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.