Review : The Real R3 Story

Time can be cruel – well the passage of it can be – but it doesn’t need to be. It’s a quarter of a century since the third-generation Rover 200 (R3) was launched to a largely positive motoring press. Rover Group was riding high, though, and although its model range was largely based on Honda hardware, its combination of advanced engineering and smart styling had really struck a chord. A new 200 was bound to succeed.

We know the outcome – designed as a supermini and priced to compete with larger cars, the 200 never really reached its potential, but it lived a long and fruitful life surviving four owners (from its inception with BAe, BMW, MG Rover and to its final flowering in China under NAC). But never has its story been told painstakingly in print – until now.

The Real R3 Story has been lovingly put together by John Batchelor and Craig Cheetham and does a great job of pulling together some of the most important names in the car’s development and subsequent production. Hear first-hand accounts from David Saddington, the car’s lead Designer, and Denis Chick, who launched the car to the media.

There’s lots to learn in this useful little book – including details of the R3’s predecessor, the SK3, and potential involvement from Honda. John Batchelor says, ‘During the lockdown the Rover 200 & 400 Owners Club has contacted many ex-Rover Group employees and pulled their stories together, tracing the concept, design and development, marketing and launch of the 1995 Rover 200.

‘It is a story that has only been partially known, which the 80-page A5 full-colour booklet now reveals. Many never-seen-before photographs and documents are included. The involvement of Honda in the preceding ‘SK3′ was not publicised at the time for obvious reasons.’

If you’re into the Rover 200 or are interested in how Rover operated in this particularly fertile period in its story, then this nice little book is for you. It costs £10.00 plus P&P.

The Real R3 Story cover


Keith Adams


  1. I ordered this book a week ago and it read it in the space of a couple of hours – I didn’t want to put it down! If you’re interested in Rover Group or specially the R3 200 – this is a must read!

  2. I have to agree with Andrew. I also read the book in one sitting. A compelling and well written account from the people who were there. Lots to learn. We seem to be enjoying a spate of insightful publications right now.

  3. Those who worked on the design and development of the R3 should be proud. They achieved a really desirable and well put together little car. If only circumstances had been different – it could have been a turning point to continued success have Bae and then BMW not bailed out when they did.

  4. Got my copy the other day, and overall a great read, would definitely recommend to fans of the cars or those interested in Rover Group history.
    One piece of feedback I would leave for the writers – get yourself a good sub-editor. As a journalist it really grinds on me to see some really bad writing that could have been easily corrected – it’s sporadic through the book, but shoudln’t be there! Neither should some of the factual errors – Tata never licenced the Rover name to MGR – BMW did. MGR went bust before BMW finally sold the trademark to Ford, who then passed it on in the sale of Jaguar and Landrover to Tata.
    Mistakes can be easily made (by all of us, including me!), it just made this lovely little book feel a little rushed to the finish.

    • Richard… I just noticed your “rare” surname on this post. As you can see, your surname is the same as my Christian name – same spelling too! Good luck

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