| Rover 3500 sedan
makes U.S. debut in 1980
OVER 3500 SEDAN MAKES U.S. DEBUT
Features Include V8 Engine, Sports Car Performance and Handling, Luxurious Interior and Hatchback Utility.
The award-winning Rover 3500, a luxurious five-passenger, fivedoor hatchback sedan featuring sports car handling and performance, aerodynamic styling, a fuel-injected aluminum V8 engine, a spacious luggage/cargo area and advanced safety features has been introduced by Jaguar Rover Triumph Inc.
The new Rover went on sale April 25 1980, with a list price of $15,900 (POE). Air conditioning, cruise control, power windows, central door and trunk locking and an adjustable steering wheel are among the standard equipment items.
The Rover's power plant is a 3.5 liter (215 cu. in.) fuel injected aluminum alloy V8 developing 148 SAE net horsepower. Zero to 60 MPH test track acceleration figures for the new car are 10.0 seconds with standard five speed manual transmission and 11.1 seconds with optional automatic shift.
S uspension and Steering.
A carefully engineered rear suspension with nine inches of vertical travel provides true luxury car comfort. A Watts linkage, which connects the axle to the car's frame on either side, prevents lateral movement and assures flat, high speed cornering around the sharpest turns. Unique loadleveling rear shock absorbers provide comfort and sure footed handling regardless of the number of passengers or the weight of the cargo being carried. MacPherson struts are used in the front suspension. Maneuverability is further enhanced by the quick, 2.75 turns lock-to-lock, rack and pinion power assisted steering.
The rear loadspace is over six feet in length with the rear seats folded down and it provides over 34 cubic feet of space. The passenger seat can be folded forward and down providing an extension of the flat cargo platform. When the rear seats are up, the luggage compartment measures almost 12 cubic feet. The opened hatchback provides a generous 74 inches of headroom for ease of loading.
S afety Features.
Rover automobiles have always been noted for their safety features and the 3500 continues that tradition. The new model's windshield uses specially made Triplex Ten-Twenty laminated glass which breaks into small blunt fragments on impact reducing the risk of facial injury by 99 per cent relative to ordinary safety glass, according to Triplex. The Rover 3500 was the first car to use this new technology. Last year, Ten-Twenty won the U.S. Department of Transportation's first award to a non U.S. product for motoring safety.
Special compression struts in the new Rover's doors give the passenger compartment a high degree of rigidity in collision situations and the fuel tank is located ahead of the rear axle to isolate it from rear end crash damage. An additional safety feature is the demisting system which clears the front side windows as well as the windshield and rear hatch window for maximum visibility.
T he Body.
Good aerodynamics were of utmost importance to the design team which styled the Rover 3500 exterior and wind tunnel tests played an important role. For instance, the air intake panelling under the front bumper acts as a reverse airfoil, antilift air dam in the interest of low drag and high speed stability. Front end and windshield slants were engineered to move the center of air pressure well back for good straight line high speed driving. The body is an all steel monocoque shell for minimum weight combined with maximum strength. The Rover is built on a 110.8 in. wheelbase and it measures 191 in. overall. Total rear and front overhang of 81 in. is less than most imports and U.S. cars Rover's size class.
T he Rover Engine.
The Rover's 3.5 liter V8 engine has a Lucas-Bosch electronic fuel injection system with oxygen sensors in the exhaust down-pipes to automatically adjust the fuel/air mixture for the lowest possible emissions. The engine is sandcast with the block shotpeened for extra strength. Cast iron cylinder liners are fitted following the casting operation. Ignition is electronic. The engine has proven its durability in the Range Rover and special models of the Land Rover utility vehicle and in previous Rover passenger cars. The engine was considerably refined for use in the 3500 and it now has a higher rev limit (6,000 RPM) and improved breathing thanks to advanced design of the cylinder heads and manifolding.
T he Transmission.
The Rover 3500's five-speed manual transmission is unique in that it has a built in oil pump to insure adequate lubrication even when the oil level is below normal. It also uses tapered roller bearings for long life. The rear axle ratio is a tall 3.08:1 and the fifth gear ratio is 0.833:1 for maximum economy at freeway cruising speeds.
Regardless of where sold in the U.S., all Rover 3500s will have the longer intervals between service now required in California. This calls for lubrication and oil changes every 7,500 miles instead of the usual 6,000; the first tune up at 15,000 miles instead of 12,000.
T he Interior.
The Rover's steering wheel is adjustable for height, reach and tilt by a single control. The front seats are adjustable and can be fully reclined. In the rear is a contoured bench seat with both front and back seats upholstered in luxurious nylon velour. Carpeting throughout, including the cargo and luggage compartments, is moulded cutpile. All instruments and warning lights are in a housing mounted on top of the dash directly ahead of the driver for maximum visibility. The power side windows are operated by switches located on the gear shift console. The rear windows can also be operated by rear seat passengers using switches in the arm rests. These switches can be overridden by a master switch on the instrument housing.
A master switch for locking or unlocking all five doors is located in the driver's arm rests. Override rocker switches in the other three side doors allow them to be locked or unlocked individually. The hatchback can be opened by itself using the key in its external lock.
Cruise control, headlight/horn and windshield wiper/washer switches are incorporated in steering column mounted stalks.
R over Awards.
The Rover 3500 won two of the automotive industry's most im-portant accolades within a year of its 1976 introduction in Britain: the British/European Car of the Year Award and the Don Safety Trophy.
The Car of the Year Award followed a vote by 49 major auto writers and editors representing 15 countries with a total of 17 models in the running. The Don Safety Trophy was awarded by an independent panel of engineering, insurance and safety associations in the United Kingdom.
T he Rover Plant.
The Rover 3500 is made at one of the most modern automotive plants in all of Europe. Built at a cost of $56 million between 1973 and 1976 on a 100-acre site near Birmingham, the Solihull facility is unique in having won an environmental award. The total complex occupies 1,500,000 square feet, including a special paint building utilizing an improved fourcoat thermoplastic process. There are three 1,400 ft. assembly lines. One of these three assembly lines will be used for Triumph TR7/8 sports cars when production of these two models is moved from the nearby Canley factory to Solihull later this year. Canley will not shut down until the Solihull line is near full operation and production will, therefore, not be interrupted by the move.
Thanks to Dermot Harvey for the pictures of his car