So sad that Rover has come to the end of the line. However successful the proposed Alchemy MG is or isn’t, one has to mourn for a once-British make which was associated with some good cars. As this is a sporting magazine we need only recall some of the more competitive ones.
Well, Rover raced in the TT, winning in 1908. At Brooldands the single-seater Rover ‘Odin’ netted a goodly quantity of second places, to justify Peter Poppe’s 14/45 with its ingenious horizontal pushrods, its best lap speed 98.62mph. Before that the Rover 8 was one of the more popular little cars before the Austin 7 killed it off. What of the various Speed Model Rovers? They were driven at Brooklands by Sydney G Cummings, J K Munday and Major ATG Gardner, the MG exponent, whose 1931 Speed Model did a lap at 86mph fully-equipped, 93mph stripped, and managed 82 miles in an hour in an MCC High Speed Trial. The open Speed Meteor cost £500.
There were the Speed 14, 16 and 20, Rover PR man Dudley Noble’s feat of beating the Blue Train, and Rover’s pioneering, at Le Mans, with the gas-turbine car. Then there was the highly promising mid-engined V8 sports Rover coupe which Lord Stokes killed off. I liked the P4 and ‘Great Aunt’ 3-litre and the Rover 2000 TC and V8 3.5-litre Rovers I used for MOTOR SPORT duties: dare I say I also liked the two BMWs which followed?
Good cars, mostly, those Rovers. Now the name has gone, like many other good things in the last decade…
What will happen to the thousands of unused and apparently unwanted Rovers lying outside the Longbridge plant? Perhaps some auction firm will take bids for them?