Car of the Month : April 2007

We all know that the Rover 800 Coupé was one of the least understood models produced by the company in its brief revival of fortunes in the early 1990s.

It never really fulfilled its sales targets, and seemed to be developed into a great all-round package too late into its lifespan. Today, really good examples of the breed are becoming harder to find – but they are around, as this near-100,000 mile example owned by former CoTM winner Mark Baxter clearly demonstrates…

Pictures: Mark Baxter

Woodcote wonder

Looks good in front of the country manor…

THE Rover 800 Coupé is a perennial website kind of car – its appeal isn’t universal, far too few people understand it, and there’s a hell of a lot of style for your money. We’ve been all around Europe in them, turned heads in some of the most exclusive places, and got down and dirty trying to sort out all the niggles one gets with middle-aged examples. So, we obviously need little excuse to parade one as the site’s Car of The Month…

Although most enthusiasts regard the Honda powered 2.7-litre versions as the best in day-to-day service, and the Vitesse Turbo as the superior driver’s car, there’s a lot to be said for the underrated and little-trusted 2.5-litre KV6-powered version. For one, it sounds fantastic, and when it’s running right, you’ll enjoy a premium motoring experience, with that essential addition of British class.

It has to be said that these cars look stunning in Woodcote Green, and Rover enthusiast Mark Baxter is pleased to have bagged his in this spec. He’s passionate about this one, too – despite also owning a fleet that includes a ZT V8, Rover 75 V8 and a Range Rover. “I have owned this car since 2002 when I bought it direct from MGR as an ex Personal Contract Plan (PCP) car,” he said.

The best view of Mark Baxter’s Rover 800? Not really… they all are.

Beige leather and green carpet is an unusual, yet striking interior colour combination.

Being in the trade has its advantages, and it means Mark often gets the chance to buy some of the best cars before they ever see the light of day on the forecourt, although this one caught his eye long before he actually got hold of the car himself. “I have known the car since about 1998 when I bought the car directly from its first owner, a doctor, in my capacity as Group Buyer for SMC. We sold it on again twice more before I bought the car myself.

“I am the fourth owner on the V5,” Mark continued, “Since 2002 it has only really been used as a spare car until about 18 months ago when my wife used the car daily for about six months, until a Rover 600 arrived, as it was more suitable as it was four doors! Since last October it has been laid up in my garage and not used at all.”

As Mark’s discovered, the 800 Coupé is one of those cars that one you’ve had, you’ll never want to be without. “I can’t really bear to part with it as it is a lovely car and its value surely can only rise – as I guess it’s only woth shirt-buttons now… The car itself is pretty mint and with only a few pin dents and stone chips to suggest its 98,000 miles. The number plate was not on the car when I bought it, but suits the car well and another reason to hang on to it…”

We couldn’t agree more…

Keith Adams

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