Events : 100 years of Rover cars

The Rover Sports Register is the oldest and arguably the best Rover car club out there, and it only seemed fitting for it to host the event celebrating the centenary of the marque.

A wide variety of enthusiast-owned Rovers made the trek to Ragley Hall. MG Rover ensured some of its own collection was present: (left to right: 1904 Rover 8HP, Rover P3 75, Rover P5B, Rover 75 V8).

It seemed a perfect location to celebrate Rover’s 100th birthday. Ragley Hall, located near Alcester is suitably grand and it is surrounded by acres of rolling fields. One such field was reserved for a display of Rover cars, which the Rover Sports Register hoped would include an example of every car produced and sold by the company during its long history.

It has to be said that the turn-out for the event will have exceeded the expectations of the organizers, as from the 10:00 O’clock opening of the gates, a constant stream of Rovers entered Ragley Hall’s grounds until well after lunchtime.

Standing at the gates was a pleasurable experience for anyone with petrol in their veins, because the sound of V8 after V8 passing by was sheer music. At one point a four P5Bs came in line astern, and the deep melodious rumble of their engines burbling together raised the little hairs on the back of my neck. I don’t know why, but it seems as though the ex-Buick V8 lump sounds its best when bolted into the old bruiser P5…

After the P5s, the sheer number of P6s was a joy to behold. It was difficult to know where to look, and it took a great deal of time to drink them all in…

As I attested to in a recent blog, things did seem to go awry with the newer cars. OK, the current range of cars was well ordered, as 75s nestled up with facelift 45s – all next door to MG Rover’s own temporary showroom, but the 70s, 80s and 90s were, simply, a mess. According to those in the know, the Rover Sports Regsister simply didn’t expect to see such a large number of this type of car, which I guess is a very positive sign.

But even so, it seemed slightly silly to lump in the SD1 with the plethora of Ro-ndas there, given their differing style and engineering. If anything, the SD1s would have been more at home parked with the P6s (assuming their owners didn’t mind being upstaged). As I said before, it was only a small gripe, and it in no way detracted from my enjoyment of the show.

It was refreshing to see such a wide range of ages (Rovers are not quite the old mans’ car the media like to portray) and everyone seemed to be happy to mingle between each others’ cars.

On a personal level, I definitely took the wrong car with me, chosing my Vitesse Sport Coupe. Not because it wasn’t shiny enough (it was) or because it didn’t attract enough attention (it did), but because there was a surprising number of 800 Coupes there. I had every intention of taking my SD1, but decided against at the last second because I thought there would be more series 1 SD1s there than 800 Coupes. How wrong I was. In the end, there was only one SD1 series 1; Tim Leech’s adorable Midas gold V8S, which was high on my list of cars of the show…


The Belgians are coming: two immacule series 2s made the trip from Europe…

…as did this immaculate XX Sterling. How anyone cannot rate these, I just don’t know.

SD1 Vitesse: now why wasn’t AUTOCAR’s like this?

Concours winning 75, sporting an interesting wheel option.

Concours winning Vanden Plas: the cleanest I have ever seen… yet.

Personal favourite: V8S manual. Owner Tim Leech won’t sell it, sadly.

Thanks to everyone who took time out to help me make this page possible…

Keith Adams

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