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

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

  • seawise 06 Jul 2012

    it's not the turbo though is it?, looks like the standard 136 hp normally aspirated model.

    god how sad is that, which i hadn't noticed now.

  • BalhamBadger 06 Jul 2012

    Bloody hell, that is horrible.

  • Eighteeteewhy 06 Jul 2012

    Did someone say understeer?

  • ikarl 06 Jul 2012

    That's rubbish. It's not even a turbo!!

  • king arthur 06 Jul 2012

    seawise said:
    it's not the turbo though is it?, looks like the standard 136 hp normally aspirated model.

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