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