Concepts : Rover 75 Coupe

Coupe rennaissance

THIS was the car that Rover fans have been waiting for since the launch of the 75 in the autumn of 1998. The coupe version of what has been dubbed the best car in Rover’s history. Looking at the design proposal, it was hard not to be impressed with the saloon to coupe transformation, but then again, big coupes nearly always look better than their saloon counterparts. On the 75 Coupe, the transformation was amazingly well conceived – the roof line was stunning, and it gelled perfectly with the rest of the car.

The company’s design team wanted to mark the first 100 years of the Rover marque – and chose this project to do it in style. MG Rover was also deep in negotiations with SAIC at the time, and felt a glamorous car like this would have acted as a perfect showcase for its talents. This objective was achieved with the Rover 75 Coupe concept – and all aspects of its design – interior and exterior – impressed all who set eyes upon it.

The concept’s interior was conceived to capture the elegance of Rover, and as a result, strongly focused on Yew wood and Tan leather hide introducing the style of designer furniture into the automotive lounge, extending Rover’s trademark for a welcoming interior.

Peter Stevens, Rover’s design director at the time said: ‘I want people to turn away for a moment from post modern brutalism and to enjoy the elegant and timeless lines of the 75 Coupe’s design. The true character of a Rover comes from its ability to present a cosseting environment with comfort and refinement being the high priorities, elements that should be expressed in the form and detailing of the exterior of the car. Heritage is a great strength for a marque as it gives you the terms of reference and something to build on for the future. That is exactly how we saw the challenge of presenting a Rover concept in its Centenary year.’

If nothing else, it would have brought a touch of British elegance and understatement to the sub-£30K coupe market.

Such a shame…


Keith Adams

About the Author:

Created in 2001 and watched it steadily grow into AROnline. Is the Editor of Classic Car Weekly, and has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, Classic Car Weekly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, and the the Motoring Independent... Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasable adventures all across Europe.

22 Comments on "Concepts : Rover 75 Coupe"

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  1. David Dawson says:

    A stunning looking car!

    Every effort should have been made to get this car into production. It could have been sold with a pretty hefty profit margin. I’m sure it would have sold in decent numbers and generated much needed funds – more than the X Power SV managed, surely.

    In fact I reckon a 75 Coupe would have been a better flagship model all round than the X Power SV. It was sufficiently glamorous and would have had a far greater market presence – an important factor in attracting investment.

  2. David 3500 says:

    “Sub-£30K Coupe market”? Hardly. This would have likely had a premium price over a 2.5-litre Connoisseur SE saloon so would likely to have cost over £30K to recoup the cost of retooling sixty percent of the body pressings on what would have been a low volume addition to the 75 portfolio.

    A beautiful looking car that captured the real essence of timeless, elegant styling and good taste, which the Rover name was synonymous for. A potentially worthy flagship for the Rover 75 line-up and one that I hoped, could have been reserved for the Rover marque only.

  3. Steve Bailey says:

    Why on earth did MGR mess about with utterly pointless projects like the rear wheel drive Mustang engined thing and that X-Power Ferrari wannabe, when they could have introduced the beautiful 75 Coupe, which would have been a true halo model with its combination of traditional looks and modern surfacing?

    It pains me to think how the opportunities MGR had were squandered time and time again, and I’m not even a big MGR fan (some cars were worthy of adoration and respect, like the Metro, Mini, R8 and SD1; others – like the utter tat they produced in the Seventies – were worthy of scorn.)

  4. charles - Leicester says:

    I’ve owned 5 or 6 Rovers inc a 600 & a an 800 coupe – which was was superb !

    I followed it with a 75 Connoisseur SE also brilliant – but looking at the 75 coupe – well I’d order one tomorrow !

    Price bracket – say 35 – 40K [ the 75 V8 was listed at 30K + ]

  5. Bob says:

    What a car!,such a shame it never got beyond the concept stage. I am sure it would have been well received and sold well.

    I currently own a 75 connoisseur Tourer absolutely brilliant car.

  6. Sam Mace Frankie the 75 nut says:

    It’s a fantastic looking car I’d have one in a heartbeat, but I can understand why Rover didn’t put it into production.
    Who would buy one? Coupes are generally sporting, and that’s not why you buy a Rover 75.
    I appreciate you have the P5 Coupe to look to for heritage, but I think it would have been better received as an MG (ZT-C maybe?).
    As a Rover, I think it would run the risk of being seen as neither fish nor foul, a bit like the 800.
    Just to clarify, I love the 800 coupe as well.

  7. Will M says:

    The side window profile puts me in mind of my own Accord coupe. Which with leather, wood and US-style soft suspension, could very well have made the basis of a nice Rover product.

  8. Tony F says:

    What a car!! Absolute beauty currently have a 05 2.5 v6 connoisseur SE best car i have ever owned!!! BY A LONG WAY. Would love to have seen a 4.6 V8 75 Coupe 256bhp like the V8 saloon. Would have give the keys to my house for one.

  9. J181 says:

    A baby Bentley… If they could have produced this at around £30k-£35k they would have been laughing… You have to question where MG Rover placed it efforts and where it could have…

  10. dzt103 dzt103 says:

    This car looks fantastic, exactly what a Rover should be like.
    Yet another “if only” story.
    It’s makes the blood boil, such a shame they didn’t get this into production. I’m sure it would have been in high demand..
    If JLR ever resurrects the “Rover” name. this is what a rover should look like.

  11. francis brett francis brett says:

    This amongst other nearly Rover cars would have been the companies salvation-how can you not fall in love with this beautiful,stunning concept?

  12. ant80 says:

    prettier than any german or italian effort for that matter. if only…..

  13. David 3500 says:

    I don’t know why people place so much emphasis on this car only being worthy of carrying an MG badge when in reality it was a design concept to not only celebrate 100 years of Rover car production, but also showcase an interesting ‘halo’ model for the Rover marque.

    An MG ZT-C offering would have left me cold as there is no obvious lineage with MGs of old. I can never understand the mentality of those who automatically suggest that with every new bodystyle proposed by MG Rover Group there had to be an MG variant. The Longbridge-based manufacturer did not adopt this approach with the long wheelbase Rover 75 so why, in theory, not with the Coupe as well? Perhaps I am unique in not understanding the alleged ‘magnetism’ of the MG badge compared to Rover?

    The reality of this car was that it served to ‘whet the appetite’ of potential investors in the MG Rover Group business and would only have been feasible if it could have been sold in additional markets where MG Rover Group did not already have a presence, namely China. From a business perspective, this project would have been heavily dependent on the financial input of another partner and would have also involved redesigning at least fifty percent of the existing Rover’s 75 steel body panels (with the exception of the bootlid, bonnet and front wings). Did this make a sound business case for a car that was already six years old when this Coupe design concept was announced, and was already experiencing a decline in sales in the light of newer competition?

    Make no mistake, it was a stunning design concept that in more prosperous times and with a more secure future, would have been a worthy halo model for the Rover marque. As we all know, however, the reality could not have been further from this.

  14. dzt103 dzt103 says:

    Does anyone know if this car still exists?
    Presumably someone still owns this design & other concepts like this?

  15. David 3500 says:


    The car still exists, albeit now wearing MG badges and a small bootlid spoiler courtesy of Nanjing Automobile Company in approximately 2006. The car is one of the heritage exhibits at MG Motor UK Ltd’s Longbridge assembly plant, alongside the 5 Millionth Rover.

  16. dzt103 dzt103 says:

    @ David 3500
    Thanks for that, I’m pleased the car is still around but less so that it was rebadged an MG. It fits the Rover name best, as you say thats what it was designed to be after all…

  17. David Edney says:

    It’s lovely, but I think we need to be realistic about it’s sales potential had they actually made it! If in any doubt look at the success or otherwise or the 800 Coupe, launched in a time when the Rover name had a great deal more respect that it did at the time this was on show.

  18. dose eney one know what happened to the concept coupe, or if it still exists

  19. dose eney one know who owns the rights to the coupe

  20. M says:

    The 800 coupe looks a lot sharper and classier.

  21. CarlReading says:

    Somebody has only gone and built themselves one!

  22. John Fishwick says:

    That has got me drooling . I want one ! Well done that man !

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