eBay find of the Week : 22k Rover 216 Vitesse

Craig Cheetham

A rarity indeed these days...
A rarity indeed these days…

If it weren’t for time, space and money, I’d have probably bought at least 50 cars already this year (I also say that every year, but hey). Irrespective of that, this one’s a bit special.

According to howmanyleft.co.uk, there were only 18 Rover 216 Vitesse EFis still registered in the UK by the end of 2014, of which only four were still licensed. A rare beast indeed, made all the more scarce by the fact that this white example appears to be pretty much rot free.

SD3 interior defines the Eighties!
SD3 interior defines the Eighties!

With just 22k on the clock from new, a full service history and great bodywork and interior, at £1,495 I can’t help but think this is a bit of a bargain – even if it doesn’t currently have an MoT – though I do often wonder why some sellers don’t bother, as by putting a new ticket on the thing, you’d open it up to a much wider audience…

Vitesse bodywork looks rot-free
Vitesse bodywork looks rot-free

Anyway, can somebody please go here and buy it, because, now that the AROnline Project Maestro is currently adorning the driveway, I’m pretty sure another Austin-Rover car purchase could well be a catalyst for divorce in the Cheetham household…


Craig Cheetham


  1. I had one of those, new. It was, without doubt, the worst new car I have ever had! It took understeer to a new level, and was just noisy and uncomfortable. Good luck with it, though, Craig. It certainly scores some points for interestingness. And rarity.

  2. “SD3 interior defines the Eighties” – Good God! It was that long ago wasn’t it.

    The 216 Vitesse really did give the SD3 a feel of compact exec. The revisions on this facelift version also added significantly to the quality, luxury feel.

    Certainly had appeal.

    I imagine, today, it would be quite a talking point with many onlookers.

  3. Come on come clean over this – the business sellers name ‘LEE CHEETHAM’!

    Yes, always seems a little ridiculous selling a car without an MOT whilst claiming to be in good condition. Without trade plates you have to add transportation costs and personally I conclude that it requires money to get it through an MOT.

    • Ha ha – I never even noticed that. Ironically, it’s in the next village to where I grew up, too – but the guy’s no relation. At least not that I’m aware of. If he was, his brother/cousin/uncle (delete as appropriate) would have made sure he put an MoT on it 🙂

      • It wasn’t a bad thing. Not a Rover in a P6 sort of way, no. The SD3 was, however, a smaller car which was a cut above your typical Ford, Vauxhall. For a brief time, this modern direction for Rover was working. It still could be…

  4. Gavin Kersahw the Lotus ride and handling guru/test driver had one of these when he was an apprentice.

    Not relevant but hey ho

    Rare survivor, can’t remember the last time I saw one

    The thinking man’s Orion Ghia injection…

    • The thinking man’s Orion Injection Ghia was indeed the Orion Injection Ghia… possibly one of the very few FWD Fords of that era I would invest my poppy into.

  5. Well, two weeks ago I did indeed raise a glass and celebrated 30 years of the launch of the 1.6-litre powered SD3 Rover 200s, especially the 216 Vitesse EFi. I always had a soft spot for these raucous little beasts, even if they could not live up to the drama of the SD1 Vitesse.

    This one is an interesting curiosity as that particularly spec (i.e. black side and bumper running strips and a chrome insert) were discontinued in September 1988. For the 1989 Model Year all examples featured colour-coded side rubbing strips and corresponding bumper infill with a red insert (black for a Flame Red example). I am guessing this one was stored for approximately a year before being registered.

    Please – someone buy it, give it a good home and bring it to PoL so that we can all drool over it.

  6. I had one in white. One of the cars I look back on as being great. The fuel injected S series engine was small at lower revs and fairly torquey. Just didn’t have enough rubber on the road for me. Too easy to skate around.

  7. I always liked the 216 Vitesse. A friend had one as his company car. I think it was the only 200 series model that got alloy wheels as standard back then.

    I agree with David Dawson – the 200 series were a cut above an equivalent Escort or Astra at that time. Although as mentioned here, the Orion Ghia injection was a chief competitor. Doesn’t seem like 30 years since the 216 was launched!

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