executive finds the Rover "very secure and comfortable". He echoes many of the replies which point out superb road handling and maneuverability, "it goes where I point the wheels", says a 55-year old electronics engineer of the Rover.

One computer prgrammer / analyst, who considered a Sunbeam Tiger and Corvette before trading his MGB in for a 2000 TC, notes "superb brakes and excellent handling (very forgiving)" as his most liked features. He lists "safe design and construction with a fresh engineering approach" as his reasons for purchasing the Rover. Then he adds: "Switching from a MGB I expected to sacrifice some agility and enjoyment in driving for the additional safety, comfort and space, but I find I have all the fun of the sports car (except for top-down driving) plus better cornering, acceleration and braking."

Having covered 31.000 miles in 11 months, he goes on to praise the 2000 TC as a car which "gives the most enjoyment driving on a twisting mountain road, as it always feels in complete control under any driving condition. Itīs the kind of car you drive in the rain, sharing a narrow two-lane road with trucks, without tensing up. The combination of excellent brakes and handling, radial tire stability, comfortable seating and suspension, and good ventilation make it possible to put in an 8-hour day driving at high average speed (without bending the limit much) and still arrive feeling rested and relaxed."

He concludes, simply: "A great car."

Another converted sports car driver who is a graduate student in microbiology looked at a BMW 1800 TI and two Alfa Romeo models and then bought a 2000 TC because he feels "it is the best combination of comfort, handling, stopping, economy and safety."

Safety is perhaps the leading reason given for their purchase by many current Rover owners. One, who experienced the unfortunate act of totally demolishing his 2000 TC, writes: "This controlled crumpling stuff is for the birds, or so my insurance company said, when they gave me a check for $3.450." He walked away from the accident. Apparently insurance companies donīt like that very much, but Rover owners are obviously pleased with the sensible safety engineering of their car. A young physicist from California even reports heīs "continually asked about the Rover by strangers interested in safety, comfort and roadability."

A sizeable percentage of respiondents cite ROAD TESTīs comprehensive report as being the impetus to investigate the Rover as a possible purchase. Describing the R/T review with various adjectives ("glowing", "rave report", "frank"), they further add that they were able to make the same judgment after comparing the Rover with other makes. One owner says: "After checking other cars, nothing else would do except the Rover." Another points out: "The car is honestly built and honestly advertised", something which some other manufacturers apparently donīt feel is important.

Other owners report past experiences with Rover products as being the first reason for them considering the car as their personal transportation. An electronic engineer reports: "Three years using a Land Rover in Iran gave the impression of terrific quality and reliability." He now owns a ī65 Rover 2000 and plans the purchase of a 2000 TC as his next car.

A pilot for the Royal Canadian Air Force was sufficiently impressed with the Rover 75 he used to owe that he is now driver of a 2000 TC. When the time comes for another car he plans the purchase of a third Rover.

This form of loyalty to a marque is common to Rover owners responding in the survey. Nearly half have experiences with previous Rovers and, surprisingly, many of the reports are concerned with older models. One such is from the aforementioned Industrial Arts Instructor who drives a ī59 Rover 105 S "because the car suits my needs". His personal story reflects the type of pride found with satisfied Rover owners. "I bought the car from its second owner and had it completely rebuilt because of its mileage (80.000 miles). The cost for this was less than for a domestic car. Iīve had a Ford, Chevy and Stude before but constant body changes and only minor mechanical improvements made me sick. Now I have a car Iīll drive for the next five years. Then Iīll buy a new Rover 2000."

A traffic engineer from Utah reports his 1960 Rover 3-liter is one of only four in the state and, as a result, he finds obtaining parts a problem because they must be shipped from California. But he says: "The Rover is a high quality car, comfortable and fun to drive. It took me three years to find a used one. Itīs the best car I ever owned."

A California newspaper reporter with a ī67 2000 Automatic succinctly states his answer to survey question #22. Probable choice next time. "Next time, I hope will be a long time from now, but I do not think we could ever be happy with a different car."

Manufacturing integrity plays an important role in Rover owner happiness. A non-com in the U.S. Army puts it thus: "Why am I a Rover convert? My experience started in 1960 with my venerable ī51 model 75. It was hardly a spectacular car, but it showed the qualities which make for convinced owners. Quality design and construction clearly pointed out the attitude of the makers. Contact with Rover in the U.S. supported this feeling."

"My 2000 shows that, in addition to integrity, the Rover people have the ability to design and produce according to their own good sense, not copy everything else with complete slavery to cost-efficiency planning."

The serviceman continues: "Everytime I drive the car, I am reminded that I have not been short-changed by sloppy workmanship or shortcuts in design. I call that satisfaction."

But, as with every car in the survey, not all owners have experienced trouble-free operation or find the Rover completely without fault. Perhaps one of the most frequent complaints is of the nit-picking school but, nonetheless, important to the drivers and sale driving, the outside left side mirror. It appears that Rover had not placed it where it does the most good. Several respondents moved the mirror further to the rear on the door. Others complain that it is useless when it is raining as the windshield wipers do not paint the lower left hand corner of the driverīs side where, from the driverīs point of vision, the mirror is located. One driver asked why ROAD TEST hadnīt discovered this in our test. Simple: It seldom rains in California. Nevertheless, this appears to be a frequent complaint.

A few others are disappointed with the rear view mirror, pointing out that it is small or canīt be adjusted when a heavy load is aboard.

A handful of Canadians complained about resonators and mufflers quickly rusting out during snow seasons, but we think the amount of salt used on the roads up there during the snow season is contributory. All cars have the same problem in these areas and thereīs not much to be done about it.

No complaints about the disc brakes according to surveys answers other than the usual squeal associated with this type of device. Many Rover 2000 owners wish they had more engine power, but none of the 2000 TC drivers express this view. They obviously are satisfied with the additional boost in performance afforded with the TC option.

Some answers indicate there have been major problems with the 2000 transmission. However, all owners indicate these were fully taken care of (up to and including complete replacement) by the Rover warranty. One owners reports that his transmission gave him minor trouble during the period of warranty but, after the warranty had expired, it became very serious. The Rover dealer in his area completely replaced the unit at no expense after the warranty had lapsed.

In line with the transmission troubles, there are minor reports indicating personal dislikes with the manual clutch, but they are relatively minor, i.e. pedal pressure high etc.

A few owners would like more rear leg room, and one driver reveals that the front seat backs have been torn by rear seat passengers getting in and out.

Several claim discomfort with the hanging accelerator pedal and would much prefer less spring tension or, better yet, "an organ pedal" of larger size.

About one-third voice some form of dislike for the speedometer, either not working or beeing too noisy. This, of course, is one of the "bought-out" components on the Rover and this particular type of problem is not uncommon with cars of English manufacture. The source of the trouble is with the instrument manufacturer and it is there that it will be solved.

The steering wheel is plastic (to bend in event of accident rather than splitter) but some owners in the colder climates find that it tends to become brittle and crack when the thermometer drops to Zero. As one disgrantled driver put it: "This shouldnīt happen on a $4.000 car."

Yet the praises for the Rover far outweigh the problems. There are no major difficulties reported. There is, however, somewhat of a problem with dealers in the less populated areas. Sales volume and dealer organization is still rather limited in the United States and Canada. Because of this, many foreign car dealers handling other makes and models are serving as Rover agencies. And, as with many domestic and foreign car agencies, there are good ones and bad ones. These are quickly weeded out by just about every imported automobile manufacturer. So, many owners in the less populated areas are left with the closest dealer being 60 or 70 miles away. To combat this, many mechanically oriented owners are doing their own work. Some of them donīt mind it at all, but others find it a bit of a problem as they feel competent for minor tune-up wrench tweaking, but little more. It is hoped Rover will make more vigorous efforts in this direction.

Apparently Rover owners consider maintenance problems as just part of owning a prestige automobile. None of the people reporting their problems have reached the point where they are so dissatisfied with the machine to never purchase another (as is the case with many of the other cars in our survey).

Precisely the opposite is true. The Rover, above all others, scores the highest percentage for repeat buyers. Many owners are already on their second Rover, but those who arenīt report they will buy another when the time comes. Of all the Rover owners responding, 87,6 % will buy another! This, in itself, tells much about the ownerīs acceptance of this automobile. Far down the scale in second place is Corvette with 65 % of the owners reporting that they will buy another. No other imported sedan or compact can come close to meeting the Roverīs level of acceptability. It is in the best interests of the automotive art that they try. Taking a leaf from Roverīs book might be a decent starting point.

ROAD TEST / USA June 1968