Does Heaven wait, all heavenly, over the next horizon?

Kevin Davis 

Rover 200 BRM
Rover 200 BRM

I have owned my Rover 200 BRM for four years now and, in that time, it has never let me down. I wouldn’t say I’m anal about servicing it but I do look under the bonnet at least once a week to check the usual. However, on one particularly misty morning last week it refused to start although, after dousing the HT leads in a healthy dose of WD40, it did eventually do so. 

A quick Google revealed that this is a common problem on 1.8VVC engined cars as the long HT leads break down and the damp really gets in there. The set on the car had covered 26,000 miles so I figured it was time for a new set. 

I took the BRM for the MoT over Christmas and, once again, it passed with just a couple of advisories – the rear tyres are getting low on tread and the exhaust is a bit rusty, but nothing serious. Not bad for a 92,000 mile, 11 year old car…  Anyway, whilst it was up on the ramps, a new set of HT leads was fitted and when I drove it away it was like having a faster, more responsive car – the difference is amazing! Hopefully, I can look forward to another 12 months of trouble free motoring. 

I like the qualities of the BRM in that it’s quirky, light, nimble and easy to drive, goes like stink, has an air of quality about it even after 11 years (that leather interior was built to a standard, not a price) and is very economical. All it has cost me in those four years of ownership is a set of tyres, some brake pads, an exhaust and the usual service items. 

Give me a good reason why I need to spend thousands a new car?

Keith Adams


  1. I like the 200 BRM. I can’t think of any reason to spend thousands on a new car and what would replace it? I think the interior is the best feature over the standard VVC-engined car and I could even live with the orange grille – it gives it a character. Your 200 BRM will, in time, become very collectable so enjoy it and look after it.

  2. I must admit that I am a huge fan of the 200 BRM LE and remember it with much fondness from when I first saw it as a Concept car back in 1997, along with the equally impressive (but ultimately stillborn) 425 V6.

    The 200 BRM LE was a car that definitely showed an inspiring slant on Rover’s heritage in a manner that was forward thinking. I liked nearly everything it offered over the 200Vi derivative and its competition, right down to the orange ‘snout’ and that lovely red leather and silver interior.

    However, if I had had to find fault with it, it would have focused on the ‘BRM’ tailgate moniker being a decal rather than a proper moulded badge, the discontinuation of the front bib spoiler which the Motor Show Concept cars featured and the engine not being tuned over and above that found in the standard 200Vi.

    I remember suggesting to Rover management in 1997 that the production car really ought to have something a bit ‘special’ under the bonnet, as they were comparing the 200 BRM LE with the discontinued Renault Clio Williams, which itself, had used a 2-litre engine lifted from the 19 16-valve.

    Yes, I would definitely buy a 200 BRM LE and spend the money on any maintenance requirements it had rather than paying out the equivalent on a new car.

    The 200 BRM LE is a car that I hope real afficiandos of the Rover marque, whether young or young at heart, will continue to enjoy and preserve for many years to come.

  3. The early prototypes of the 200 BRM were fitted with the T-Series turbo engine but, even then, the Engineers admitted it was far too wayward as a consequence of being so nose heavy.

    I think they made the right choice of engine as, in its day, 150bhp was the going rate for a hot hatch – it’s plenty in the real world irrespective of any fact sheet comparisons.

  4. I’ve seen this car in the metal on Kevin’s driveway. It’s great and, as I said on that occasion, when the time comes contact me if it needs a new home.

  5. I recall that, when the Rover 200 BRM was launched, there was lad writing in Autocar, barely out of short trousers, who fulminated that Rover had no moral right to exploit the BRM name.

    I had been an Autocar reader since the 1950s and so wrote in expressing the view that Rover had a lot more moral right to do this than Haymarket Publishing had to use the Autocar title! Surprise, surprise they didn’t publish the letter!

  6. Kevin’s Rover 200 BRM is a real credit to the owner but I’m wondering if he has taken the precaution of upgrading the cylinder head gasket to the more than adequate MLS type (hopefully unburstable).

    I have just had this done on a Rover 25 1.8 Stepspeed which has only done 16,000 miles. It takes the worry out of a potentially messy situation inside that great 1.8 Twin Cam.

    Best wishes and I’m sure the Rover 200 BRM will appreciate accordingly.

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