As a replacement for the Rover SD1, the 800 should have hit the spot perfectly as it was very much a product of its time – it was sophisticated, powered by a range of multi-valve engines, and looked bang up to date. But those shiny new motors failed to deliver, and early build issues soon tarnished the car’s reputation.
The 2.5-litre Honda V6 was soon replaced by a torquier 2.7, and that transformed the Sterling and its new Vitesse stablemate into fast and effortless sporting saloons. Smart examples of the Honda-engined cars are now going up in value, yet there’s little upward movement for the smaller four-cylinder cars, while the newer KV6-powered cars are still too recent to attract a significant following. Coupes are probably the pick of the range, although they have other serious corrosion problems.
But all are cheap to buy – and the earlier pre-facelift XX model now looks sufficiently remote from contemporary cars to start being thought of in classic terms.
Reviews, blogs and news stories
The 800 emerged as the result of an ambitious programme to produce new Rover- and Honda-badged executive cars… However, the Japanese and British teams disagreed in so many areas that very little ended up being shared between the two cars in the end, thus re-shaping future projects Honda saves the day THE Rover SD1 was […]
The Rover M- and T-series engines were unsung heroes of the Rover Range. Robert Leitch tells their full story.
Our man with the photos, Stuart Collins, pointed his camera in the direction of the production of a dealer video for the Rover 800. He tells the story to accompany the pictures – if you have the video, please get in touch.
Revamping a model is never an easy task, especially when you are constrained by budget and the need to retain the underpinnings from an existing car. However, as David Morgan highlights, in the case of the second-generation Rover 800 Series, the transformation gave it a greater presence in the executive market. The early-1990s was a promising […]
Turn up your Sony Trinitron, un-pause your Ferguson Videostar and enjoy this prime slice of 1980s nostalgia. 10 July 1986 was the launch date of the Rover 800 and, as you can see from this advert, its high-tech demeanor must have looked like something else, compared with the olde worlde charm of the outgoing Rover SD1. Mind […]
From the News archive 12 November 1981 Today in Tokyo, BL and Honda announced that they had reached an initial agreement to design and develop a car, code-named Project XX. The media were told that Project XX would be an 1800cc model pitted in the market just below the Rover SD1 range. Under the terms […]
The Rover 800 Series was a game-changer in so many ways for the Austin Rover Group. David Morgan reminisces about its importance in raising the profile of both the company and Rover marque itself. Nice car, the Rover 800 Series – elegant, understated and with a subtle reference to its predecessor, the SD1… At the same […]
Keith Adams Back in the late-1980s, Rover was trying very hard to make its products more aspirational – and, it has to be said that, for a brief period of time, anyway, the company was extremely successful at doing just this. In that spirit, this wonderful TV advert depicting the Rover 800 Vitesse in the […]
Craig Cheetham If I had the space, the time, the money… and I’m probably not the only one, but having recently acquired a Mk 1 800 (watch this space…) I can’t justify another. Any takers, then, for this poorly but lovely looking F-plater, for sale at Country Classics in Pewsey, Wilts? Bodily, it looks excellent, […]
Craig Cheetham What must be one of the oldest surviving Rover 800 Fastbacks is set to go under the hammer at Anglia Car Auctions’ summer sale later this month. Among the many more upmarket classics due to be sold at the ACA sale in Kings Lynn, Norfolk, the Oyster Beige 820e base model could easily […]
We’ve read the stories a million times before – pampered journo flies to Modena, picks up a supercar, wafts it across the Alps and on to Blighty. Gushing, worshipping prose follows and we all feel like we’ve lived the dream. We like to do things differently here at AROnline and, in a fond tongue-in-cheek homage […]