Out now: the Autocade Yearbook 2024
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Out now: Autocade Yearbook 2024

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Car marque started 1904, making mid-priced vehicles, tracing its history back to Starley & Sutton of Coventry, a bicycle manufacturer, founded 1878. With Spencer Wilks joining the firm in 1929, the brand was positioned above Fords and Austins. After World War II, Rover introduced the Land Rover, meant to be a stopgap while its postwar range was readied. The Land Rover continued, while postwar Rovers gained a reputation for advanced engineering. In 1950, Rover showed the first car powered by a gas turbine engine, and developed a turbodiesel in the mid-1960s. In 1967, it was absorbed into the Leyland combine, which became British Leyland in 1968.

In 1970, Rover launched the Range Rover, a vehicle that combined the off-road virtues of the Land Rover and the comfort of the passenger cars. One more notable model followed in the British Leyland years, the SD1.

With the effective nationalization of BL, Rover cooperated with Honda on an executive car, then smaller models based around the Honda Civic. By the late 1980s, Rover was seen as a more desirable marque than its sister brand Austin, and small Rover models succeeded Austins as they were replaced. British Aerospace bought the company in 1988, keeping its links to Honda intact. BAe then sold to BMW in 1994. Sold again to a consortium in 2000, the company never recovered, and collapsed in 2005. The Rover brand name is, through various negotiations, owned by Tata of India, while Rover’s physical assets were purchased by Nanjing Automobile (Group) Corp., later merged into SAIC. Its successor brands might be said to be SAIC’s Roewe, and MG.


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Out now: Autocade Yearbook 2024