3500 before facelift.
S.C.: £1,675 (incl. P.T.)
T.C.: £1,778 (incl. P.T.)
Auto.: £1,803 (incl. P.T.)
The Rover 2000 series set new standards when it was introduced in 1963 and the order books are still full. For 1971 the two-litre four-cylinder models have the new-look bonnet, grille, side mouldings, wheel-trims, vinyl-covered quarter panels etc, and the TC (twin-carburettor) gets the new circular instruments as fitted to the 1971 3500. The 2000 is also available in automatic form. Leather upholstery is an extra an the SC but standard on all other models. Lights and wiper switches are now of the rotary type, and there is an intermittent control for the two-speed wiper.
ROVER 3500 £2,049 (incl. P.T.)
New-look 3500 for 1971 has reshaped bonnet, black grille with high-lighted edges, stainless steel body side mouldings and new wheeltrims. The roof quarter panels are vinyl-covered and incorporate the traditional Viking longship badge. Power-assisted steering is also available on this fast V8-engined model which has Borg-Warner automatic transmission as standard. Since the 3500's introduction in 1968, it has proved a favourite with drivers who like high-performance coupled with luxury, smooth-running, and sound inbuilt safety features. Nearly 26,000 have now been built.
Sal.: £2,461 (incl. P.T.)
Coupe: £2.566 (incl. P.T.)
The luxurious and beautifully-appointed 'big' Rover started life in 1959 as the 3-Litre but in 1967 was re-engined with Rover's celebrated 3½-litre light-alloy V8, and rechristened 3.5. The interior is in the limousine tradition with soft leather, polished wood, and deep carpets. Like the 3500 the transmission is automatic as standard, and the car is capable of swallowing great distances with a minimum of fuss. On Continental motorways the 3.5 will put a hundred miles into the hour under favourable conditions, and the driver will emerge fresh at the end of a 600-mile journey. Made as a Saloon or in Coupé form.
RANGE ROVER £1,998 (incl. P.T.)
An entirely new motoring concept, the Range Rover is a permanently engaged four-wheel drive five-seater car that has been designed for the leisure market. Powered by the ubiquitous Rover light-alloy V8 engine, it is detuned to run on low-quality fuel, and in spite of its fantastic cross-country and towing capabilities, it will cruise Continental motorways at 90 m.p.h. It has a four-speed all-synchromesh gearbox with two sets of forward ratios, top/top providing 20 m.p.h. per 1000 r.p.m., and low/low resulting in 1.7 m.p.h. per 1000 r.p.m.
Driving the Range Rover
You really have to gather impressions on two levels with this vehicle—on the road and off the road—since it is almost equally at home on both. Compared with the Land-Rover it has obviously moved strongly in the luxury saloon direction and one tends to think that the off-the-road side must have been sacrificed in the process. Nothing could be less true—it is in fact quite astonishing in the rough because of its enormous ground clearance and soft, very long travel suspension.
As we proved to our own satisfaction in Cornwall, the speed at which you can drive the car over rough grass or moorland is quite frightening and it just floats up and down in well-damped controlled sort of fashion. And with permanent four-wheel drive and Michelin tyres it has traction to match as Rover's top management demonstrated in an unscheduled assault on the banks of a grassy ravine. They didn't make the top but they very nearly did; it was quite a long way to the top and when you looked sideways at the sea from the passenger seat you could see that the slope was not all that far short of 45°.
On the road it doesn't quite fall into the same superlative bracket. For a £2000 saloon it is noisier than it should be; the most irritating noise was a whine from the transfer gears which the technical department is confident will soon be subdued to the unobtrusive level of a typical front-wheel-drive car. Then there is a further loud whine from the Michelin radial tyres although Rover say that they are much quieter than competitive cross-country tyres and the noise, being airborne, can be reduced by closing the windows. However, we don't want to over-emphasise this point—a 70 mph cruising speed is certainly not deafening and the noise level doesn't increase too much at high speed. In the teeth of a very strong wind we reached 85 mph on the speedometer down a disused runway and 105 mph in the other direction—a speed at which the range Rover feels entirely stable and unstrained.
First impressions are of a large and slightly cumbersome vehicle. In fact, although it is large inside (and very comfortable, thanks to excellent seats and ventilation) it isn't all that large externally. Sitting very high gives a false first impression but the Rover rapidly shrinks to normal proportions. Moreover one's eye level is such that it just passes over the roofs of the cars in front—as well as over hedgerows—making overtaking astonishingly easy. Although the ride is very comfortable it is not quite as good as it would be in a lower vehicle since one is more conscious of pitch and rock which appear as longitudinal and lateral movements—as they do in more exaggerated form in the top of a doubledecker bus.
The steering also has an unusual feel in that there is gentle feedback of road forces at low speed. At high speeds this is not noticeable, perhaps because of the action of the steering damper, and there is then nothing to remind you that you are driving a modern version of the beam-axled cars that disappeared soon after the war. The steering is low-geared and, at low speeds, rather heavy but this is hardly surprising in a 33 cwt. machine. Driven very hard round corners it understeers quite noticeably and picks up the inner front wheel but you don't need to drive this way to get along pretty briskly. We hope to do a detailed road test in a few weeks time.
The Motor, June 1970