Tuesday was my day off which allowed me to take a trip up to Geneva, Ohio to see the 1970 Rover 3500 S. So, accompanied by Dan K., a vintage car and motorcycle nut from our church, I drove our SAAB 900 to the location where we were to meet the owner. As Dan was a former 9000 owner, we had a good time discussing SAABs.
Shortly after arriving at the shop, we noticed a flatbed car hauler carrying a snow covered Rover away from the building. I hurried over to the driver and enquired if this was the car and where it was being taken. He smiled and patiently explained that he was moving the car to an empty parking spot.
When the car was finally unloaded, the inspection began. Unfortunately, the car was covered with snow from Monday's accumulation. The owner attempted to remove as much of the snow as possible, but alas! We had no snow brush in the SAAB. So, the pictures include a good bit of the white stuff still on the car. In any event, we were able to take about twenty pictures and to determine that the car would need a total restoration.
POSITIVES: The car is in decent shape for a 38 year old. Each of the doors opened with no problems. And the interior is in pretty good shape. The front seats were a perforated material (leather?) and had only a few minor wear tears. Both the passenger and driver side glove boxes were operational. The dashboard, gages, steering wheel, and headliner were all in good shape. And most of all, this is a unique automobile which you don't see every day.
NEGATIVES: The car is in decent shape for a 38 year old, but it does have some issues. As you would guess, there is some rust around one wheel arch (the worst spot) and on the bottoms of the doors. And the paint on the aluminum hood has peeled off in large sections. Another difficulty is that the car has been sitting outdoors without being driven or started. And being that this wasn't my car (and the fact that it didn't have a battery), we were unable to attempt starting the engine.
After searching for a long time, it was Dan who found the hood release inside the locakbel driver's side glove box. I lifted the hood to reveal a very interesting engine bay. You know what they say, British designers do things a bit differently. Inside the engine compartment, sits a 184 hp, dual carburetor, 215 cubic inch V8 engine which was originally designed by Buick. According to some, it is supposed to have a 10.4 to 1 compression ratio. But even more interesting than the engine was the placement of the brake master cylinder and power booster. You can barely see it in the picture. It actually sits in front of the passenger side wheel well! Quite odd.
Another oddity is the placement of the front springs. Conventional suspensions have vertically mounted springs, shocks, or struts. Not so with the Rover. For some odd reason, they were horizontally mounted above and behind the front wheels. From what we could tell, a torsion bar transfers movement from wheel to spring. The vehicle also has four wheel disc brakes with the rear discs mounted inboard next to the differential like the pre-1991(?) Jaguar XJS.
I think this would be a fun car to own. And if you're still wondering, read this report from 1970. If you are interested in a winter project, this could be it. Time and the elements have done some damage, but with some TLC this one could be an interesting ride. The owner has set the asking price at $2500, so make an offer.