They think it’s all Rover… it isn’t yet. A timewarp British classic has been saved from the crusher by the Rover 200 and 400 Owners’ Club.
The 1987 Rover 216S was traded in at Beechwood Mazda in Derby as part of a scrappage scheme.
Remarkably, it has covered 402,000 miles with a single owner from new. The car remains impressively original and will be preserved by members of the club.
Social media outcry
The Rover came to the attention of enthusiasts after Beechwood Mazda posted photos on its Facebook page.
“We were really surprised by the scrappage car offered, it looked in good condition and had covered an incredible number of miles,” says Rob Wood, MD of Beechwood Mazda.
“When we posted this on social media we were inundated with requests not to scrap the car, I had my technical guys take a look at it and they confirmed it was in good shape, so we asked Mazda UK if we could change the terms of the sale to help save this classic, allowing us to give it a new lease of life.
“I am pleased to say the change was agreed and it will shortly be on its way to the Rover 200 and 400 Owners’ Club for restoration. This car was an important chapter in British automotive history. I hope it goes on to be preserved for the future.”
From VandenPlas to Vitesse
The original ‘SD3’ Rover 200 was launched in June 1984, just six months after the (less luxurious) Austin Montego. Like the Triumph Acclaim before it, the 200 was a Honda at heart, in this case a Ballade.
A single 1.3-litre Honda engine (badged ‘213’) was offered at first, in S, SE and upmarket VandenPlas trim levels.
The punchier 1.6 Austin Rover engine (the 216) followed in 1985, with the sporty Vitesse boasting a fuel-injected EFi version. Revised spring rates also sharpened the handling, although the Montego remained a better car to drive.
The Ballade was assembled alongside the 200 at Longbridge – the first Honda built in the UK – until both cars were discontinued in 1989.
Taking a Rover dose
You can find the Rover 200 and 400 Owners’ Club online, where we hope to see details of this car’s restoration.
The club publishes a quarterly magazine called The Viking and organises regular events, including a recent get-together at the British Motor Museum in Gaydon.
If you spot a classic that deserves to be saved from scrappage, let us know.