Cost of a Rover 2000

50.000 miles at just over sixpence each

Its a truism these days that the cost of living goes up and up. But does it? Not if you own a Rover 2000. These first 50.000 miles have cost me almost exactly the same amount as the first 50.000 miles in my old Rover 75 in 1952-54. The two cars make a very interesting comparison. First, then, the fuel bill, the biggest item in running any car.

Petrol

The 75 started off by averaging 25 mpg, but this figure improved steadily, reaching 30 mpg at 50.000 miles. (It went on to reach 32 mpg at 95.000 miles, and thereafter stayed at this figure.) The 2000 started at 37 mpg, and is now averaging 40 mpg, or a little less.

It will be obvious from these figures that I drive for best economy. In favour steady acceleration and braking, and furthermore, I do a good proportion of long runs, and these also helps the figures. But even so, this is a remarkable performance for a 2000.

In 1952-54, petrol cost about 4s 6d per gallon, but in the past two years (using the cheaper types, but still 95 Octane), it has averaged about 5s, an increase of 11 per cent. In spite of this, my petrol bill has decreased from an average of about 7 per thousand miles, to 6 5s 0d per thousand.

There is another factor to be taken into account here. The 75 had a free wheel. This saved me 4 mpg, and without it, the 75s performance would have been 28 mpg, and not 32 mpg. This 2000 hasnt got one, of course, and this makes its average of 40 mpg even more remarkable.

Routine Maintenance

The second biggest item in running a car is what I call Routine Maintenance, which includes virtually everything except the "static" items.

For the 75, the figure for the first 50.000 miles came to 208, which includes five new tyres at 41, and two de-cokes at a total of 60. For the 2000, the figure is 147 (four new tyres and no de-cokes). With regard to these de-cokes, it must be remembered that in 1952-54 we still had "Pool" petrol, which made de-cokes necessary more often.

In each case, a new set of tyres was necessary. On the 75, the original Dunlops lasted 25.000 miles and were replaced by Goodyear Eagles, which lasted 31.000 miles. The latter were more expensive, but the cost per mile was almost exactly the same for both makes.

On the 2000, the original Pirelli Cinturato lasted 29.000 miles and the Dunlop tubeless are beginning to went replacement now at the 55.000 mark.

Brakes were re-lined on the 75 at 38.000, and on the 2000, the front brake pads were replaced at 22.000, and all of them at 40.000 miles.

On neither car was a new battery necessary.

On the 75, the first silencer replacement came at 74.000 miles, but on the 2000, part of it was replaced at 26.000 and the rest at 54.000 miles.

Routine items on the 2000 which were not necessary on the 75 include the replacement of the Hardy-Spicer units (propeller shaft couplings) and welding the shock-absorber housing back into place.

Repairs

On the 75, the repair bill came to the almost unbelievable figure of 6 8s 9d for the first three years (67.000 miles). The 2000 has been more expensive, the total being nothing in the first year, 28 14s 6d during the second (this included the Hardy-Spicer units and part of the silencer), and 16 16s 7d in the past six months (including a new clutch cylinder and brake pipe).

This gives a total of 45 11s 1d for the 2000 compared with 6 8s 9d for the 75.

Static Items

These include taxation (up from 12 10s to 17 10s), licence (down from 7s 6d to 5s), and garage charges, which are an estimated 10 per year - this being a purely nominal figure.

Other static items include insurance, up from 23 a year to 40, depreciation - rather less for the 2000 which has a high re-sale value, and loss of interest on the capital expenditure. In 1952-54 this was about 37 a year, but in these days of dear money, is now nearer 60.

Total costs (50.000 miles)

  75 2000
Petrol 363 300
Routine Maintenance 208 147
Repairs 6 46
Static Items 907 819
  1.484 1.312

 

But some of this comparison is not fair. For instance, the "dear" money policy is costing the 2000 23 a year more and has nothing to do with the actual merits of the cars. Nor has depreciation, nor the rise in insurance. If these items are left out we have:

75      577

2000  493

But even these figures do not give the complete picture. For one thing, they dont take into account the two de-cokes which were necessary on the 75 because of inferior petrol, and which cost the 75 20. Nor do they take into account the advance in engine technique, which make oil changes necessary only every 5.000 miles for the 2000, as against 3.000 for the 75. The increase in the cost of living is also left out. Servicing the 75 at 3.000-mile intervals cost about 3; whereas the 5.000 mile services for the 2000 are costing 8, an increase of 50 per cent. This amount off the running costs of the 2000 would, by itself, reduce the amount from 493 to about 340.

But even without taking into account all these various factors, the actual cost of running the 2000 is now 1.312 per 50.000 miles (or 6.3d per mile), compared with 1.484 per 50.000 for the 75 (7.1d per mile). This is, surely, a very remarkable fact.

 

Performance

 

There have been tens of thousands of words written about the performance of the 2000 by men who are far better qualified to assess it than I am, and it is not the object of this article to add to them. But comparing the 2000 with my old 75, there is an enormous improvement in almost every way. Engine power, acceleration, comfort, safety, springing, roadholding, visibility, and economy are all vastly better. The car, in fact, is a radical departure from former Rover models, and may be said to be a real attempt to design the "ideal car" for the average man. Advanced engineering is introduced in the form of an overhead camshaft engine, de Dion rear suspension, and disc brakes, and an entirely new and original body. And this is still Rover quality.

 

Quality

 

From the foregoing, the quality of the engine will be obvious. What of the bodywork? Well, so far, there is hardly a squeak or rattle anywhere; there is practically no rust on the chromium, the stainless steel, or the bodywork. The leather seats look almost as good as new.

 

General

 

The average man, I think, looks for six things when he is buying a car (consciously or unconsciously), reliability, economy, safety, comfort, easy maintenance and speed. I would put these items in this order of importance, but the order would, of course, vary with the individual concerned. But almost everyone, surely, would regard these six items at the head of the list.

 

As for reliability, never once has either car let me down on the road. Never has either been reluctant to start, even in the coldest weather.

 

Economy; some time ago, the RAC gave 1s a mile as the average cost for the average car. Both my Rovers have averaged half this figure for the first two years of their lives, and the 75 averaged 6d per mile over 13 years and 300.000 miles.

 

Safety; this reaches a high standard in the 2000. The passengers sit in a steel box, with solid girders before and behind them. Not for nothing is the 2000 acknowledged as one of the safest cars built.

 

Comfort; there is plenty of room for four adults, and the seats are almost as good as arm-chairs. Springing is excellent, there is little roll at corners, and ventilation is first-class. The car is very quiet and easy to drive.

 

Maintenance; easy. One has to remember to look at the tyre pressures, and fill up with petrol now and again (but only at intervals of about 480 miles), and this is about all. The garage takes care of everything else at the 5.000-mile services.

 

Speed; top speed is 105 mph, and I think the acceleration is terrific. This compares with a top speed of 84 mph with the 75. When I first had her in 1952, her acceleration was good. But after 13 years it was very much below average. This was not because of any deterioration in the performance of the car (which was as good as ever), but due to the immense increase in power of every other car. Engine improvement has come a long way since 1952.

 

Now, I have lively competitive performance again with my new 2000.

 

I travelled 300.000 miles in the 75, without any major overhauls, and with the same engine, and I was very reluctant to sell her even then. I was sure that my next Rover would not be as good. But I was wrong. The 2000 has a very much better performance, is even more comfortable, and is also cheaper to run. Could one ask more?

 

Autocar / UK January 1968

 

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