Vintage R&T Road Test: 1969 Rover 2000TC – “A Highly Individual Car”

The Rover 2000 came out if that very fertile period that saw the BMC Mini/1100, the Corvair, the “rope drive” Tempest, and others on both sides of the pond. It was a time to shake off the stodgy ’50s, even though the cars of that era were often flamboyant on the surface. The Rover 2000 was technically very ambitious, essentially a British Citroen DS, but it soon got a rep for less than average reliability, especially so in the US, which sunk both the car and the brand.

The 2000TC version injected (through twin carbs and a few other engine changes) some additional performance, presumably to keep up with cars like the BMW and Alfa sedans. Not that it helped much, sales-wise.

There was a trade-off for the extra oomph: the TC engine was noisier and less refined. But it did knock off some 1.4 seconds in the 1/4 mile, added 8 mph to the trap speed, and made the 0-60 sprint in two full seconds less.

There were no changes to the suspension though, which was a complex thing. For a detailed look at it, follow the link to our CC on the 2000TC at the bottom. The result was a plush ride, remarkably so for steel springs. But that was not at the expense of very good control and stability, and the Rover had very high cornering power for a sedan. There was a certain initial “squishiness”, but as more steering lock was added, the car’s response increased, to the point of hanging its tail out gently without provocation. It can be driven at that attitude for brisk cornering, but it’s not necessary to maintain rapid rates of driving.

The interior had the requisite British wood and leather, but somehow surprisingly, it had an excellent ventilation system, at least for a British car.

The Rover offered an unusual mix of qualities, most of them good to excellent, and it made for an excellent long-distance touring car. Obviously that was not enough to entice a sufficient number of Americans to take the plunge, despite the fact that during this time other cars in its class were becoming increasingly popular. The Rover brand had never been well established here, and the 2000 was not able to overcome that hurdle as Americans were snapping up BMWs, Mercedes, Volvos and Saabs.

Related CC reading:
Storage Field Classic: The Very Advanced (But Mostly Forgotten) Rover 2000TC