News : Unseen Rover videos go online

An exciting new stash of videos produced by Rover Group’s Marketing Department – many unseen for years – has been unearthed, and they’re being digitised to be made available online to view for free.

The videos are being hosted on the YouTube channel (below) of The Austin Rover/Rover Group alumni – a group to help former employees keep in touch with each other. The recently-launched channel is showcasing a large number of internal or launch videos from the 1980s and ’90s. There are also some rare and some unseen TV commercials.

Most of the latest videos were in a hoard of more than 130 VHS cassettes from Rover Group’s Marketing Department that were stored in a Leamington lock-up for 20 years. They were put in storage when the department moved out of Ivy Cottage on the Canley site and its new building, Conoco House in Warwick, didn’t have the space to keep them.

They mainly cover Rover, Mini, Land Rover and MG in the 1990s but with a lot of earlier content pulled together to explain the brands to the BMW Group following the takeover. The first group of videos includes launch videos for the Rover Metro, the Land Rover Freelander and the Rover 75.

The Austin Rover/Rover Group alumni, which largely runs on LinkedIn, was started by John Batchelor, an employee at both Austin Rover and Rover Group, during one of the COVID-19 Lockdowns. It built upon the network started by Nick Seale and Denis Chick from their Canley days, but it was John who took it online.

He said: ‘There are now more than 300 people in the group which held its second meeting at the British Motor Museum in July (above). This grew out of a smaller group of people who had worked together on the R3 Rover 200 to produce the book ‘The Real R3 Story – written by those who were there‘, and it is hoped that this bigger group will be able to write more product-based stories soon.

‘More videos will continue to be added and it will be very interesting to see what else has been saved by ex-employees.’

Keith Adams

4 Comments

  1. Looking at the cassette boxes and images, i would say these were produced on the Hi Band Umatic & Betacam SP video formats. The programme New Beginnings paints a very buoyant image of the company back then (late 80s / early 90s). Looked impressive – a shame it all went wrong after year 2000.

    • I think it all started coming off the rails from 1983 when first the Maestro and then the Montego consecutively failed in the market place. Two products that really didn’t live up to expectation. These cars were Austin Rovers last roll of the dice and with no more public money forthcoming this was the end as an independent volume car manufacturer. The dream was over and the future appeared to be as a vassal enterprise of Honda. Subsequent events in this ongoing roller-coaster meant that even that ultimately derailed resulting in the total closure of the company. What a tragedy and what a national shame.

  2. This is fantastic news and I’m glad this sort of archive material is now being digitised so that others get to appreciate it. I look forward to seeing more saved footage as and when it becomes available, not to mention reading some of the product-based stories, for these individuals will all have some rich and in-depth insider knowledge to better inform us.

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