The Rover 2000
FOR old-times’ sake it’s nice to have a Rover 2000 on the market again. When BL announced six-cylinder versions of the SDI 31/2-thre vee-eight model it seas with fuel economy primarily in mind, but it was amusing that Rover tradition was being revived, because this make had a long record of using different engines in almost identical bodyshells. Of the two ingenious six-cylinder power units available in the Spencer King-designed Rovers, the 2300 was for maximum petrol economy in this large, wellappointed saloon, with the 2600 offering better performance. Now we have the four-cylinder o.h.c. model, again with the same body, offering such good passenger and luggage space, and a high degree of luxury, the latest improvements (which we have described in connection with the latest light-alloy we-eight 3.5-litre cars) adding much to this aspect of the specification.
The “little” power unit, which is the BL 0-series unit, may be old-fashioned bail was very impressed with the performance provided, having expected a rather pathetically sluggish car. In fact, I cover. over 1,400 miles within the first week of driving the test-car and found that, providing the pleasant BL five-speed gearbox was used sensibly, the speed and acceleration was quite reasonable, although the engine becomes quite noisy as you thus row the car along. The gear changes go through easily, except that a strong spring has to be overcome before the stubby lever is moved into the dog-leg gate to obtain fifth speed, so a firm movement is required, otherwise the gears do not always engage. Reverse gear goes in quite easily, the lever having to be dog-legged to the opposite side of the gate. ‘1’s get effective acceleration or to maintain speed up gradients this rugged gearbox has naturally to be used rather feeds. This is no hardship, apart from the noise increase over the reasonably hushed cruising speed. If one is in less of a hurry the four-cylinder 1,994 c.c. 100 b.h.p. power unit is notably flyable, allowing fifth speed to be used for long periods, with benefit to the fuel economy. It has twin SD carburetters and a 9.0 to 1 compression ratio, and runs at 3,000 r.p.m. teen indicated 70 m.p.h. I confess to being a Rover enthusiast but I had
not expected to enjoy this £7,450 2-litre as much as I genuinely did. For many motorists it will be regarded as entirely adequate, making the “big” Rover something of a luxury. After 1,690 miles in it, including driving up to Cadwell Park and back to Wales, a journey on which it averaged an easy and very comfortable 47.4 m.p.h. in holiday traffic, at 26.8 m.p.g., I have a high regard for this economical method of enjoying the many merits of the SD Rovers. In fact, fuel consumption varied from 28.2 m.p.g. to 29.7 m.p.g. An additional bonus is that the 141/2-gallon tank is retained so that it is quite usual to cover not far short of 350 miles without refuelling, although the warning light that augments the slightly erratic fuel gauge (but what an improvement on the hopeless one in my former Rover 35007 begins to make its presence known with some 31/2 gallons still in the big tank. Against this, the engine used oil at the rate of approx. 750 miles per pint, although the warning light never came on and pressure remained at 50 lb./sq.
There is no need to say more, because these Rovers are well known and have recently been much improved, including getting the much-needed rear wiper wash and the stylish new instrument panel, except to remark that as the 2-litre has 175(11R)14 tyres on steel not alloy) wheels, instead of the bigger ones on the multi-cylinder model, the wheel-arch gaps look a bit odd when the 2-litre is lightly laden. In extremes, the engine can be taken to between 5,500 and 6,000 r.p.m., and performance in the order of to 60 m.p.h. in 12.4 seconds, with a top speed of 102 m.p.h., is acceptable most of the time. ‘The suspension seemed harder than that on the big Vanden Plan Rover, indeed, the rear springing is averse to riding the worst undulations, but as compensation, the Rover 2000 is quite decently “chuckable”, as my old 3500 was, for a car of this size. A little rainwater entered the boot, there is flick-action but not intermittent wiping of the windscreen, and very faint gear whine in the lower ratios and on the overrun. To conclude, I had not a trace of anxiety in the mileage stated, enjoyed this four-cylinder Rover much more than
I had anticipated, and rate it as a very useful addition to this excellent range of upper-class BL cars. — W.B.