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Rover History


Starley and Sutton were bicycle builders. The `Rover' name originated with the Rover safety cycle so called because it was safe compared to the penny-farthings of the day. Starley and Sutton, and others were experimenting with safety cycles in the 1880's but the Rover of 1884 caught on and formed the basis of the car manufacturer to be.


1904 Rover 8hp (left)


1933 Rover 10 is an excellent example of restoration.

1948: After WWII Rover saw a market for a light Jeep-style of four wheel drive. Building prototypes on Jeep chassis, they eventually came up with the alloy-bodied Land-Rover released in 1948, the rest as they say is history.
- 4wd.sofcom.com/4WD.html


1952 Rover 75 conjures up images of respectable professionals - doctors, vets, the James Herriot novels.


1962 Rover 100.

1963: A Rover - BRM gas-turbine car competed in the Le Mans 24-hour race, averaging 107.8mph. It competed again in 1965.


1969 P5B has the 3.5 litre V8 shoe horned into a classic Rover body shape but given a lower, rakish roof line.


Left: A Rover 2000, this one a `TC' or twin carb'.


1975 Rover 3500 - the engine bay is well filled with the versatile and long lived 3.5 litre V8; the "chin" for the radiator gives it away.


1986 Rover SD1 came with the 3.5 litre V8 (here) or 2.6 and 2.2 (?) litre engines in the UK and was the last real big Rover. It is baffling that a station wagon was never put into production (there were a few conversions). The Vitesse with worked V8s achieved some racing success.

1988: British Aerospace bought Rover Group.

1994: BMW bought Rover Group.

2000 March: End of an era? BMW plan break up Rover, keeping the new Mini, stopping saloon car production, and selling what's left to an investment company, `Alchemy', who will make cars under the MG name.
Ford buy Land Rover.
April 28th: FT dot com reports that Alchemy has dropped out leaving just the `Phoenix' bid for Rover cars, led by an ex-Rover executive, John Towers.
May: Phoenix is firming as the buyer, but the next question is "then what?" Rover will be a small company in a world of merged giants.

-- © L. Allison   4/2000

Go to the Rover pages

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