In the past, when Rover needed a V8 engine, they went to America. It makes sense; the Americans are rather good at churning out V8s. The Buick 215 small block was the basis for what would become the 'Rover V8' that would power all sorts of British cars over its career.
Land Rover used it in the Range Rover, TVR in the Griffith and Chimaera, Morgan in the Plus 8 and so on. But, by the time the 75 was set to get the V8 treatment, the Rover V8 had gone out of production. So, what other V8 could they use? The recent break-up with BMW most probably ruled out anything from Munich. A Rover with a 5.7-litre V8 from GM would have been frowned upon (quite cool though; think Jensen Interceptor). So who else produces lots of V8 engines? Ah yes, Ford.
At the time, Ford of America was putting V8s into anything with four wheels: from SUVs to Police cars, and even vans. The Ford Modular family of engines even extended to a V10, as used in the Ford 'Exxon Valdez' Excursion. So the American giant would have no trouble at all sparing a few crate motors for one little British car company.
Trouble was, Rover was a small company and they certainly didn't have the funding to develop their own engine, or transmission. So, they had to make do with whatever they could get their hands on, which was an old-school four-speed automatic. They also had the problem of redesigning the rear floor pan and suspension to handle an engine that normally powered the rear wheels. Madness.
On the outside, there is very little to distinguish a V8 from a normal 75. There are some V8 badges on the wings, but it is really only the larger front grille that gives the game away. Rover suggested it was to harken back to the look of the Rover P5B, but there is certainly a whiff of Audi about it.
The trouble is, Rover wanted £32,000 for the new 75 V8, and while a thirsty and inefficient V8 (with only two valves per cylinder) will appeal to some, it will never have mass-market appeal. Coupled to that was the alarming rate at which MG Rover was losing money meant that the writing was on the wall. On 7th April 2005, production of MG Rover cars came to an end at Longbridge. It's hard to really know many 75 V8's were made, but if you have a look at How Many Left, it would be safe to assume it's around 100.
So where does it leave this 75 V8? Well, at 37,000 miles under the belt of this hilariously understressed V8, there will be plenty of life left in it, and it does give you a rather interesting V8 burble. Then when you factor in the rarity of it, no doubt you'll probably never see another on the road. Which is a shame, as this would be perfect for wafting along the tarmac, just like the American cars this engine would normally power.
2005 ROVER 75 V8 AUTOMATIC
Engine: 4,595cc, eight-cylinder, N/A
Transmission: 4-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 260@5,000rpm
Torque (lb ft): 302@4,000rpm
First registered: 2005
Recorded mileage: 37,000 (March 2017)
Price new: £32,000
Yours for: £9,995
See the original advert here.