News : Review – The Rover Story DVD by John Clancy

A few months ago in Warwickshire, Roverfest celebrated 50 years of the Rover V8 engine. John Clancy attended the event and has subsequently produced yet another high quality DVD filmed over a memorable weekend with some stunning cars and in glorious weather.

And it’s just in time for Christmas too!

John Clancy’s The Rover Story is the latest title of his well-respected DVD collection

Rover on the small screen

From the safety bicycle in 1885 to the very last Rover car assembled in 2005, this DVD, which was filmed last summer, traces the turbulent history of our dear-departed Rover company. To help tell the story, many ex-Rover Engineers were interviewed over the Roverfest weekend event. As a result some funny, incredible, historic and emotional anecdotes are shared by some of the key people, who were present at the time.

With Land Rover joining the fold in 1948 and soon making a world-class name for itself, John speaks to some of the men who were directly responsible for the development and testing of products such as the original 1970 Range Rover, Discovery, SD1 not to mention some Engineers who were tasked with shaping up the Buick sourced V8 engine for full-scale Rover production.

There’s also a close up and personal look at the incredible replica of the world’s first jet-powered car – JET1 owned by Alan Buttle.

Some great characters interviewed

This mind-blowing replica and a chat with the owner illustrates the zenith of Rover engineering following the company’s collaboration with Sir Frank Whittle to develop the gas turbine engine during World War 2.

Roverfest took place at the tail end of Summer this year over a weekend of superb weather. It was mainly to celebrate 50 years of the V8, but all kinds of Rovers were proudly on display

The ‘Auntie’ Rover P4 and P5 models are closely looked at along with the later P5B and P6 cars. Peter Wilmer, who was Rover’s Chief Engineer responsible for transmissions, tells us some interesting stories of hot weather European testing which included cooling system development by means of towing heavy trailers up and along the Stevio Pass in Italy.

John Batchelor, who now works with JLR, tells us of his time as a young Rover Group Engineer in his mid-twenties being sent to Japan to work alongside his Honda counterparts. Other later vehicles including the SD1, 800 series and Rover 75 are discussed before well-known historian James Taylor concludes to tell of the final collapse of MG Rover in April 2005.

Inside stories in time for Christmas

The DVD is enhanced by the interviews of many former BL and Rover Engineers, some of whom still work in the industry. Their anecdotes and stories only add to the enjoyment and quality of the DVD

I share my own thoughts on how later Honda-engineered cars such as the R8 200/400 series really changed things around in the dealership compared to the older BL developed vehicles. The later collaboration era with Honda was a truly good time for Rover, I was fortunate enough to work with three different dealers under three different brand owners – in three different departments.

It’s not a ‘nut and bolt’ account of Rover, that would run into many parts, but a very nicely put together DVD lasting 100 minutes that even takes time to talk to Rover owners who visited the two-day event about their cars. The DVD is available from Triumph DVD for £12.95 and, by looking on the extensive website, you can see a preview of the film along with other titles.

It will make a great stocking filler or addition to an enthusiast’s collection… I’ve got mine!

Mike Humble

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