Rover 75 V8 Limousine

THE Rover 75 V8 Limousine was the car they weren’t going to build…

When the long wheelbase version of the 75 was unveiled in 2002, the company made it clear that developing a V8-powered rear wheel drive version would be costly, and the limited demand wouldn’t justify the investment.

Yet, they built one…

Ministerial Rover

HIS is the car they weren’t going to build… When MG Rover launched its long wheelbase version of the Rover 75, it was made clear by company spokespeople that the only engine options you were going to be able to buy the stretched body in were the capable BMW M47 powered CDTi and the smooth as silk Rover KV6 engine in 2.5 litre form.

When the V8 version of the Rover 75 (Project X12/X13) hit the scene at the beginning of 2004, many people wondered whether it would be available in long wheelbase form. After all, in such form, the 75 would have made perfect ministerial transport – a worthy replacement for the Rover P5B, so fondly remembered to this day…

At the NEC Motor Show in 2004, MG Rover announced that the Limousine version (previously known as the Vanden Plas) would continue to be powered by the original line-up – the cost of conversion, and a lack of demand cited as reasons for this decision.

However, on a trip to Longbridge in December 2005, Chris Lane spotted a Royal Blue 75 Limousine sporting V8 wing badges. We asked the question as to whether this car is the genuine article or not – after all, MG Rover couldn’t afford to build it as a production car, but what would stop it making the odd one for evaluation purposes – or perhaps to get Mr Blair out of his Jaguar?

The answer has quickly come back. Nic Fasci, a former homologation engineer for MG Rover and all-round good egg filled us in: “Yup, we made one and it’s even got a real VIN number to with the letter E in the seventh position of the VIN (well it should have anyway). It was made I think at the request of the board so we could shunt people about with a bit of zest and comfort over the V6 or diesel models.”

He added: “I don’t think that it cost too much to do in the scheme of things as there were a few LWB shells about so the ususal X12 treatment off line was done and the only other things that needed doing as on off’s would have been the prop shaft, brake (possibly), fuel and battery lines as all of the other bits were in existence so to speak.”

Mark Baxter, a corporate buyer for the dealer group SMC, and V8 owning MG Rover enthusiast added some extra information: “It is now owned by Nanjing and is used for ferrying around guests. We tried to buy the car last year, but the company wouldn’t release it to us, stating it was a prototype – and not one to be released to the public.”

The V8 model might have been a peripheral project to the health of MG Rover in general, but as a halo model, it was a success – being lauded by the press, and most people who drove it. A V8 version, therefore, would have been a niche model within a niche range – and very limited in appeal. However, it is easy to imagine the car being used by Number 10 to ferry around our Prime Minister – and that could have had some positive influence on the range…

…Now it’s just another curious MG Rover might-have-been.

With thanks to: Chris Lane for the picture.

Keith Adams

About the Author:

Created in 2001 and built it to become the world's foremost reference source for all things BMC, Leyland and Rover Group, before renaming it AROnline in 2007. Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Clsssics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent... Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasable adventures all across Europe.

1 Comment on "Rover 75 V8 Limousine"

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  1. M. J. Wheeldon says:

    I find it interesting that although a 3.5 limousine was destined for No.10, John Towers himself was happy to drive round in a 2.6ltre version, albeit money was thrown at it and it sports a 3.5 style grill !
    A Sony D.v.D system with a drop down – roof mounted – T.v between the rear seats and wireless headphones for the passengers, Inbuilt satnav with T.v for the driver to name but two items in the vehicle.
    The vehicle is still around and is now owned by a family in Cambs who, I understand, bought it from the receivers.
    Poor old John.

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