The history of Rover is as varied and wide ranging as the cars it produced over the years. Despite having major ups and downs, the brand is still a household name for many people in Britain, years after it went belly up. Rover cars were affordable, relatively solid and typically British.
The Rover Company was formed in 1878 and started out making motorcycles, but move into cars in 1904. Throughout the 20s and 30s, a lot of restructuring went on, but cars like the Tourer and 10 were still produced. The main aim was to create a line of cars that were more luxurious and up market than those offered by Ford and Austin at the time.
The post war period was incredibly fruitful and the addition of the Land Rover brand only added to the success. The company could now offer up market vehicles such as the 80 (P4) and incredibly tough, durable and powerful 4x4s. Despite being at opposite ends of the motoring spectrum, the combination worked well.
The 1960s saw the start of an era of mergers and British Leyland was the first to take over. Outside the box thinking led to the Range Rover in 1970, essentially a blend of the luxury of Rover and the ruggedness of Land Rover. It was a huge success and is still sold today. On the car front, the 2000, 3500 and Vitesse (SD1) proved popular.
More changes were to come in the 1980s with the Rover Group being formed. A new lineup included the 800, 400 and 600 which were based on Honda cars, a company with which Rover had a relationship with since 1979. These cars were popular, but another takeover by British Aerospace overshadowed their production.
The 1990s saw a resurgence of the Rover brand, again being sold as premium alternatives other popular makes. After BMW acquired the company in 1994, the 75 was produced and was hugely popular. It won many awards and basked in the spotlight giving Rover a well needed boost.
At the turn of the century, Land Rover was sold to Ford and the Rover brand was sold to a consortium that would later become MG Rover. This was the beginning of the end, and despite the release of the 25 and 45 things went downhill fast.
If anything is clear it’s that Rovers were genuinely good cars, but too many changes interfered and ultimately let do its downfall. You can still get your hands on a range of second hand Rover cars today at Motors.co.uk and thanks to reduced prices there are numerous bargains to be had.
So if you want a car that’s affordable, a pleasure to drive and harks back to a great period in British automotive history, go ahead and consider a Rover.