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Classic Rover for sale - Rover cars for sale
GB, 1904 to date
(1) The Rover Co Ltd, Coventry, Warwickshire; Birmingham, 1904 – 1945
(2) The Rover Co Ltd, Solihull, Warwickshire, 1945 to dateThe famous cycle firm Rover (which built J.K. Starley’s electric car in 1888) was offering tricars of conventional design in 1903, progressing from machines with cycle-type frames and belt drive to water-cooled and wheel-steered twins at £85 in 1905. The Rover car firm’s first production 4-wheeler was an interesting 8hp ‘single’ Rover car, the work of E.W. Lewis, which appeared in 1904. This Rover car had a tubular backbone frame, column change, a camshaft brake, and wire-and-bobbin steering, soon replaced by rack-and-pinion type. A smaller and less powerful 6hp Rover car followed at £105; one of the 8hp Rover cars was used by Dr. Jefferson in 1906 to drive from London to Constantinople. The first 4-cylinder Rover car was a 16/20hp with shaft drive and 3.1-litre engine, followed by a small monobloc 10/12 Rover car. IN 1907 the shield-shaped radiator was introduced on Rover cars, vestiges of which survived until 1949. Courtis won that year’s TT on a 20hp Rover car of conventional design which was listed at a modest £400. The 8hp Rover car had acquired right-hand change by 1908, though the camshaft brake persisted, while in addition to the singles and the 20hp Rover car there were conventional L-head models of 1.6- and 2.5-litres in 1909. Rover cars own detachable wheels were optional in 1910, and in 1911 the 15hp 4-cylinder Rover car went over to pressure lubrication. Knight sleeve-valve engines were adopted, on an alternative version of the 8hp (this Rover car cost £30 more than its poppet-valve counterpart), and on a new vertical-twin 1.9-litre 12hp. 1912 was the last year of the singles and twins Rover cars, a new era arriving with the Clegg-designed 2.3-litre 4-cylinder monobloc 12hp Rover car at £350. This Rover car had worm-drive, inlet ports cast in the head, a water-jacketed carburetor, and electric lighting, and was the only Rover car model offered by 1914. It survived in the Rover car range until 1924, being known latterly as the Rover Fourteen. Later Rover cars had their headlamps attached to the radiator shell. Rover car company built 12/16hp Sunbeams to War Department account between 1914 and 1918, but reverted to the small economy class in 1920 with a near-cyclecar, the Rover Eight, powered by a 1-litre (later enlarged to 1.130cc) flat-twin air-cooled sv unit, and retaining the 12hp Rover cars worm final drive. This Rover car was made under licence in Germany by Peter and Moritz. Some 17.000 Rover cars were sold up to 1925, prices dropping steadily from £300 to £160. Electric starters were not optional on Rover cars until 1923, and were never standardized. The successor Rover car was an ohv water-cooled in-line four, the 9/20, which Rover car cost £215, acquired front-wheel brakes in 1926, and was available with a detachable hartop coupé body in 1927, after which it gave way to a 1.2-litre Rover Ten, also with worm drive. 1929 Rover Tens had chromium plating, and sunshine roofs were available on closed models. A big 3½-litre six Rover car of 1924 did not go into production, but from 1925 to 1928 the Rover car company made some advanced 4-cylinder ohc Rover cars with 2.1- and 2.5-litre engines with hemispherical combustion chambers. Though the smaller 14/45 Rover car won the RAC’s Dewar Trophy for 50 consecutive ascents of Bwichy-Groes these wer expensive machines to make, and Rover cars breakthrough into bigger class came with a straightforward 2-litre ohv bevel-drive six which Rover car sold well at £410, and was developed into the stylish if not very practical Rover Light Six of 1930, noted for its raked screen and close-fitting cycle-type mudguards. This Rover car was the model which beat the ‘Blue Train’ in a race across France. The Rover car gave 70mph for £325. At the other end of the scale the same engine was made to propel a limousine Rover car on a 10ft 10in wheelbase. V-radiators, lowered frames, and conventionally-mounted headlamps distinghuished the 1931 Rover cars, which ranged from the worm-driven Rover Ten at only £189 for a saloon up to the 2.6-litre, 60bhp Meteor 20 Rover car with prices from £398. This last Rover car was evolved into a pleasant 90mph sports model which Rover car won its class in the 1933 RAC Rally. 1932 saw the addition of a small six, the 1.4-litre Rover Pilot at £225, and an abortive experiment, the unconventional rear-engined 2-cylinder air-cooled Rover Scarab light car with all-round independent suspension, this Rover car intended to sell for £89. Though a cheap wormdriven Rover Ten was still listed in 1933, this was the year Rover cars adopted the free wheel, and turned to making Rover cars still in the medium-price class, but of generally superior quality – a position in the market Rover cars have held till the present day. 1934 Rover cars had 4-speed gearboxes, ohv engines, and spiral bevel final drive. The Rover car range consisted of a new 1.4-litre Rover Ten at £238, a 4-cylinder Rover 12 at £268, a 1.6-litre 6-cylinder Rover 14 derived from the earlier Pilot at £288, and a 16hp Rover Meteor saloon at £438, as well as 3-carburettor sporting sixes with 14 and 20hp engines. After a brief venture of Rover cars with hydraulic brakes, Rover cars reverted to mechanical actuation on all their Rover cars in 1936. Extensive restyling took place for 1937 on all Rover car models save the Ten, which Rover car was brought into line two seasons later. Big Rover cars were still offered: there was a 2.1-litre 16hp Rover car and a new 2½-litre Rover Speed 20 – and automatic chassis lubrication. The 1937 style used on Rover cars lasted until the 1949 season. Changes included synchromesh in 1939, the replacement of wire wheels on Rover cars by disc types in 1940, a rationalization of the Rover car range after World War 2, and a switch to ioe engines in 1948, when only a 1.6-litre 4-cylinder 60bhp and a 2.1-litre 6-cylinder 75hp Rover car were offered, both with independently-sprung front wheels. Also new for Rover cars in 1948 was the 4x4 Land-Rover cross-country vehicle, initially using the 60hp engine; this Rover car has been progressively developed in 1950, but it was completely restyled, with slab-sided full-width bodywork, integral headlamps, steering-column change, and hydro-mechanical brakes, amended to full hydraulic two years later. The free-wheel of the Rover car was retained and the price was £1.106: this shape had a long production life which did not end till 1964. The range was widened once more in 1954 with a 2-litre four and a 2.6-litre 6-cylinder 90bhp version Rover car. Meanwhile the Rover car company’s wartime work on gas turbines had led to the world’s first successful turbocar which appeared in 1950, using a 75 chassis and rearmounted 200bhp engine. The Rover car recorded 151,965mph over the flying kilometer in 1952, and was followed by further experimental cars of which the first designed as an entity was the T3, a 110bhp 4-wheel-drive Rover car coupé with fiberglass bodywork which was shown at Earls Court in 1956. Development of the 1950 P4 Rover car theme continued, with the introduction of overdrive (and the abandonment of the free-wheel) on the Rover 90 in 1956, and the adoption of vacuum servo brakes. There was a 105bhp version of the Rover 90, the Rover 105S, in 1957, and also an alternative model with Rover cars own 2-speed automatic transmission, dropped in favour of the Borg-Warner system after two seasons. Integral construction was introduced on the new 3-litre Rover car of 1959; this was a big Rover car with a 10ft 10½in wheelbase, and the option of overdrive or automatic, but retaining the overhead inlet valves of the smaller models. The price of this Rover car was £1.764. The 4-cylinder 60hp Rover car was dropped after 1962. From late 1959 all Rover cars had front disc brakes, and power-assisted steering appeared on the 3-litre in 1961. In 1962 a new and more practical Rover turbocar appeared, the 140bhp T4 saloon with front-wheel drive and disc brakes on all 4 wheels: this Rover car did not go into production, though its structure served as a prototype for the advanced Rover 2000 of 1964, which first supplemented and then supplanted the last 2.6-litre developments of the old P4 Rover car, withdrawn at the end of that year. The Rover 2000’s 4-cylinder ohc engine developed 90bhp, all four forward gears were synchronized, a De Dion rear axle was used, an all 4 wheels of the Rover car had servo-assisted disc brakes. Like the 3-litre this Rover car had unitary construction, with detachable body panels, and its 100mph performance helped the Rover car to do well in rallies, with works support which had been initiated in the days of the 3-litre. The Rover-Leyland merger of 1966 brought the last of the major British independents under the control of the ‘big battalions’, but Rover car design was unaffected, and during the year there were two new versions of the Rover 2000, one with automatic, and the other Rover car, the TC with a 114bhp twin-carburettor engine. Engines provided the main news of 1967: the old ioe 2.6-litre six was adapted for use in the Landrover, and the Rover car company acquired a licence to build the discarded 3½-litre light-alloy ohv Buick V8, which powered a new edition of the 3-litre. This 3.5 was available only on Rover cars with automatic transmission, but on 160mph maximum speed was up to 108mph. A year later the V8 was wedded to the Rover 2000 structure to make the Three Thousand Five Rover car, a 114mph saloon, though this Rover car was not available with a manual gearbox until 1972. The 8-cylinder Rover-Buick engine was to have further applications, among them Morgan’s Plus-8, an experimental mid-engined Alvis coupé, and the GKN-Lotus 47, a Europa derivative. In 135bhp form the unit also powered the Range Rover announced in June 1970 as a more luxurious station wagon development of the Landrover. This Rover car used rigid axles and coils all round. Other features were an all-synchromesh gearbox, permanently engaged 4-wheel drive, and all-disc brakes. Top speed was over 95mph. Range Rovers were used for a successful British Army expedition across the Darien gap in Central America in 1972. The Rover 2000, Three Thousand Five, 3.5-litre, Landrover comprised Rover’s 1972 – 1973 offerings.
Source: Georgano, encyclopedia of motorcar; MCS
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