Rover motoring for the
dignified and silent motoring has alwys been a hallmark of Rover cars. But
coupled to this aura of plush comfort has been a gentlemanly rate of
progress geared more to the leisurely pace of living of 30 or 40 years ago
than to the jet set do-it-now mood of today. It΄s doubtful that the Rover
company (now part of the giant British Leyland Motor Corporation) has ever
received many owner complaints about lack of power in any of its models,
but as a concession to modern trends, it was decided in 1967 to do
something about updating the traditional olde-world Rover image.
updating took the form of a lightweight 3.5 litre V8 engine developed by
General Motors of America, but scrapped because it was too expensive.
However, the Rover Company decided that it was in a position to do
something about absorbing the extra cost involved in producing the
all-alloy V8 and subsequently bought all manufacturing rights from the
engine first appeared in the Rover 3.5 and being both lighter and more
powerful than the previous in-line cast iron six, it provided instant
benefits in both performance and handling.
although the smooth, free-revving powerplant made all the difference to
the big and bulky top-dog Rover, it was not until it was slotted into the
sleek, up-to-date body of the 2000 that its true benefits were to be
appreciated. Claimed to be identical in weight to the straight four
powerplant of the 2000, the V8 has the sort of torque and power required
for today΄s motoring conditions.
the solid Rover bodywork along in effortless fashion, yet does not upset
the balance of the car to any great degree. All the traditional dignity is
still there, but the gentle push in the back and the swiftly moving
horizontal speedometer ribbon indicate that this is Rover motoring for the
Warner three speed automatic is the only transmission available in the
Three Thousand Five, but apparently the company at one time was toying
with the idea of a manual five speed ZF box, an idea which sadly seems to
have been rejected.
the Borg Warner unit is competently handled by the motor΄s 184 bhp and its
226 ft./lb. of torque, the only noticeable point where any power is lost
being during initial acceleration.
comparison with some of the larger-capacity V8-powered cars around today,
the Rover retains a certain amount of dignity when getting off the line
and there is simply no technique known which can be used to induce
wheelspin. The car simply gathers pace at an ever-increasing rate,
swallowing up the bitumen in deceptively rapid fashion. No road noise,
virtually no wind noise only a deep muted growl from the engine
compartment to give any indication of just how fast the car is travelling.
It is in
this department that the Three Thousand Five comes out in front of both
the 2000 SC and its slightly hotter stablemate, the 2000 TC.
ground is lost in handling and roadholding, but the extra poke makes the
V8-engined car faster from point to point.
2000, it is an understeering car, but the characteristic is more
pronounced, tending to be magnified by the low-geared steering. Steering
action is light enough, even at parking speeds, to warrant a slightly
smaller rim (the wheel currently used is enormous by modern standards) and
such a move would be a decided improvement. Notwithstanding, the 3500 has
both handling and roadholding of standards that would put most
similarly-sized cars to shame.
imported Avon radials, our test car pounded through fast corners with the
feeling of security that comes from well-designed and properly-balanced
suspension. Body lean was quite noticeable from outside the car but the
superbly shaped seats held passengers securely in place. As cornering
speeds increased, so too did the understeer, there being virtually nothing
that could be done as a counter-measure.
tha car is set up to respond predictably to the equally predictable panic
reactions of the slow-reflexed middle aged drivers to whom most 3500 sales
will go. The good thing about the car΄s behaviour under extreme conditions
is that it doesn΄t develop any of those nasty traits which tend to get so
many drivers into trouble.
from the slight loss in handling finesse, the car feels virtually the same
as its smaller-engined brother. Brakes, for instance, are the same
excellent all-disc setup, with those at the rear mounted inboard to reduce
unsprung weight and to improve cooling.
arrangements are identical, with firm, but well-shaped buckets at both
front and rear and the front backrests are designed to collapse backwards
in the event of the car being hit from behind.
giveaways on the instrument panel are the 140 mph speedometer and the V8
insignia on the central radio speaker grille.
switches are mounted so they can be reached without fumbling ans despite
their seeming complexity it is quite easy to familiarize oneself with the
the 2000, the 3500 boasts full-flow ventilation, air being vented into the
interior through slots on the leading edge of the dashboard and extracted
through hidden vents in the rear quarter panel.
selecter lever for the automatic transmission is located on a central
floor console which, shamefully, is not illuminated at night. It is
designed to allow the driver to shift gears manually or to provide fully
automatic operation. Position 1 selects and holds first ratio, position
2 locks the transmission in second and D leaves it to sort things out
our test car was tending to upshift far too early even when full kickdown
was being used and we found that it performed much more satisfactorily
when we made full use of the manual over ride.
driving position was excellent, what with the fully-adjustable seating and
the steering wheel that could be moved on a vertical plane to suit the
most fastidious and peculiarly-shaped driver and, as happens every time we
step out of a Rover, we found ourselves being over-critical of lesser
cars. And, indeed, there are a good many cars that fall into this
3500, at just under $6000, falls short of the poor man΄s Rolls
classification that the marque once enjoyed, but one gets a lot more for
the money today. The V8 motor brings the car right up to 1969 standards
the chassis engineering and body design is still way ahead of the pack.
comfort very good
control very good
Directional control very good
Predictability very good
Resistance to sidewind very good
resistance very good
Directional stability very good
position very good
position very good
controls very good
entry/exit very good
seat comfort excellent
legroom very good
headroom very good
headroom very good
Instrument comprehensiveness fair
Instrument legibility very good
quarter very good
quarter very good
metal very good
Headlights, highbeam very good
Headlights, low beam good
Parking/signal lights good
Maintenance accessibility fair
0 to 60
mph: 10,1 seconds
quarter mile: 17,7 seconds
consumption (test) 21,4 mpg