RE: Rover 200 BRM: Reader's Car of the Week

RE: Rover 200 BRM: Reader's Car of the Week

Saturday 9th February

Rover 200 BRM: Reader's Car of the Week

Bought from storage and being brought back to its best, this 200 BRM looks like a gem!



Before the era of MG Z cars, there were precious few fast Rovers to get excited about. That's not to say there weren't any at all though; remember the 200 BRM?

Based on the 145hp 200vi of the era, all BRMs produced were in green with the orange grille surround and vivid red interior. Unsurprisingly given the cars are now 20 years old and were rare to start with, there aren't many BRMs still going - HowManyLeft has just 121 currently taxed on the road.

It's all the more pleasing, then, that a BRM as lovely as this one will see the light of day again. Purchased at the end of last year by PHer 'itscaptainslow', this BRM really is a minter: dry stored for 12 years and having covered just 38,000 miles, it's in fantastic condition. Which will have made its breakdown on the journey home all the more galling, even if the issue did prove to be more minor than first feared.

With a few niggles now resolved - we'll let the captain tell you about those - the 200 is ready for some nicer weather to be driven and enjoyed. Already though (after a few sneaky dry weather adventures), the BRM is described as "just great", and "raw like modern hot hatches aren't", which sounds like absolutely splendid news from here. The car is set to enjoy a few outings on sunny days later in 2019, so fingers crossed this PHer and his fantastic BRM can make it along to a Sunday Service - enjoy the car!

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Author
Discussion

JaguarsportXJR

Original Poster:

231 posts

81 months

Saturday 9th February
quotequote all
As a fellow BRM owner I can honestly say that these cars are absolute belters. Bespoke spring and damper rates, close ratio box and an LSD all make for a right laugh when combined with the revvy engine and light weight. Plus down a twisty road it'll surprise some modern stuff, while putting a bigger smile on your face.

172

111 posts

76 months

Saturday 9th February
quotequote all
Had a 200vi

Brms were out of my price range back then

I assume the LSD cures the rampant axle tramp mine suffered with

J4CKO

26,346 posts

138 months

Saturday 9th February
quotequote all
I had a BRM and loved it, nicest gearchange of any car I have had, lovely engine, main criticism was a the seats werent supportive enough and you slid around. My uncle and auntie still have one.

You know how some cars have a "scene tax" applied, these have one but its a minus percentage, as anything else that was a genuinely different, distinctive one off version like these were, of anything else would be worth decent money where these are still fairly cheap. Only apparently just over 100 left of the original 795, imagine how much a BMW or Ford with that kind of numbers left would be worth. Still, can still own something that is pretty special for not much money, and it was also pretty good but so much badge snobbery. Someone will probably be along to say "its st" having never driven one.

Welshbeef

35,200 posts

136 months

Saturday 9th February
quotequote all
Wasn’t it fondly known as lippy?

s m

17,152 posts

141 months

Saturday 9th February
quotequote all
These are pretty quick little things.
Came with a Torsen diff too.
As said, if it was a different marque would probably be more sought after. Fun car like the ZS180
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F1GTRUeno

3,982 posts

156 months

Saturday 9th February
quotequote all
J4CKO said:
Only apparently just over 100 left of the original 795
At first I read this and thought how ridiculous that sounds but then I guess the scrappage scheme would've put paid to a lot of them? Rust and maintenance for a few more.

Guess lots might've been wrecked in crashes too and maybe some turned into rally/track cars?

Jim the Sunderer

1,996 posts

120 months

Saturday 9th February
quotequote all
My old 220Sdi disesal had holes rusted through the bodywork at 10 years old, the BRMs were really quite expensive new but I suspect as second hand old bangers went the same way.

I loved the interior in the BRMs, I believe they had a closer ratio gearbox than the standard car.

There's a good video of Tiffany Needle driving one around a track, of course I can't find it right now.

J4CKO

26,346 posts

138 months

Saturday 9th February
quotequote all
F1GTRUeno said:
J4CKO said:
Only apparently just over 100 left of the original 795
At first I read this and thought how ridiculous that sounds but then I guess the scrappage scheme would've put paid to a lot of them? Rust and maintenance for a few more.

Guess lots might've been wrecked in crashes too and maybe some turned into rally/track cars?
Its a 20 year old sporty Rover 200 and I guess thats not a bad survival rate compared to most other 1999 cars.

itcaptainslow

2,158 posts

74 months

Saturday 9th February
quotequote all
Rust mostly is what kills them-there is virtually no rustproofing applied from the factory, so they rot. Everywhere.

Boot hinges, arches, sills, roof gutters...and with the low values for ages plus niche appeal, many were broken for their valuable interiors and (even more so) LSD equipped gearbox.

bobo79

144 posts

87 months

Saturday 9th February
quotequote all
What was the relationship with BRM? Obviously it’s a homage to the ale Mans entry from the 60s but presumably it was an official license they acquired?

itcaptainslow

2,158 posts

74 months

Saturday 9th February
quotequote all
bobo79 said:
What was the relationship with BRM? Obviously it’s a homage to the ale Mans entry from the 60s but presumably it was an official license they acquired?
Yes-they got a licence to use the name from the owner (can’t remember who it is). The logic being at the time BMW apparently didn’t want the MG brand used on sporting hatchbacks or saloons. It’s also a nod to Rover’s relationship with the BRM race team.

JaguarsportXJR

Original Poster:

231 posts

81 months

Saturday 9th February
quotequote all
itcaptainslow said:
bobo79 said:
What was the relationship with BRM? Obviously it’s a homage to the ale Mans entry from the 60s but presumably it was an official license they acquired?
Yes-they got a licence to use the name from the owner (can’t remember who it is). The logic being at the time BMW apparently didn’t want the MG brand used on sporting hatchbacks or saloons. It’s also a nod to Rover’s relationship with the BRM race team.
I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Owen (of BRM and Rubery Owen, i.e. Rostyle wheels) once. He was a genuinely lovely chap and when my girlfriend said that I had a BRM he asked "One of the little Rovers?" I nodded and he suddenly became very excited. "Me too! Aren't they brilliant?!"

Apparently he and his brother were consulted through the development and I think he'd have happily talked all day about it, given the opportunity.

myhandle

857 posts

112 months

Saturday 9th February
quotequote all
Unbelievably, these were used as hire cars. Tiff Needell did a great review of one on Top Gear.

Alex P

168 posts

66 months

Sunday 10th February
quotequote all
I think these were perhaps Rover's best ever hot hatch. My brother had 2 of them - one from new until written off at over 100k after being hit by a drink driver when parked - the second one did from 48k when he bought it until 90k or so until HGF when he sold it - it was repaired by the new owner. Other than that they never had a fault.

My brother had them in London and they were perfect for zipping around - quick off the mark, great gearbox and handling and a much more supple ride that the later z-cars - I had a ZS 180 from new and my wife had a ZR so I know what they were like. My brother replaced them with a MK4 GTI 1.8 turbo - similar performance but handling was nowhere near and ride was very soft - was also less reliable overall - did not rust like the first BRM did though the Golf did leak a lot of water into the back end of the car.

Regarding survival, just over 100 are taxed but over double that are sorned - I know that not all of those sorned vehicles will be great cars/runners but that is over 300 in total of the original 795 or so UK cars - to me that is actually a pretty good survival rate for a 20year-old mass market car.

As mentioned, if they were a VW or Ford, they would be worth much more now - ironically, at the time these were new (98-99), neither Ford nor VW really did a hot hatch as good as the BRM.


Baldchap

687 posts

30 months

Sunday 10th February
quotequote all
J4CKO said:
F1GTRUeno said:
J4CKO said:
Only apparently just over 100 left of the original 795
At first I read this and thought how ridiculous that sounds but then I guess the scrappage scheme would've put paid to a lot of them? Rust and maintenance for a few more.

Guess lots might've been wrecked in crashes too and maybe some turned into rally/track cars?
Its a 20 year old sporty Rover 200 and I guess thats not a bad survival rate compared to most other 1999 cars.
I'd bet compared to the average it's doing very well at 1/8th left. You don't see many prefix plates still driving round these days.

s m

17,152 posts

141 months

Sunday 10th February
quotequote all
Alex P said:
As mentioned, if they were a VW or Ford, they would be worth much more now - ironically, at the time these were new (98-99), neither Ford nor VW really did a hot hatch as good as the BRM.
To be perfectly fair though, in 98-99 Ford didn’t do a hot hatch at all!
It was after the Escort RS and before the Focus ST
The only thing really this size was the Puma which was a mini coupe really rather than a true hatch and a lot slower than a BRM

They tested the vi against the Alfa 145 and Escort RS a few years before
They got blistering times for the Rover vi - 7.1 to 60
The BRM was a bit heavier but still on par with a Clio Willy/306 Gti-6 to the benchmark 100mph





Edited by s m on Sunday 10th February 11:11

Alex P

168 posts

66 months

Sunday 10th February
quotequote all
Baldchap said:
J4CKO said:
F1GTRUeno said:
J4CKO said:
Only apparently just over 100 left of the original 795
At first I read this and thought how ridiculous that sounds but then I guess the scrappage scheme would've put paid to a lot of them? Rust and maintenance for a few more.

Guess lots might've been wrecked in crashes too and maybe some turned into rally/track cars?
Its a 20 year old sporty Rover 200 and I guess thats not a bad survival rate compared to most other 1999 cars.
I'd bet compared to the average it's doing very well at 1/8th left. You don't see many prefix plates still driving round these days.
According to the OP in the initial thread, including the Sorned cars (circa 200), there are about 300 of the original 795 UK cars left. That is a 3/8ths survival rate which I would say is pretty good.

Alex P

168 posts

66 months

Sunday 10th February
quotequote all
s m said:
Alex P said:
As mentioned, if they were a VW or Ford, they would be worth much more now - ironically, at the time these were new (98-99), neither Ford nor VW really did a hot hatch as good as the BRM.
To be perfectly fair though, in 98-99 Ford didn’t do a hot hatch at all!
It was after the Escort RS and before the Focus ST
The only thing really this size was the Puma which was a mini coupe really rather than a true hatch and a lot slower than a BRM

They tested the vi against the Alfa 145 and Escort RS a few years before
They got blistering times for the Rover vi - 7.1 to 60
The BRM was a bit heavier but still on par with a Clio Willy/306 Gti-6 to the benchmark 100mph





Edited by s m on Sunday 10th February 11:11
Those road test times were quicker than I expected - according to this the BRM was significantly quicker than the 1.8 turbo golf. Interestingly the later ZR 160, with a bit more power had an official 0-60 time of around 7.7/7.8 seconds. The MG TF with the same engine and similar kerb weight had an official time of 6.9 seconds. Perhaps the TF had better traction being mid-engined and the BRM's diff made a big difference? Not sure what Autocar were saying about the gearchange - I thought it was great. As for size and space, the 200/ZR of this shape was between Fiesta/Polo and Golf/Escort/Focus.

Rover offered them at £14k at the end, which is when my bro bought his new one (V429 ABE). At this price I think they made more sense than the original £18k. When my brother's first car was taken to the scrap yard a few months after the write-off - car was in gear when shunted, the front seats were taken out and mounted on frames - he still has them in the house! I think they also made a very brief appearance in one episode of Lewis as the house he was living in at the time was used for filming.

The hottest Focus at the time was the newly launched 2.0 Zetec - the ST170 was not around then. I think the hottest Fiesta as the time was the 1.6Si - did the 1.6 Zetec S come later with the facelift of the model?


s m

17,152 posts

141 months

Sunday 10th February
quotequote all
Alex P said:
s m said:
Alex P said:
As mentioned, if they were a VW or Ford, they would be worth much more now - ironically, at the time these were new (98-99), neither Ford nor VW really did a hot hatch as good as the BRM.
To be perfectly fair though, in 98-99 Ford didn’t do a hot hatch at all!
It was after the Escort RS and before the Focus ST
The only thing really this size was the Puma which was a mini coupe really rather than a true hatch and a lot slower than a BRM

They tested the vi against the Alfa 145 and Escort RS a few years before
They got blistering times for the Rover vi - 7.1 to 60
The BRM was a bit heavier but still on par with a Clio Willy/306 Gti-6 to the benchmark 100mph





Edited by s m on Sunday 10th February 11:11
Those road test times were quicker than I expected - according to this the BRM was significantly quicker than the 1.8 turbo golf. Interestingly the later ZR 160, with a bit more power had an official 0-60 time of around 7.7/7.8 seconds. The MG TF with the same engine and similar kerb weight had an official time of 6.9 seconds. Perhaps the TF had better traction being mid-engined and the BRM's diff made a big difference? Not sure what Autocar were saying about the gearchange - I thought it was great. As for size and space, the 200/ZR of this shape was between Fiesta/Polo and Golf/Escort/Focus.

Rover offered them at £14k at the end, which is when my bro bought his new one (V429 ABE). At this price I think they made more sense than the original £18k. When my brother's first car was taken to the scrap yard a few months after the write-off - car was in gear when shunted, the front seats were taken out and mounted on frames - he still has them in the house! I think they also made a very brief appearance in one episode of Lewis as the house he was living in at the time was used for filming.

The hottest Focus at the time was the newly launched 2.0 Zetec - the ST170 was not around then. I think the hottest Fiesta as the time was the 1.6Si - did the 1.6 Zetec S come later with the facelift of the model?
Yes, that’s right - no real competitor from Ford around then. You could get a normalish Focus with 128bhp or a 90bhp Fiiesta 1.4 but not a proper hot hatch
ST170 came later and the Zetec S came in 2000.
Times for these Rovers were always fast
200 vi was 7.1 and 20.5 when tested

itcaptainslow

2,158 posts

74 months

Sunday 10th February
quotequote all
Autocar haven’t got a clue about the gearchange-it’s lovely! Really slick, accurate and fast if you want it to be-it’s not far behind the Puma I had, which is up there for most heavenly gearshift ever.