Our Cars : Alexander’s Rover 400 Tourer – Happy 25th birthday!

Time flies! It might be more than four years ago that I reported the completed repair of our Rover Tourer after its accident, but I’m remembering a happier occasion. Yes, 25 years ago today, a proud new owner left the showroom in this car, which is now the youngest in our BMC>MGR car collection.

Happy Birthday, little Rover!

To commemorate the day, the Tourer received a good bath and polish. Now deep into retirement age, it needed some care in the run-up to its silver jubilee. This included a little surgery on both sills, followed by a local respray. Mileage has increased only moderately to roughly 307,000 kms – not that far from 200,000 miles.

It’s ageing gracefully, don’t you think?

Yes, there is some (well, in fact, all) clear coat missing from the roof, but the general appearance backs up the driving experience. It never ceases to amaze me, how fresh the car feels, despite its age and mileage. Hardly any creaks and rattles, no worn surfaces on dash and doors, everything works as intended. Yes, the head gasket needed replacing last year, but while at it, the internals of the cylinders looked in excellent shape. It seems fit for many more years on the road.

Back when new, the small update to interior and K-Series engine might not have felt sufficient to keep the ageing Rover R8 looking fresh next to the little brother, the newly launched R3. Now, with 25 years distance, it does not matter anymore if it looked slightly dated when new.

All that matters now is the great design thanks to Roy Axe, Richard Woolley, Gerry McGovern, Honda and a host of others’ brilliant basic shape. And the longevity of the underlying mechanics and the quality of trim and fittings – here the Tourer really shines. A definite high point in Rover’s history and that includes the often criticised K-Series engine – which proves often enough, that the basic design is actually quite sound and hard wearing.

Five more years and it will qualify for classic status here in Germany. To us, it already is one.

Alexander Boucke


  1. A great condition car that belies its age and mileage. The Rover 200/400 R8 series were appealing cars in their day and the Tourer was (is) an excellent load carrier. Always rare on UK roads…

    • As a load carrier the Montego was a vastly better car. Just not as stylish or as well made – we had both in the family. But the Tourer’s load space is a useful improvement over the 5-door hatchback. New pricing, quite ambitiously aiming more at 3 series or Mondeo than VW Golf, made them extremely rare here when new. Now only about 30 Tourers are known at the registration office’s database in Germany.

  2. Thanks Alexander. My company had 2 Montego Estates (the second was a 1990 1.6LX and as you say it had good load space). Build quality on later Montys was better too. The R8 series take me back to happier motoring times.

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