Gallery : Longbridge Flightshed, Nov ’06

Carole Nash Classic Insurance Specialists


View from the road

Industrial backdrop

Apostrophe warning

More warnings

MG TF shell

Facelift 75 bumper

Stores galore

Asbestos warnings

Plenty of parts

Seat testing

Crash test car

A closer look

Control equipment

RDX60 prototype

Going nowhere

Rear axle

Wind tunnel Rover 75

Engine evaluation

K-Series and ‘box

Dyno control panel

The test rig

MIRA data

A closer look

The flightshed roof

Interesting viewing

Flightshed staircase

All the fuel you need

Generator

A closer look

Elevated walkway

Diamonds are for danger

Ex-testing area

Notices… going unread

Banks of equipment

TF Testing

Heritage noticeboard

Exhausts going spare

ZT V8 powertrains

Stating the obvious

25/ZR after a trip to MIRA

Crash test carpark

CityRover improvements

Side impact testing…

…a closer look

Check out the markings

75 Tourer’s wheel damage

25/ZR awaiting its fate

Freeze frame moment

Get your sandwiches

Testing times

That fateful day…

Damage repairable?

Examination time…

Bonnet up action
Keith Adams

Keith Adams

Editor and creator AROnline at AROnline
Created www.austin-rover.co.uk in 2001 and built it up 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 Classics 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 unfeasible adventures all across Europe.
Keith Adams

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21 Comments

  1. Of the three cars in the last pic, only one appears on the DVLA database for licensing? and it’s license expired in 2005!

    It probably safe to say none of the trio survive.

  2. Very sad. That is our NATIONS SHAME right there, allowing MGR to be MURDERED like that.
    We shall not see its like again.

  3. Looking at these pictures, I’m not ashamed to say I feel tears prick my eyes. It wasn’t just about cars. It was about people.
    There’s a feeling I can’t quite describe looking at those pictures. As sad as they are, somehow they capture the friendly, home grown appeal of a Rover.
    Show those photos to people who did nothing but drag their name through the mud in Rover’s last few years. At least they got what they wanted.

  4. @ frankie the 75 nut:

    I think what these photos symbolise to me the most is the firm reality that Longrbridge will never be a plant capable of undertaking mass assembly again, while the Rover name is nothing but a memory now (albeit a very fond one that I am still immensely proud of).

    I really do think it is a crime that this historic building and all its achievements and memories will now be lost forever, as the greed of a large property developer who cares nothing about heritage, will demolish it.

    Thanks to large, greedy developers, we have little heritage left these days as housing estates made from shoddy materials figure more highly with politicans than heritage or manufacturing skills in the sutomotive industry. I am definitely not proud to be British after seeing these photos, just very sad that it has gone horribly wrong.

  5. @3. Darren: Interestingly* while they don’t appear on the DVLA website if you bang the details into the RAC site they return results.

    BX54OLW = ZR160
    X541JOH returns only Rover (no model). Is that the 4WD tourer hack that the put together?

  6. One day our fortunes will turn. I’m positive the in my life time at least, we’re have a car industry again. (and at least we’ve still got Jaguar).
    On another note friends, I think that it’s industry practice to scrap cars that have been used for testing so they probably would have been destroyed regardless to wether Rover went under or not. Interesting that the RAC returns results-maybe they’re private plates?

  7. i would have hated to walk through all this days after getting the brown envelope off MGR,i would have been absolutely desolate,just as much as these pictures are,these are the sad memories with no happy end im afraid.

  8. Very sad story and very sad pictures. Hopefully I will never see pictures like that from Wolfsburg, Stuttgart or Munich. You should defend the remaining car industry in Britain with all the bravery your people are known for.
    Guido Reinking, former Rover- an now Land-Rover-Owner from Germany.

  9. ‘All the bravery we were known for?’

    Whenever I see Skodas these days I think about what might have happened if Volkswagen had been allowed to buy Austin-Rover in the mid-eighties? Perhaps we wouldn’t see these sad photos.

    We should all go out and buy an MG6 double quick!

  10. So sad to see a place which was once a hive of industry, now silent and awaiting the wrecking ball. I remember it in happier times during the 1970s and early 1980s when I worked in the emission labs which were situated up on the mezzanine floor, accessed by a ramp at the back of the building. In those days, the main floor of the flight shed was devoted to the production of the Triumph-based gearbox for the Morris Marina and Ital. Not far from the rear access ramp, on the embankment below where the multi-storey car park used to be, and largely hidden in the undergrowth, was an access point to some of the underground tunnels which were used for the assembly of Bristol radial engines during the war. Through a small doorway, then a climb down an extremely rusty staircase and into the two linked tunnels which went in a south-easterly direction underneath Groveley Lane, emerging at the bottom of the bank opposite the one-time aero-engine test beds in the East Works, later to become the Research Dept. Back in the tunnels, the wartime emergency lighting battery was still in place, consisting of shelves full of 2volt glass lead-acid cells. Returning to the flight shed, I must refer to one of the above pictures which is incorrectly captioned as a generator. The electrical machine was in fact a very large motor coupled to an enormous 2-cylinder Bellis & Morcom reciprocating compressor, which supplied the whole of the building’s compressed air requirements. While it was running, the windows along the entire length of the building would ‘pant’- whether this was due to vibrations through the ground, or local pressure variations caused by each induction stroke, I’m not sure, although I favour the latter explanation. If anything from the flight shed deserved to be preserved, it was surely that compressor; but of course it wouldn’t fit in with the Gaydon Museum’s collection policy, and its scrap value would be considerable, even though, as a piece of British heritage, it is priceless. I would like someone to tell me it is being preserved, but I shan’t hold my breath.

  11. The final dozen or so pics are all taken in the ‘vehicle workshop’. This is was a ‘Powertrain’ workshop basically reserved for Transmission engineering. Its interesting for me to note that all of the vehicle lift ramps have gone. there were at least 12 in there. Also none of the workshop managers who looked after it while I was one of its ‘customers’ would have allowed it to be in such a state of disarray. I find these pics very sad.

  12. I’ve seen these photos before and everytime I look at them I feel sad at how it all ended even though it was over 7 years ago… RIP MGRover

  13. The French have Citroen, Renault and Peugeot. The Germans have Audi, BMW, Mercedes and Porsche. The Italians have Fiat and Lancia. We have — nothing. Sure the UK builds cars — and does so well — but do they really feel like “ours”?

  14. I worked there from 1990 to 1994. I was very proud to do so and thoroughly enjoyed it. Best regards to my former colleagues.

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