May 4, 2015 By Mike Lee
Last updated on May 4, 2015

Rover LogoBrief History About Rover

Rover as a company was founded in 1885 in England by John Kemp Starley & William Sutton, although the pair started out as Starley & Sutton Co. of Coventry in 1878 making bicycles. The company has a very complicated and diverse history, which I will try to summaries here.

In 1902 Rover started to build motorcycles, followed by cars in 1904. Like many innovative car makers at the time, Rover designed and built various vehicles as the new technology evolved, but progress was slow and not very profitable during the 20’s and 30’s.

During WW2 Rover built aircraft engines, including involvement in the development of the Jet engine, which was later transferred to Rolls Royce.

After the war, Rover built a number of experimental vehicles powered by gas turbine engines. In 1948 Rover started building the Land Rover and later developed diesel engines for it.

The 1950’s and 60’s were quite good years for Rover, with successful sales in Land Rovers, the P5 V8 and P6 V8. They even bought Alvis in 1965 and had plans to build some nice cars under the Alvis name, but when Leyland took over Rover in 1967 and joined with British Motor Holdings, which created the British Leyland Motor Corporation (BLMC), the projects were stopped as they would have been competing with their new partner Jaguar.

In 1970 they released the Range Rover. Rover was part of the Specialist Division and had a factory designation SD1.

In 1978 Land Rover was split from Rover to created a separate company.

Other changes with the brand, include being part of and creating the Austin Rover Group (1982–1986), the Rover Group (1986–2000), and then finally MG Rover (2000–2005 – see separate entry for MG). Just some of the other manufacturers involved in Rover have included Honda (1979-1994), British Aerospace (1988-1994), BMW (1994-2006) and Ford (2006-2008). The Rover marque was laid to rest in 2005 despite being purchased by Ford after that date and now also belongs to Tata Motors, when Ford sold Land Rover Jaguar to them in 2008.

Rover SD1
SD1 1976-1986

Rover Coupe Turbo
Coupe (200) 1992-1999