SOTW: Rover 420 GSi Turbo


A confession: today's Shed of the Week is a weensy bit self-indulgent. Why? Because back at the turn of the century, when I was a fresh-faced young driver full of naive optimism, I had something a little bit similar as my second car (second car as in the one I had following the Fiesta I had at 17 that I inevitably wrote off).


OK, it was a 214 SLi on an L-reg, so it wasn't quite as exotic as this SOTW (if exotic is ever an apt adjective for a 90s Rover), but to a teenager such as myself its 103hp 1.4 made it a surprisingly nippy car, especially when most of your friends are trolling around in 1.0-litre Novas or Polos.

Sure, there were definitely cooler things to turn up to your mate's party in, but I consoled myself with paraphrasing the Feeder song Buck Rogers: "He's got a brand new car (well not brand new) / Looks like a Jaguar (if you squint) / It's got leather seats (velour) / and a CD player (aftermarket, naturally)".

The thing is, the same sort of things apply to this 420 GSi Turbo - except that it's a fair chunk faster than my old 214, with a 200hp turbocharged 2.0-litre originally used in the Rover 800 before being dropped into the 200 Coupe and then the regular 200 and 400 series cars.


But while the 200 Coupe was a pretty popular car, the turbocharged version was somewhat less common - the sort of flat-cap-and-pipe brigade who went for the 400 presumably didn't need fast hatch pace, while those in the market for a 200hp sports saloon would have been rather more turned on by an E36 325i.

Now, though, the very things that made the 420 Turbos hang around Rover showrooms for so long now make it rather an appealing shed - iron fist power in an M&S polyester glove of a body. These days it's a super-rare beast, too, with How Many Left suggesting that just 13 of the fewer-than-300 built originally remain on the road.

And this particular car could be quite a special one. Ignore the mysterious nose dent (looks like the imprint of a concrete bollard to us) and instead focus on the fact that this is a 200hp sleeper with a potentially genuine 36,000 miles on the clock, and that you can back up by checking all the old MoTs. As long as you like the idea of driving a determinedly uncool car and can source yourself a new front bumper, we reckon £690 is a bit of a steal.


Thanks to PHer and Shed-finder extraordinaire only1ian for yet another spot - and for the trip down memory lane...

Advert is reproduced below

ROVER 420 GSi (£690)
ROVER 420 GSi , 4 Doors, Manual, Saloon, Petrol, 1993 K Reg, 36274 miles, Blue. HPI CLEAR, Mot'd May 2013, We have record of all the old Mot's, Genuine miles, The car is in good condition inside and out and drives well, ANY PART EXCHANGE WELCOME, Insurance Group:13, £690 p/x welcome



Update:
Since it's been brought to our attention that this is a bit of a shed fail (not actually being a turbo), we thought we'd atone for our sins with an SOTW extra - this 44,000-mile Rover 200 BRM.

Provided you can stand the loud red leather interior, and understand the significance of that orange intake, it's a145hp VVC-engined slice of hot hatch fun for just £900 quid...

 



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Comments (265) Join the discussion on the forum

  • MGJohn 16 Aug 2012

    300bhp/ton said:
    s m said:
    ashy19 said:
    The BRM has not been attacked with an orange spray can - the orange grill was standard.
    Did some dealers redo them in silver if it wasn't to purchaser taste?
    I suspect so, or anyone else after market.

    That said it was just a nod to the BRM racing colours of old, nothing sinister and nothing worse than any other car maker doing something similar, be it an Elise/Esprit in JPS colours etc.



    In the flesh I think the orange works quite well on the Rover. Striking, but then that's the point of it.
    Nailed it right there. Some folks also painted 'lesser' Rover 200s white at the front ... not seen that on a genuine BRM though.

    I'm old enough to remember seeing BRMs in action in F1. That leading orange trim made them so easy to pick out in a crowded and hectic grid start.

    When the little Rover 200 BRMs appeared in the showroom, I had no idea such a car existed but, that orange grill caught my attention when calling at the parts counter for MG parts. I had a good look around one. Was very tempted but with a growing young family then, that and other cars I fancied would not suit all my motoring needs.

    I still see three or four very tidy examples about locally, two with distinctive registration numbers like this one.



    This LHD car from The Nederlands caught my eye at the recent PoL gathering :~


    .

  • ashy19 16 Aug 2012

    s m said:
    Did some dealers redo them in silver if it wasn't to purchaser taste?
    No idea to be honest.

  • 300bhp/ton 16 Aug 2012

    s m said:
    ashy19 said:
    The BRM has not been attacked with an orange spray can - the orange grill was standard.
    Did some dealers redo them in silver if it wasn't to purchaser taste?
    I suspect so, or anyone else after market.

    That said it was just a nod to the BRM racing colours of old, nothing sinister and nothing worse than any other car maker doing something similar, be it an Elise/Esprit in JPS colours etc.



    In the flesh I think the orange works quite well on the Rover. Striking, but then that's the point of it.

  • Gizmoish 16 Aug 2012

    s m said:
    ashy19 said:
    The BRM has not been attacked with an orange spray can - the orange grill was standard.
    Did some dealers redo them in silver if it wasn't to purchaser taste?
    Yes. But from the factory they were all orange.

  • s m 16 Aug 2012

    ashy19 said:
    The BRM has not been attacked with an orange spray can - the orange grill was standard.
    Did some dealers redo them in silver if it wasn't to purchaser taste?

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