1968 - 1988 British Leyland
After the launch of the Landrover from 1948 which ensured mobility all over the world in several variants, there was now enough place for a luxury 4 wheel off road vehicle the Range Rover. Equipped with the meanwhile legendary V8 3,5 litre engine, from the P6, the Range Rover started a successful “career” which lasted until today (Evoke), despite of all what meanwhile happened to the British Motor industry.
Rover, after much turbulence meanwhile part of the BLMC empire, had to cancel finished projects like the P8 or P10. Both development departments from Rover and Triumph were united to the RT1 (Rover Triumph 1), renamed later to SD 1(Special Division1)
The SD1 was a hybrid between Rover and Triumph parts, and up to the last minute it was not clear if the SD1 would carry a Triumph or Rover badge, at last Rover won. The straight six engines were new developments from Triumph, replacing the “ancient ‘50ties” 2000/2500 construction and now finding place in the Rover 2300 and 2600, peaking in the 3500 V8 from Rover. The 5 speed gearbox was also a Triumph construction, which had been used already in the last of the Triumph Sports cars, the TR7 and TR8 and also in some Jaguars of the XJ series. But because the BL company had to save money, the engineers had to go a step backward, which meant not to overtake the famous but costly undercarriage from it’s predecessor the P6, but use a simple but cheap McPherson/live axle combination, which was quite common those days.
The introduction to the market occurred autumn 1976, one year later the SD1 became “Car of the Year 1977”, as the second Rover after the Rover 2000.
“Bad tongues” said that the elegant, 5 door hatchback had been shamelessly copied from the Citroen CX, Lancia Gamma or Ferrari Daytona, nothing is true, but the Lancia and Citroen had originally been developed at the same time, whereas the Rover began already 1971. But all had been influenced by Design studies of the Austin 1800 by Pininfarina. All in all David Bache had made an almost perfect design solution.
The SD1 was available as a 2000 4cyl , 2300_2600 6 cyl and as a 3500 V8 cylinder, in luxury version was called Vanden Plas and in it’s strongest version as The Vitesse. The Diesel version from VM Engineering was never sold in Austria.
Massive Quality problems with the paint, finish and durability of the 2300 and 2600 engines, led to a not even helpful “Friday Child” image, a car bolted together by workers who were just only yearning for the coming weekend.
With Introduction of the all new Honda-Rover models from 200-800, the production o f the last “genuine” Rover cars ended in June 1986.
That is where the “historic” part of the Rover history ends, it is rich with desirable Oldtimers. For interested people here is a link to the production figures, construction time, model overview, a.s.o.
Herewith ends the historic part of the history of Rover, which is rich with adorable cars. For all enthusiasts follow the link to Modell Overview with production figures, production times and much more.