Wow! A personal blog from me after a long break!
As always I am grateful to the team at aronline.co.uk for this one!
Many readers here will know the rough story of Rover cars. Their real heyday in my opinion was the mid 80’s to mid 90’s. They made some cracking cars then such as the 200, 600 and my personal favourite the 800. Sold by British Aerospace to BMW and then sold by BMW to a management team comprising a number of people with strong links to the firm which then folded in 2005 and thus was really no more. The DTI published a big report (just over 800 pages) which was fairly damming.
So lets move swiftly on. The Rover 75 was designed to replace two very excellent cars, the Rover 600 and the Rover 800 and was launched under BMW ownership. See this where I think it went wrong. You see the Rover 600 and the Rover 800 were good enough to challenge the BMW 3 Series and the BMW 5 series. Thus were a serious contender and competitor to the respective BMW’s if you were a person who a) wanted to be let out of side roads and b) uses indicators!
I believe that BMW were scared of this fact and perhaps didn’t allow Rover to develop the car to its full potential and thus kept a potential competitor at bay.
I remember about 2001/2002 taking a test drive in a Rover 75 (actually an MG ZT) as my company Ford was up for renewal. I remember a nice comfortable, competent car. I do not remember an amazing car. A car I would be happy having parked in my drive or in my company parking space. Indeed a car that would have more than coped with some of my 1,000 mile plus a week capers to visit clients and partners up and down the country. To be fair the real reason I didn’t plump for the Rover was my local dealer of the time. I didn’t trust them! Anyway I bought a competitor vehicle instead.
I had moved house by the time of the MG Rover collapse in 2005 and I had a bit of spare cash then. I was hoping that there would be a bit of a “fire sale” but this never materialised. I wish that at some point I was able to have completed a purchase.
There are dwindling numbers of these left on the roads now which is a shame.
To me this was always a good car, it was never an amazing car in the same way that the Rover 800 was. I have so many fond memories of the Rover 800 and I have written about these cars here.
To think what could have been though. I remain convinced that the Rover 75/MG ZT could have been amazing, a few tweaks here, a few tweaks there, these could have turned a good car into a great car. Would it have outpaced the Rover 800 in my affections? Maybe, Maybe Not. We will never know! Would a tweaked car have kept the wolf from the door of the collapse of MG Rover. Difficult one. I doubt it alone would have saved them but it might have helped slow things down or possibly be a part of a turnaround.
So there we have it.