RE: Rover 3500 TWR Vitesse: Spotted

RE: Rover 3500 TWR Vitesse: Spotted

Sunday 3rd February

Rover 3500 TWR Vitesse: Spotted

A freshly built homage to an iconic Rover racer, yours for £100,000...



The 1983 British Saloon Car Championship season was likely one of the most contentious in motorsport history. The year saw the introduction of Group A regulations, mixing things up for the first time in nearly a decade and resulting in the Tom Walkinshaw Racing-prepped Rover 3500 Vitesses of Steve Soper, Jeff Allam and Pete Lovett standing head and shoulders above the competition. The cars' aerodynamic form and powerful 3.5-litre engine made them perfectly suited to the new format; so perfectly suited, in fact, that TWR Rovers won all eleven races on the calendar. With Soper pipping teammate Lovett to the title, everything was looking good for British Leyland's 'poor man's Daytona', but its dominance was to be short-lived.

Following a protest by ex-TWR driver Frank Sytner - who was now racing for BMW - and an ensuing legal battle, the cars were disqualified. The case reached the highest levels, dragging on for months beyond the culmination of the '83 season until, in July of 1984, a Tribunal of Enquiry chaired by Lord Hartley Shawcross - the same man who'd previously acted as Britain's lead prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trials - found Rover to have been running both non-homologation engine components and unauthorised bodywork modifications, including inwardly-widened rear arches to accommodate wider tyres. The title passed to Andy Rouse, who'd originally finished third overall in his Alfa Romeo GTV6.


Upset at the way things had been handled, Rover withdrew from the series as a works entity, but a Vitesse driver would go on to dominate proceedings regardless. There could be no accusations of Rouse having been handed the title this time, either; having himself made the switch to the Rover he finished on the top two steps of the podium in nearly every race. In doing so he not only became the first man to win two championships in the same year, but cemented the 3500 Vitesse's place in the history books as one of the all-time great touring cars.

Today's Spotted may not be one of those original TWR racers, then, but it pays homage to one of the most dominant and beloved racing cars of that controversial era. It features an original TWR engine, as well as original TWR suspension, rear axle and wheels in a package which ought to be a good deal more serviceable than an original car, not to mention a fraction of the price. With the engine and diff recently rebuilt, a new Getrag five-speed gearbox and new roll cage, there shouldn't be a great deal to worry about. The only thing to set your mind to will be how best to take advantage of its FIA Historic Technical Passport, as you set about recreating the glory days of racing Rovers.

See the original advert here.


Author
Discussion

Turbobanana

Original Poster:

1,220 posts

139 months

Sunday 3rd February
quotequote all
Too expensive.

But wow, I want it.

JMF894

2,738 posts

93 months

Sunday 3rd February
quotequote all
Be interested to know what kind of power they got from that V8

fernando the frog

93 posts

6 months

Sunday 3rd February
quotequote all
i'd rather have a restored road version of it, racing replica is pointless

Krikkit

14,124 posts

119 months

Sunday 3rd February
quotequote all
Article said:
...found Rover to have been running both non-homologation engine components and unauthorised bodywork modifications, including inwardly-widened rear arches to accommodate wider tyres.
Another example of TWR cheating then.

griffdude

1,485 posts

186 months

Sunday 3rd February
quotequote all
Is a single plenum correct? Thought the Vitesse was a twin?
Advertisement

Burwood

10,980 posts

184 months

Sunday 3rd February
quotequote all
JMF894 said:
Be interested to know what kind of power they got from that V8
The 1985 top spec made 345 bhp.

blade7

8,371 posts

154 months

Sunday 3rd February
quotequote all
Sytner owned a BMW dealership, he was still complaining when the Sierra Cosworths held sway.

soad

29,444 posts

114 months

Sunday 3rd February
quotequote all
What a "bargain"!! eeklaugh

samoht

845 posts

84 months

Sunday 3rd February
quotequote all
fernando the frog said:
i'd rather have a restored road version of it, racing replica is pointless
The point is that it's eligible for historic racing, so you can do this sort of thing https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B7ocgddHwFQ

JMF894

2,738 posts

93 months

Sunday 3rd February
quotequote all
Burwood said:
JMF894 said:
Be interested to know what kind of power they got from that V8
The 1985 top spec made 345 bhp.
Thanks. I was interested as a previous owner of 2 TVR wedges, both of which were, despite being good examples, way off the quoted factory power figures. They did of course use the 'Rover' V8 which is notoriously difficult and expensive to tune.

s m

17,141 posts

141 months

Sunday 3rd February
quotequote all
JMF894 said:
Burwood said:
JMF894 said:
Be interested to know what kind of power they got from that V8
The 1985 top spec made 345 bhp.
Thanks. I was interested as a previous owner of 2 TVR wedges, both of which were, despite being good examples, way off the quoted factory power figures. They did of course use the 'Rover' V8 which is notoriously difficult and expensive to tune.
I remember the TVR 390SE factory demo with special Rouse engine option ( the rare ‘cammy’ 295 option rather than the 275 bhp type ). It sounded great but I think it was well short of the quoted power. Was about equivalent to a standard Sierra Cosworth with 200bhp. - both weighed about the same. Didn’t feel nigh on 300bhp to me

Patrick1964

544 posts

169 months

Sunday 3rd February
quotequote all
Krikkit said:
Another example of TWR cheating then.
Just like everyone else, I suspect

JMF894

2,738 posts

93 months

Sunday 3rd February
quotequote all
s m said:
JMF894 said:
Burwood said:
JMF894 said:
Be interested to know what kind of power they got from that V8
The 1985 top spec made 345 bhp.
Thanks. I was interested as a previous owner of 2 TVR wedges, both of which were, despite being good examples, way off the quoted factory power figures. They did of course use the 'Rover' V8 which is notoriously difficult and expensive to tune.
I remember the TVR 390SE factory demo with special Rouse engine option ( the rare ‘cammy’ 295 option rather than the 275 bhp type ). It sounded great but I think it was well short of the quoted power. Was about equivalent to a standard Sierra Cosworth with 200bhp. - both weighed about the same. Didn’t feel nigh on 300bhp to me
Indeed my 450se was supposed to be 320bhp. Not a chance in hell....................................

AlexS_LDN

251 posts

2 months

Sunday 3rd February
quotequote all
soad said:
What a "bargain"!! eeklaugh
I'll wait to see it on Shmee150's channel once he's bought it wink

My uncle had a Rover 3500, great car. But this one is too expensive eek

Augustus Windsock

1,589 posts

93 months

Sunday 3rd February
quotequote all
griffdude said:
Is a single plenum correct? Thought the Vitesse was a twin?
The Single Plenum was introduced circa 1982 and the Twin Plenum in 1985 iirc
In road going form I think they gave similar-ish power but Rover gained a tuning advantage on the latter set-up when fettled for racing.
I’m sure someone could shed more light on this or be more accurate if I’ve got it slightly wrong?

Strugs

442 posts

167 months

Sunday 3rd February
quotequote all
Patrick1964 said:
Krikkit said:
Another example of TWR cheating then.
Just like everyone else, I suspect
^^This!

DonkeyApple

32,228 posts

107 months

Monday 4th February
quotequote all
Strugs said:
Patrick1964 said:
Krikkit said:
Another example of TWR cheating then.
Just like everyone else, I suspect
^^This!
Yup. They were all cheating but many were upset by just how good Walkinshaw was at it. He was an absolute natural when it came to doing whatever it took to take someone’s money.

300bhp/ton

35,747 posts

128 months

Monday 4th February
quotequote all
JMF894 said:
s m said:
JMF894 said:
Burwood said:
JMF894 said:
Be interested to know what kind of power they got from that V8
The 1985 top spec made 345 bhp.
Thanks. I was interested as a previous owner of 2 TVR wedges, both of which were, despite being good examples, way off the quoted factory power figures. They did of course use the 'Rover' V8 which is notoriously difficult and expensive to tune.
I remember the TVR 390SE factory demo with special Rouse engine option ( the rare ‘cammy’ 295 option rather than the 275 bhp type ). It sounded great but I think it was well short of the quoted power. Was about equivalent to a standard Sierra Cosworth with 200bhp. - both weighed about the same. Didn’t feel nigh on 300bhp to me
Indeed my 450se was supposed to be 320bhp. Not a chance in hell....................................
That’s not down to the engine being difficult to tune. But down to TVR completely lying about the power output. So nothing to do directly with Rover or TWR.

The RV8 is perfectly tuneable from standard outputs. With plenty of easy and cheap power gains. What people tend to forget is, that it is only a 2 valve per cylinder push rod engine designed in the 1950’s. And you’ll never get the same specific HP per litre as more modern 4 valve per cylinder engines. And it lacks the displacement of the larger American V8 engines. So for the same specific output it will make less power.

The RV8 will typically get similar bhp/litre as a 302ci/5.0 Ford Windsor V8. With similar mods. The heads aren’t as good on the Rover as it was never designed with larger displacements in mind.

DonkeyApple

32,228 posts

107 months

Monday 4th February
quotequote all
Arguably its a 30s design given the story that Buick received the designs in the mid 40s when lots of freebies were pinging over from Germany.

As an engine it is wonderfully tuneable within a pretty well known and defined range before you enter the realm of big bucks, wky reliability or the usual asexual, lives with mother, tt at the bar talking bks.

Basically, it’s a unit that delivers between 200-300 bhp dependent on cc and the cam that you stick in it. Personally, while increasing the valve size helps I’d rather apply forced induction at that point to just void the poor airflow of the head design.

Like you I enjoy the RV8 and I’ve had them in Rangies and TVRs simultaneously for 25 years and I’ve several of them currently. My view is that they are a great engine with fantastic and unique character but that going for more than 300 NA is very much pissing in the wind.

scottos

261 posts

62 months

Monday 4th February
quotequote all
I've been lucky enough to work on and in the vicinity of a genuine TWR Vitesse, awesome thing in person and i'll never forget the start up of the thing nor the nausea inducing chest vibrations and/or streaming eyes from the fumes out of the side exhaust biglaugh