Rover 2000 TC
rather staid and traditional image took a knock in the mid-1950s when the
factory entered teams of their 3-litres in such blood and thunder events as the
Marathon de la Route and the East African Safari. So it was not
sursprising that the much lighter and faster 2000 would end up with its nave
plates off and numbers on the doors. Yet Rover really put their rally experience
to a rather back-to-front use, for the company had retired from competition
before the 2000 TC was even announced. The plain fact of the matter is that the
2000 TC is the rally car, and that the miles of rough roads, extremes of
temperature and general battering were mainly research being carried out while
keeping the firmīs name in the news.
The TC stands
for twin carburettors, but a great deal more has been done to the engine in
order to increase its power output, which now stands at 114 bhp net at 5.500
rpm., compared with the standars carīs 90 bhp at 5.000 rpm. The bore and stroke
remain unaltered, but the compression ratio is raised from 9.0 to 10.0 to 1. The
engine uses a flat Heron cylinder head, with the combustion chambers in the
crowns of the pistons and integral cast-in induction manifolding. A complete new
head with four separate inlet ports is therefore fitted, and a modified
camshaft. The mixture is supplied by two HD8 (2in.dia.) SU carburettors and fed
through a bolt-on manifold; the carburettors are very flexibly mounted, with
O-rings and a spring support. Exhaust is carried away through a four-branch
manifold, which then merges into a two-branch pipe and finally a large-bore
single pipe at the rear of the engine.
As this is a
car which is likely to be driven pretty hard, an oil cooler is standard, built
into the lower part of the water radiator; no oil temperature gauge is fitted.
In all other
respects the 2000 TC is mechanically identical with the standard 2000, right
down to the gearbox ratios and the braking system. The rather flamboyant colour
schemes and fancy chrome-plated wheels are reserved for the United States
market. On the normal cars, the only external recognition points are the "TC"
badges on the bonnet, boot and on each front wing. Inside, a Smiths 7.000 rpm
rev counter is fitted in a small panel alongside the clock on the wide central
shelf. A rather unneccessary TC badge is also seen on the front loudspeaker
grille, looking somewhat out of place in the otherwise restrained interior.
There is no hint of "competition" about the 2000 TC engine when starting. The
choke, with a pull-out control to one side of the radio speaker, needs to be set
at about half distance and a warning lamp lights when the engine has warmed up
sufficiently for the choke to be pushed in, a traditional Rover fitting.
torque - 126ft.lb. - being developed at 3.500 rpm, the 4-cylinder engine has to
be worked hard to get the best from it. It cannot be said that the engine is
either smooth, or at high revs, very quiet; our main criticism, however, must be
aimed at the gearchange, which is very much out of keeping with the carīs
otherwise light controls. Part of the blame can be put on the tiny lever, which
gives very little purchase; changes are heavy and notchy and quite often the
lever needs a hefty shove to get it into place. This is not helped by a heavy
clutch movement, and driving the car in the London rush hour became somewhat
It is on the
open road that the 2000 TC comes into its own, when the engine can get to work
and constant gearchanges are not being made. One seems in complete control of
the car, with light yet progressively powerful brakes, precise and responsive
steering and superb grip from the Pirelli Cinturato tyres.
The car did,
on certain surfaces, get a curious, but slight, rear end "shimmy"; at first we
put this down to wrong tyre pressures but, after these were checked, it was
found to be a movement of the semi-de Dion rear suspension. Although rather
disturbing for the driver, until he gets used to it, it makes no apparent
difference to the carīs stability, which is excellent at all times. When
cornering fast, the body leans very noticeably, but this effect helps the driver
in judging the forces generated.
With the high
compression ratio, Super premium fuel is needed. However, some of the increase
in price is made up for by the improvement in consumption, the TC managing 25.1
mpg compared with the slower single-carburettor car, which returned 24.0 mpg.
The fuel tank holds 12 gallons, of which 1 1/4 gallons are held in a reserve
operated by a lever matching the choke on the central console. The oil level
never dropped during our 1.500-mile test.
It does not
take long to appreciate the superb layout and quality of the Rover. There is
ample leg room in both the front and rear; this is one of the few cars with
individually shaped rear seats, with proper location for all the passengers. A
lot of extra performance is provided by the engine changes, which enable the
truly fine roadholding of the 2000 to be enjoyed even more than with the single
carburettor version. This addition to the range should be the answer for all
those Rover 2000 enthusiasts anxious for better acceleration.
0-60 mph 11.9
top speed 107
consumption 25.1 mpg
Autocar / UK