MacNeillie Rover 75s

The long and the short of how the 75 was stretched…

MacNeillie Regency

In 1999, the 800-based Regency gave way to a new version based on the Rover 75, again available in 6-door form and aimed primarily at the funeral trade, although it could also be ordered with full armour-plating and bomb-resistance for the protection of more vulnerable occupants.

Rover 75 Vanden Plas

The Spring of 2002 saw the announcement of an interesting new development: Rover were to revive the Vanden Plas badge on a long-wheelbase 75 saloon, which would be available to-order only. This conversion work was also carried out by MacNeillie, presumably on the strength of their experience in strecthing the 75, and the high quality of their work. The 75 Vanden Plas was based on the top-of-the-range 2.5-litre V6 Connoisseur, with an extra 200mm (around 8in) being added to its wheelbase and rear doors. As with the previous decade’s Rover 800 Vanden Plas (produced by Coleman Milne), this gave executive travellers ample leg-stretching room in the back, from where they could appreciate such thoughtful details as a pair of reading lights and a roof-mounted clock whose style echoed that of the example which could be found on the car’s dashboard. Buyers opting for this flagship version were required to pay a reasonable premium of around £4500 over the list price of the “standard” Connoisseur.

The MacNeillie-converted Rover 75 Vanden Plas: the extra 200mm incorporated into the rear doors does nothing to upset the car’s graceful lines. In fact, from this angle, one would be hard-pressed to distinguish the car from the standard 75.

The longer rear doors are a little more evident when the car is viewed from behind – but only just.

The already-sumptuous Connoisseur-specification interior was upgraded with a few extra luxury touches, although few of these are visible in this particular shot. The extra legroom afforded by the 200mm stretch can certainly be appreciated, though.

Keith Adams


  1. Could Rover have just redesigned the 75 so that the LWB length became its standard length in order to better compete with the 5-Series class?

  2. I’ve often thought this as well, the “Rover 95”. Then again I thought that adding a hatchback to the “standard 75” might have been easy and allowed the car to become a little more practical for the hatch man 🙂

    • Totally agree Paul Idon’t think they made enough use of the platform. they should have had the saloon, estate, and then hatchback and coupe 75. They would have sold well in my opinion.

  3. They weren’t all petrol V6’s. I have a 2003 MacNeillie Vanden Plas that is a CDT Connoisseur Auto.

  4. Never seen a 75 Vanden Plas, but from the description and images here it looks a very comfortable spacious car. At a glance, the extra length is not that apparent. Just goes to show how it could have been developed into more versions had things not turned out as they did in 2005.

    In my town on Tyneside, there is a 75 driving round that has the full depth square grille but wearing a Roewe badge… unusual combo.

  5. I went to British Car Austions in Bedford to buy a 75 Connoisseur SE 2.5 KV6 The car looked superficially OK and the auction Catalogue made no mention of it being a McNeillie Conversion

    As the Auction progressed and the side of the car became more visible, the stretch rear doors became visible.

    I bought it and ran it for about a year.

    It turned out to be the ex Mayor of Stevenage`s official car.

    Unfortunately for an owner driver it was fairly useless although it did occasionally provoke comments from rear seat passengers.

    Wasnt there a name change with early cars not being referred to as Limousine or Vanden Plas?

    A more interesting car that I should have bought was a 4 inch stretch, left hand drive that was reputed to have been ex Geneva Motor Show and later used by John Towers

    It was obviously a prototype and the door gaps were poor on the rear

    A contractor working at Longbridge after the Chinese takeover had persuaded them to sell it to him!

    One that got away.

    • I can’t vouch that all long-wheelbase examples handled by McNellie & Son wore the Vanden Plas badge, although I certainly can say that the former press demo car registered in 2002 as 2 ROV definitely did. I had the pleasure of driving this Royal Blue example in October 2002 and it felt as nice and special to drive as any Rover 75 does. On the bootlid was a bright-effect ‘Vanden Plas’ badge.

      Therefore early examples definitely were referred to as the Vanden Plas.

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