The cars : Moss-converted Rover 600

We all know just how much of an underrated sporting saloon the Rover 620ti is. But back in the 1990s, Moss International tried to raise its profile by starting a sideline offering tuning parts… at a price.

Here’s the story – one of a failure in bonded plastic and carbonfibre.


Moss International: a kitch too far?

Moss International is a name familiar to anyone who read Performance Car or Fast Lane magazines. The company offered a selection of quality aftermarket products aimed at the hearts of drivers demanding more performance and striking looks and its adverts could usually be found at the back of those magazines.

It was established offering kit for cars such as the MGB, MGF, Rover SD1 and Mazda MX-5, but the company decided that it needed to diversify. The Rover 600 was chosen as the next subject to its attention as the company believed that would be a lucrative addition to its portfolio. In 1998, it launched a range of enhancements for the 600 Series including damper packs, uprated brake kits, a short-throw gear lever, Recaro seats, carbon fibre interior trim, spoilers, alloy wheels, the list went on…

At that time there were very few, if any, specialists producing performance and styling enhancements for any Rover, so for Moss to produce a complete range for a specific Rover model was a brave move.

The trouble with the 600

However,  there was a problem. The 600 was a successful model for Rover, but the average owner was far too mature to be interested in adding big spoilers, Recaro seats and carbon fibre trim. But for the few who were tempted, a look at the Moss price list soon had them choking on their Werthers Originals, for example:

· Carbon fibre trim £1000
· DTM door mirrors £250 each
· 620ti Silicone hose set (3) £340 (pictured)
· Ultimate brake kit £1500
· Recaro Ergomed front seat (each) £1174.49

It has to be said that most of the products that were available weren’t really worthwhile for the 600, except perhaps for the brake upgrade, but who’d pay £1500 for it? As it turned out, very few.

If Moss had made some worthwhile performance enhancements available, particularly for the Honda-engined models, then the company would probably have had more success with the 600, but to ask more than £300 for set of bright red silicone hoses that would make very little, if any, difference to the performance was just silly.

Did it work?

The Moss Rover 600 was a failure because the customer base wasn’t there; sporting 620ti owners preferred the tasteful, discreet, stealth look over pram-handle spoilers and tarmac scraping suspension settings. Add to that the high cost – £6000 could be spent with the tick of half a dozen boxes from the price list – come resale time, there would be little or no demand.

The Moss 600 range was withdrawn in 2000 after just two years. Perhaps if Moss had chosen upgrades for the more popular Rover 200 (R8), it could have been a different story.

For publicity, Moss took two Rover 600s and painted one in a garish yellow – actually a Mazda colour – and one in a metallic blue and they were both fitted with most of the products that were available from Moss. Are they still around today? We’d love to hear from you if you own one of them…

Keith Adams

7 Comments

  1. That yellow one as a “whiff” of 3-series BMW to me, for some reason the one on the right looks like an R200. I like the look but absolutely STUPID money and no worthwhile gain for the price..

  2. I agree it looks quite tastefully restrained – in comparison with other boy-racer alternatives. Looking at the yellow photo at the top, I think I would’ve had to stare at it for a while before I realised it was a 600.

    • I think these body mods serve to emphasise the 600s Honda origins. At a quick glance it’d be easy to assume it was an Accord.

  3. Not surprised it flopped, as the whole point of the 600Ti was that it was a restrained “Q car”

    I suppose it does show what a MG version of the 600 might have looked like, if MGR had come into existence a few years earlier!

  4. Why?????

    If you are going to offer mods, boy racers want ones in the 90s that not only made your car look “sportier” but also have more oomph.

    Moss did offer some really dodgy kits back in the 90s that I can remember for my mates Fast Lane and Performance Cars (I bought Top Gear/ Autocar and stopped reads). I always preferred q cars, why advertise? I use to love it in my old Volvo dropping a cog and leaving the boy racer looking embarrassed!

  5. just been chatting about a V reg 600 gsdi diesel which i was offered for free before covid struck. Just 43,000 miles from new with FSH – now in the hands of an ex- Rayrigg Rover, Kendal, delivery driver who’s just been offered a one owner from new 25 Olympic, too. Just finalising a price for the 600 once it’s been MOT’d – next target car an S reg 200 vi five door i’ve been after for the last five years, one lady owner from new – originally cost £18,000 from Dutton Forshaw in Preston.

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