Spent the weekend behind the wheel of another Rover V8…
Again, I came away from the experience impressed and frustrated in equal measure. For one, it has reaffirmed my lingering love affair with these old school bruisers. The Rover version has a perfect chassis set-up – compliant in ride, firm in damping and smothering surface imperfections with disdainful ease. Not only that, but it’s so at home on the motorway, you could almost believe that the car was built solely for the purpose of traversing the UK’s six-lane blacktop.
Of course, there’s a lot more to the Rover 75 V8 than a commanding motorway performance, but because of a short weekend, pressing schedules and the need to be at the first meeting of the Rover 75 and MG ZT Owners Club meeting, this kind of motoring dominated our time together. I’m still amazed at how well this car hangs together – it feels as though the R40 was designed to be this way right from the beginning, when we know that is a million miles away from the truth… I guess its astonishing ability is a testament to the heart and passion of the hard-working engineers behind it. It’s just a shame that we’ll probably not see this platform serving any further purpose in the future…
So if I was so impressed, why the frustration?
Simple – the autobox doesn’t suit my driving style, and I came away feeling that the package was slightly compromised by the slightly lethargic nature of the set-up. It’s an old-school slushbox, with slurred changes, and plenty of slippage – and to me, that means loss of efficiency. Yes, this car takes off like a rocket, and has huge reserves of mid-range power, but deep down, I know it can do so much more when hanging off the Tremec five-speed manual ‘box.
So, I guess my V8 of choice would be the MG ZT 260 V8.
Well actually, my ideal choice would be a manual Rover Vitesse version – but they didn’t make that.
Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...
Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.
Latest posts by Keith Adams (see all)
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