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Selective BL marque revival - your ideas?

I'll start off by suggesting a Rover RWD exec saloon/estate based on the Jaguar XF's Ford DEW98 platform (after all, Rover is now owned by Tata), or using a new aluminium thingummy (ideally an Audi-style spaceframe - much like the incomparable P6) perhaps with some new engines, but definitely with a more blockish styling direction (edgy, stylish - either a reinterpretation of the P6 or a better, less gangsta approach to the Chrysler 300C). The Range Rover 3.6L twin-turbo diesel V8 would be wonderful... the new Jag 5.0L V8, likewise, but please, not a V6 (even though GM had great success with V6s derived from the old Buick-Rover V8). Jag needs to go back to I6s and let Rover at 'em (BMW makes some wonderful straight sixes, so why nobody else?). Also, I think we need some new, smaller V8s - a 3.2L (like the X308-series Jag XJ had) would be nice.

Whatever happens, Rover must not fall back into the trap of front wheel drive or supermini/C-sector hatchbacks. Use the Austin name for that - could we even have a new Austin Maxi to take on the Zafira, but maybe even with RWD?.

Triumph? Could we reuse the Toledo name, or is that well and truly nicked now? Thank you Seat... Bring back the Dolomite, fully redesigned for C21, with some corking free-revving I4s and I6s and other bodystyles (estate, coupé, cabriolet), and a new name. Not keen on another 2000-family saloon, given how poor the original was (and it looked awful beside a Rover P6). And, of course, a new Stag - 6 or 8-cylinder power, a 4-seat+boot GT, with a fixed-head GT version. Some other small sports cars would be good, too - a new Spitfire to take on the MX-5, a TR4 to rival the BMW Z4. Clearly, no separate chassis construction would be used this time round!

Riley? Erm... build BMW 1- and 3-series rivals? A bit more space than in the 1, though. Nice RWD handling that needn't cost too much. Same engines as 'Dolomite'.

You'll have noticed the absence of MG, Wolseley and Morris - I believe that Wolseley is too old-fashioned-sounding a name, Morris too sullied by the Marina/Ital, and all three are now firmly, inextricably, under Chinese control. Alvis, also, because I simply can't make my mind up over anything to do with it. Your suggestions, please.

Comments

Bagpuss    on 28 June 2009

Think you'll find the MG Rover Group belongs to the Nanjing Automobile Corporation. Tata owns Land Rover.

Rover P6B    on 28 June 2009

Tata owns the Rover name - MG Rover leased the rights to the name from BMW, but BMW never let it go until everything went tits-up at Longbridge, when they sold it to Ford (having already sold them Land Rover). Then, last year, Ratan Tata comes to Ford, says "I'll have them (JLR) and I want the Rover name too", so Ford agreed and let him have it - not long ago, I had a very prompt reply in excellent English from a Tata representative in India to my enquiry as to Tata's intentions regarding the Rover brand and he said that, basically, with JLR currently still on the brink, and the worldwide economy likewise, that a Rover relaunch wouldn't happen within the next few years, but that it could be a possibility. So, here's hoping for at least a rebodied XF wearing the Viking Longship - this would still be the best Rover since the P6 stopped production in 1976.

ifithelps    on 28 June 2009

...this would still be the best Rover since the P6 stopped production in 1976...

You've forgotten the City Rover. :)

Rover P6B    on 28 June 2009

Yeahah... the best Austin ever made since the Metro, more like. And I know, it narks me off that the car which ruined Rover was made by the company that could well have saved Rover.

Now, here's a revolutionary idea. Bring back the Maestro and the Montego (obv. 100% redesigned, new engines, etc) and good old Blighty will be beating off angry Germans and Frenchies with big sticks. And we won't have any more ******* Mondeos on our roads. In exactly the same way that the original Montego saw to it that there were precisely no Sierras on the roads whatsoever. Yeah. Erm... has something gone wrong in my planning?

Oh, and here's a thought. Buy up TVR. Build brutally insane supercar with big V8. Slap on a Longship and give the Aunty Rover brigade heart attacks all round. It's what David Bache was doing with P6BS/Leyland GE 8...

Avant    on 28 June 2009

I'd love to see the Triumph and Riley names come back - not sure about Rover, which has been 'sullied' rather more recently than Morris. Austin has good memories for me: in the 1950s they made much the best mass produced cars there were: but is there a market for a new British-made mass-produced car? I doubt it.

The Triumph 2000 was a far better competitor for the Rover 2000 than the OP (whose nom de plume suggests a fondness for the Rover marque) seems to think. It had a lovely six-sylinder engine and better use of space than the Rover.

The trouble is that the sort of people who bought Rileys, then Triumphs, now drive BMWs and Audis. It would take a lot to wean them back.....but I'd love to think that one day I could be driving a modern Triumph Renown. What a great name to put pride back into Great Britain.

Edited by Avant on 28/06/2009 at 17:01

Rover P6B    on 28 June 2009

We can still remember the glorious days of Rovers being the best executive expresses in the world, even those of us who are only 18 (like me). I recently had the bittersweet task of selling for spares my dad's 1973 3500S (water ingress in the garage had rotted it out) and I fell in love with it, even though nothing but the mechanicals were worth saving. As for the British mass-market car, the Rover 200 series, 400 series and 25/45 sold well enough, didn't they?

I'm aware that the 2000 was not without its advantages - though I've never understood the criticism of space use in the Rover. I'm not a small guy and I've never had a problem. I was, in any case, talking about the Triumph as a competitor to the Rover P6 3500 and 3500S - the Rover was faster, more powerful, a LOT more reliable under the bonnet, and a lot safer in a crash - plus it still looks gorgeous. Sorry, but the Trummy is a geeky teenager standing next to a smouldering beauty. I accept that the Triumph 2000 was a better car than the Rover 2000 in certain respects - I think Rover's decision not to build a small six a little short-sighted, and the parental 2001 BMW 520i Touring shows that they can be very, very good - but the P6B wins on all counts. Oh, and did I mention that it was significantly more economical than the Trummy? I heard of one running around on twin exhausts and an SD1 Twin Plenum 210bhp engine that would return over 35MPG on a motorway run... and even my dad's completely stock car did 30MPG over long distances, about 25 on more local jaunts.

I accept that the British marques have taken a hell of a bashing. But hey, look, Jaguar, until recently the preserve of tweedy golfers, is now the brand of choice for the dynamic 30-something exec wanting something that is, if anything, better than a BMW, and certainly much better than a Lexus GS/Merc E-class/Audi A6. I know I'd have a modern, estate-bodied take on the P6 over a BMW 3- or 5-series Touring. And I know I'm not alone in feeling a desire to rekindle the old home fire and turn in into a raging inferno as powerful as any from overseas.

There. That's how worked up I am. You've got me going all poetic. Bah.

gordonbennet    on 28 June 2009

I admire your staunch defence of the Rover brand in particular, i enjoyed a wonderful period of ownership of a 3500 auto, and had good experiences of most others...the flies in the ointment being a SD1 2300 (probably my worst car of all time) and the truly dreadful 2200 landcrab (never got over the fact that an engine oil change needed 22 pints).
Still one of my best cars was a facelift 827 manual...which quite honestly was a rebodied Honda Legend and none the worse for that, silky smooth very stable high speed car that came into it's own the wrong side of a ton..;)

P6 wasn't the roomiest car especially in the rear, the DeDion rear suspension took up a lot of room but provided the car with remarkable ride quality for its size and very stable high speed handling, and it could shift for a 72 car, and we forget just how small these cars were when compared to todays oversized monstrosities.

For some reason i was never bitten by the Triumph bug, whether sports cars or saloons, having changed a few clutches in 2000's put any enthusiasm onto the back burner.

The best thing that happened to Rover was the love affair with Honda, a truly sad day when greed and stupidity ended that happy union.

I really can't see any good mass produced cars coming from Longbridge again...but with some good designs limited runs of some tasty stuff could once more roll...i'm thinking here of a retro replacement for the wonderful V8 engined Rover 75's...still a desirable car itself.

Yes Jaguar seems to be the car of the moment, quite how they will fare once they've got 80K on the clock and out of warranty we'll see.
Looks wise they do nothing for me, but luckily we're all different.

perro    on 28 June 2009

I take my hat orf to you Brother P6B - you certainly have a fair knowledge of British rolling stock that was around before you were even a twinkle in you dad's eye!
I've owned 2 P6's both auto's, one of which had SD1 heads and went quite well and was finshed in that sort of pale fern green colour which sounds a tad naf but looked quite distinguished actually.
The 1st P6 I owned was an ex Police car in Zircon blue complete with holes in the roof!
I had it spayed old inglisch white + black vinyl roof :)
I was in the auto trade from 78 - 92 so got to drive most cars over that time ... I would class the Rover P6 alongside the Triumph 2000/2500PI like Audi and BMW are equally top notch mota's IMO.
I also owned a Dolly Sprint in Sebring red, black vinyl + Webasto full length sliding roof, but it certainly was no match for a beemer or any sort - and I've owned a few of those as well=525e + 320i + the old 2000 ~ en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:MHV_BMW_2000.jpg
I am known as being a doom n' gloom merchant (hehe!) so I will say that the UK car industry has (sadly) had its day apart from foreign owned top range stuff, and I'm quite content to drive my British (built) Almera 1.8SE which does all (and more) I require of a car.
Don't get me wrong though - I'd luv to see Triumph triumph and Singer sing a'new but alas there are too many car-l marques offered in this sceptred isle thes days, and too many £'s bound for South Asian shores!

Hamsafar    on 28 June 2009

There is no point. It would be like doing a new series of Minder or a remake of Italian Job.

the swiss tony    on 28 June 2009

There is no point. It would be like doing a new series of Minder or
a remake of Italian Job.

Both of which have been done.........

geoff1248    on 28 June 2009

Always loved the look of the Triumph Stag, shame it never officially had the Rover V8 from the start. Wonder what it would look like now if it had been developed over the ensuing years?

Lud    on 28 June 2009

Wolseley (archdiocesan dignity) and Riley (sporting, tiny bit raffish) are solid names we haven't heard for a while. The police used them both in the fifties with silver doorbells on the front bumper.

perro    on 28 June 2009

>The police used them both in the fifties with silver doorbells on the front bumper.<

(hehehe!) ~ en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:MG_Magnette_ZA.jpg

Rover P6B    on 28 June 2009

Both of which have been done.........

...badly. Whoever could be behind such a move would have to do it well, or he'd really **** things up for any possible further revival...

Rover P6B    on 28 June 2009

>>There is no point>>
Stuff'n'nonsense, sir! There's life in the old dog yet and if we can end BMW's stranglehold in the market place - says the elder son of parents who are now on their third BMW in a row - that can only be a good thing. The new Jag XF shows that anything is possible with dynamic management, motivated design staff and all-round determination to excel.

Edited by Rover P6B on 28/06/2009 at 20:30

Altea Ego    on 29 June 2009

The new Jag XF shows that anything is possible with dynamic management motivated design staff
and all-round determination to excel.



Quite right - well said sir.

Alas Mr Dynamic, Mr Motivated, and Mr Determination never worked at Austin rover/BL/Rover.

colinh    on 29 June 2009

...and like BL still not making a profit. You can have the greatest cars in the world but without profits they're just wasting talent.

Rover P6B    on 28 June 2009

8< snip. It's so much easier to delete than it is to edit when someone thinks the no swearing rule doesn't apply to them.

Edited by Webmaster on 29/06/2009 at 01:42

Rover P6B    on 29 June 2009

The Rover brand once stood for the very finest of all mass-produced cars: there is no reason not to defend that. The P6s were very well-built and, mostly, reliable - the V8s even in stock form pulled like trains, the autoboxes were smooth and very robust, the car would, even today, get a 3-star EuroNCAP rating (or so I was once told) - built-in crumple zones, dash structures made of honeycomb plastic to absorb energy in an impact, engine and transmission designed to go under the cabin not into it in an impact... I believe it was even designed - unlike any other such car - with offset impacts in mind. It's a shame that the SD1, while well-designed in many respects, was let down by 70s bad taste in the cabin and bad build quality all round. The six-cylinder engines were basically the old Triumph 2000/2500 engines, I believe, and were just as troublesome as their progenitors. I wasn't aware of the Landcrab having any issues except the usual somewhat suspect build quality - and Issigonis' daft insistance on front-wheel-drive and having the transmission in the sump. In fact, the 2200 engine made it into the South African SD1 2300 and was reckoned to be rather better than the Triumph version.

The 800 had its good points and, after the facelift, was even passably nice-looking, but you could see the cost-cutting (still dodgy build quality, according to a friend of mine who had an 827 coupé), it had hellish body roll, was really not very good on windy B-roads, and tracks? Forget it! It needed better build quality, less evidence of cost-cutting, REAR WHEEL DRIVE and the 3.9L Rover V8.

I've never understood people's criticism of the P6 space-wise - I am not a small person by any means and I have no problem with space in the P6. OK, so it wasn't a Tardis like the Triumph, but the Triumph sacrificed so much else for that space (looks, handling, etc).

I must disagree over the Honda partnership - the Triumph Acclaim was a truly dreadful car that, again, was far too big for FWD, the SD3 (aka 213, 216) was just yawn-inducingly boring, if rather better for reliability, the 800 just wasn't able to compete, as the competition was miles better, the Mk2 200 (214, 216) and its 400 sisters had nasty steering, were dodgy on the reliability front... the 600 was where things began to look up, though it still needed RWD. The Mk3 200/25 and the 400/45 weren't bad cars, just they were rapidly outclassed. Again, I don't think the Rover K-series engines were really all that great. The 75 could have been superb - it was going to be based on the BMW E34 platform - rear wheel drive and well-proven on that 5-series. However, they had to spoil it all, put in K-series engines instead of those lovely BMW I6s, and FWD! Still, can't blame Honda for that! What BL/Austin Rover really needed was to have that BMW partnership earlier on, in 1979.

DP    on 29 June 2009

the Mk2 200 (214 216) and its 400 sisters
had nasty steering were dodgy on the reliability front


I disagree. I reckon the R8 was one of the best cars in its class, the best Rover in decades, and about the only car they made at the time (apart from the Mini) that you didn't need to make apologies or excuses for buying. It was quick (the 1.4 out performed most 1.6s), frugal, good looking, pleasant (if not much fun) to drive, economical, and pretty reliable. It was also desirable to the extent that it sold even at a price premium over its rivals.

They are not unreliable cars (K series HGF issues aside) Most of the car was Honda designed, and Rover just did the fine tuning and finishing (which they were very good at, particularly inside). You still see ancient H and J platers rattling around looking presentable in a way that similarly aged Escorts, Astras and Golfs simply do not. The interior was also years ahead of its rivals, with a light, airy feel, good quality materials, and a design that still looks reasonable to this day.

A good friend had a K plate 416 SLi with the single cam Honda engine. It had 175,000 miles on the clock when she got rid of it, and was clockwork reliable. Really gutsy, well screwed together, no major hassles, and never let her down. Rubbish spec though - I remember it had one electric mirror!

I also had a soft spot for the 800. We had a 96N Vitesse Sport on the fleet of a company I worked for. Drove that car for a whole weekend once and actually didn't want to give it back. Still can't believe how a 2.0 engine, even with a turbo gave performance like that in such a big car, and how little lag it had. This had 140k when they sold it, and again had given no significant problems.

The Honda era started to introduce consistent build quality, which was something Rover had never enjoyed. I toured Cowley in the early 90's and saw the Japanese influence first hand. It was remarkable. I don't think an early 90's built Rover was any worse than an early 90's built Ford, Vauxhall, Peugeot, Citroen or Renault.

Edited by DP on 29/06/2009 at 12:32

L'escargot    on 29 June 2009

BL? RIP!

craig-pd130    on 29 June 2009


Wolseley should be revived for one reason and one reason only: the Wolseley badge on the cars' radiator grilles used to be illuminated. A classy touch :)

davidh    on 29 June 2009

Someones been drinking too much coffee?

bristol01    on 29 June 2009

I've an idea for a pub quiz question.

Name the year:

President Kennedy shot
Beatles released Please please me
Dylan released The freewheelin' Bob Dylan
Nigeria became a republic
First episode of Dr. Who broadcast
Rover launched its last world beater

Yep, 1963.

RIP.


Rover P6B    on 30 June 2009

Ahem! Last Rover world-beater was the P6 3500S in 1971! So, here goes:

Name the year when:
Led Zeppelin released their fourth album
Jim Morrison died
The Aswan Dam was opened
Apollo 14 landed on the moon
Rolls-Royce went bankrupt and was nationalised
Rover launched its last world-beater

Altea Ego    on 30 June 2009

Ahem! Last Rover world-beater was the P6 3500S in 1971! So here goes:
Name the year when:
Led Zeppelin released their fourth album

1971
Jim Morrison died

1971
The Aswan Dam was opened

1970
Apollo 14 landed on the moon

1971
Rolls-Royce went bankrupt and was nationalised

1971
Rover launched its last world-beater

1947 - The land rover.

Rover P6B    on 1 July 2009

>> Rover launched its last world-beater
1947 - The land rover.


Oh, come on. The P4 was an excellent car, very successful, the P5 was flawed but magnificent, especially in V8 form, and the P6 (again, especially the V8) was very, very good indeed. My father - who had a 3500S and subsequently three BMWs - says it's taken the latest BMW to match the Rover for quality and that, even then, the Rover had slightly better steering. Even the much-maligned SD1 had many good points - if it had only had Jaguar independent rear suspension, a better cabin and had been all-round well-built and reliable, with better six-cylinder engines, it would have been fantastic. As it is, I once heard of a Vitesse with some kind of independent or semi-independent (De Dion) rear suspension put in as part of a major restoration and it's said now to be the world-beater David Bache intended it to be. If BMW or Merc had built the SD1 from the start, it would be considered an all-time great. Oh, and what of the much more recent 75 V8? RWD, big muscly V8, but sadly cut off in its prime. I think that it could have been a world-beater.

Altea Ego    on 1 July 2009

The P6 3500s was a good car comfortable fast and stylish. - World beater? no
The 75? in some engione configurations, comfortable fast and stylish in other engine configuations a complete dog - World Beater? no

Even the much-maligned SD1 had many good points if it had only had Jaguar independent rear suspension a better cabin and had been all-round well-built and reliable with better six-cylinder engines it would have been fantastic

err that reads "If it had been a different car it would have been fantastic"

If BMW or Merc had built the SD1 from the start it would be considered an all-time great

They might have made it reliable if thats what you mean. But then it would have been a BMW or a Mercedes.

I quite like SD1 from design and syle wise, and the 3.5 v8 was a great lump. Overall it was still a dog tho.

perro    on 1 July 2009

Perro had 2 dogs - both auto's ... back then money was no object to me but I still went for Rover dogs - I wasn't out to beat the world, just to drive a great (of its day) car.

Rover P6B    on 2 July 2009

The P6 3500s was a good car comfortable fast and stylish. - World beater? no
err that reads "If it had been a different car it would have been fantastic"
If BMW or Merc had built the SD1 from the start it would be
considered an all-time great
They might have made it reliable if thats what you mean. But then it would
have been a BMW or a Mercedes.

The P6, not a world-beater? So, what was? Comparable cars from M-B and BMW never had the Rover's balance of grace, pace and economy, even if they were built in much greater numbers. I accept your point about my point about the SD1, but the basic design needn't have changed much. If BMW or Merc had built it, it wouldn't necessarily have become a Teuton. Also, I might even change the date of Rover's last world-beater to 1981, when the 4-door Range Rover was launched. What do you think?

madux    on 3 July 2009

What do I think?
I don't want to be rude but I am thinking about how someone born in 1990-something can think he knows so much about 1960s and 70s cars. Have you ever driven a car?

bell boy    on 30 June 2009

Wolseley should be revived for one reason and one reason only: the Wolseley badge on
the cars' radiator grilles used to be illuminated. A classy touch :)

>>>>>ive got a grille in my cellar,ive covered it in grease so it will be worth something in years to come,unfortunately the little wolseley bit is missing
i saw a same type grille at a the truck fest at harrogate last year and the trader wanted £60 for it

Lud    on 30 June 2009

The illuminated badge on Wolseleys was just for show though. 'Here comes the Archbishop!'

The thing I liked was the transparent temperature gauge on the radiator cap of some twenties Morrises. Pretty and practical if your eyesight was good enough to focus on the needle. But that was a bit before BL's time.

Alby Back    on 30 June 2009

I had one of those badges on the grille of my Wolseley Hornet when aged 17. I expect I wouldn't have been mistaken for a man of the cloth but may have caused the odd bit of prayer or periodically triggered a spot of blaspheming from others.......

PS - I fitted a "sports" steering wheel to it embarrassingly enough....Not sure if it really helped the turn in on those Colway crossply remoulds very much.

JH    on 30 June 2009

Agh no! They're dead. Gone. Buried. And (almost) forgotten. In automotive Darwinism they got what they deserved. By all means indulge in a little misty eyed automotive fantasy but, no zombies please.
JH

Bilboman    on 1 July 2009

Bring back Alvis, Lanchester and Vanden Plas immediately.

madux    on 1 July 2009

You mention 'Hellish body roll' on the 827, RP6B - funny that - I was watching a repeat of The Sweeney the other day and was reminded of how much those Rovers used to roll in the corners. FYInfo, The Sweeney was a cops and robbers television programme in the seventies.

Rover P6B    on 1 July 2009

I was watching a repeat of The Sweeney the other day and was reminded of how much
those Rovers used to roll in the corners>>


I have a book on the P6 V8s which shows one being pushed hard into a corner and oh boy did it roll. On another discussion on this forum I received a link from a participant regarding what he had done to his P6 V8 - he uses it as a track racer as well as on public roads, so he lowered it (just so it looks sporty and purposeful, not Californian) and fitted a proper front air dam. He says that this has cut body roll dramatically and improved the already excellent handling significantly. I'll see if I can find the link.

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