Car of the Month : September 2006

For all those out there who happen to think that the Rover 75 V8 is a rare beast – here’s something a little more special for you…

Mark Baxter has already featured in these pages with his stunning ZT 260 V8, but here’s another he’s recently added to his fantastoc collection of Rovers – a 75 V8 Tourer, which looks fantastic in the classic colour combination of British Racing Green and beige leather…

Earth mover

What a great way to move your luggage in style…

WE make no apologies for featuring yet anoyther V8 powered Rover 75 in the pages of this website. It’s a bespoke special, and one that offers so many pleasures behind the wheel, that there’s no doubt we’re looking at a future classic. In fact, it could be argued that it’s already a classic car. The saloon version is pretty rare, with less than 100 having found buyers, but that figure pales into insignificance compared with the Tourer version, of which, we reckon six have been built.

Ever since SMC Motors obtained this example from Longbridge last year, the company’s chief car purchaser, Mark Baxter, has had his eyes on the car for his own person collection. Mark recalled, “Obviously being a buyer for a big company I do not buy cars as in the way other people do – walking into a car showroom and placing an order. I first saw The tourer about two months after MGR went into administration, and it was being used as a factory ‘hack’ by the drivers on the plant. It was even full of jump leads, and keys for other cars…” What a fantastic breakdown recovery vehicle.

Mark wanted it as soon as he clapped eves on it, but things wouldn’t be that easy. He remembered, “Obviously being a Tourer I was very interested, and asked the guys in charge of selling the cars if I could buy it. At the time it wasn’t for sale, but I perservered and about three months later I was offered the car with a batch of other V8s. In fact this was while I was on my honeymoon in Switzerland; my new wife was very understanding!”

We can see why Mark wanted it so much. Resplendent in BRG in beige leather, it’s a colour combination that looks fantastic when clothing the 75’s sculpted lines, but because of the dictats of fashion, very few people seem to have chosen it. He added: “In the end I bought almost half of the Engineering fleet (of 150 cars!) with most of the balance being sold/given to the Chinese. I kept the Rover for myself as it was very unusual and I believe it to be of only about a dozen Rover 75 V8 Tourers in existence.”

Well, whoever in Engineering specified this one from new made a very wise decision because it looks stunning in the flesh. Mark’s delighted with his new car, and it’s obvious that the 75’s now in good hands – remaining in ‘as new’ condition for years to come. As Mark said, “I intend to keep this car – as well as my ZT 260 – as long as I can as a momento of a very strange, enjoyable, sad, happy and interesting year in my life.”


Wood, leather and a touch of chrome marry beautifully…

Proud owner, Mark, with his latest addition to the fleet…

That front end works so much better than the standard item.

Thanks to Mark Baxter for the drive of his V8.

Keith Adams

1 Comment

  1. I had the pleasure of having one of the press demo examples on loan for five days in January 2005. Admittedly it was flawed, mainly due to that 3-speed with overdrive automatic transmission, but it still left a positive impression with me. Especially as it was tapping into my emotional side rather than the realities of poor fuel economy, high emissions and healthy depreciation. This was a car you would have bought with your heart rather than head. Make no mistake, I loved that car and when I heard the lovely rich burble emanating from the exhausts as the delivery driver started it up for its homeward bound drive back to Longbridge, I began to miss it before it had reached the end of the road I live in.

    Yes, the Premium front grille polarised opinion, but I thought it was a step in the right direction. Along with giving a more assertive presence to the Rover brand, it also had a more convincing integrated profile as part of the 75’s frontal design when compared with a conventional bolt-on one-piece grille item. Just a shame the Premium front grille theme was never extended to the smaller 25 and 45 models as well.

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