Its been almost thirteen years since to collapse of MG Rover, and it still sparks debate and emotion. The love for the brand is incredibly strong and passionate and I think this 100 minute extravaganza portrays this well.
If you like some serious nostalgia or merely looking for a present for a petrol headed British car enthusiast, then respected film maker John Clancy has produced a DVD that looks back at one of the great names in automotive engineering… Rover.
From the safety bicycle in 1885 to the very last Rover car assembled in 2005, this DVD filmed in summer 2017 traces the turbulent history of the long departed Rover company. To help tell the story, many ex-Rover engineers were interviewed over the Roverfest weekend event. As a result some funny, incredible, historic and emotional anecdotes are shared by some key people who were present at the time.
Forget about the dying MG Rover company of recent times. Up until the formation of British Leyland, Rover was seen as a forward thinking and technically advanced company. Their reputation was intact, not just in Britain, but the world over and had the company not been swallowed up into the worlds 5th biggest vehicle maker – British Leyand who knows how events would have panned out.
With Land Rover coming to fruition in 1948 and soon making a world class name for itself, John speaks to some of the men who were directly responsible for the development and testing of products such as the original 1970 Range Rover and Land Rover Discovery not to mention some engineers who were tasked with shaping up the Buick sourced V8 engine for full scale Rover production.
There’s also a close up and personal look at the incredible replica of the worlds first jet powered car – JET1 owned by Alan Buttle. This mind blowing replica and a chat with the owner illustrates the zenith of Rover engineering following the companies collaboration with Sir Frank Whittle to develop the gas turbine engine during World War 2.
The “Auntie” Rover P4 and P5 models are closely looked at along with the later P5B and P6 cars. Peter Wilmer who was Rovers chief engineer responsible for transmissions tells us some interesting stories of hot weather European testing which included cooling system development by means of towing heavy trailers up and along the Stevio Pass in Italy.
John Batchelor who now works with JLR, tells us of his time as a young Rover Group engineer in his mid twenties being sent to Japan to work alongside his Honda counterparts. Other later vehicles including the SD1, 800 series and Rover 75 are discussed before well known historian James Taylor concludes to tell of the final collapse of MG Rover in April 2005.
I share my own thoughts on how later Honda engineered cars such as the R8 200/400 series really changed things around in the dealership compared to the older BL developed vehicles. The later collaboration era with Honda were truly good times for Rover, I was fortunate enough to work with three different dealers under three different brand owners – in three different departments.
Its not a “nut and bolt” account of Rover, that would run into many parts, but a very nicely put together DVD lasting 100 minutes that even takes time to talk to Rover owners about their cars who visited the two day event. The DVD is available from Triumph DVD for £12.95 and by looking on the extensive website you can see a preview of the film along with other titles.
It will make a great stocking filler or addition to an enthusiast collection… I’ve got mine!