as you know, Dads wish for his beloved Rover 75 was for it to be gifted to a British car museum after his death, and you have helped fulfil this wish...
The words above are taken from a very moving letter sent to Ian Hope (owner of the British Car Museum) from Mrs Lisa Lawry and her brother Jason in the UK.
The letter was received along with the car a few days ago, sent all the way from England to comply with the dying wishes of Lisa and Jason's father, the late Brian Groves. The entire letter is reproduced below along with the first pictures of Brian's beautiful car in its new home in Hawkes Bay on New Zealand's North Island.
Ian Hope is deeply touched, happy and proud that his museum was chosen by Brian and his family as the final home for Brian's beloved Rover 75. He is committed to preserving it for others to enjoy, forming as it does a key role in one of the final chapters of the British-owned motor industry and is also a lasting personal memorial to a man who loved his car.
About the Rover 75
The public unveiling of the Rover 75 at the Birmingham Motor Show was over-shadowed by a speech by BMW chairman, Bernd Pischetsrieder, containing criticism of the British Government's attitude to financial assistance in the redevelopment of the Rover Longbridge factory (where the new Mini and R30 was to have been produced). Press reaction interpreted this as saying that BMW were unhappy with continuing financial losses and were intending to close Rover down. This undoubtedly scared off many prospective buyers, despite the very positive reaction to the car itself. Indeed, it did (and still does) hold up very well with the Jaguar S-Type that was unveiled at the same show.
Sales picked up substantially during 2000, and it was Britain's fifth most popular new car in the month of April of that year. It was still selling reasonably well at the time of MG Rover's bankruptcy in April 2005, and only a small number of unsold 75s were still in stock by 2007, as Nanjing Automobile was preparing to re-open Longbridge.
Based on the combination of safety, performance and maintainability, the Rover 75 was found in 2011 to be the cheapest car to insure in the United Kingdom across all age groups. Based on fuel efficiency and lower taxes, the Rover 75 was found in 2011 to be the most cost effective diesel in its class.
The cars are still popular and actively supported by an active and growing Owners Club.
The 75 is engineered to a very high standard and has a torsional rigidity rating of 24,250 N·m per degree. The 75's construction was stronger than that of Audi's A4 or the contemporary BMW 3-Series. The high strength was partly a result of the large tunnel that spans the length of the Rover designed platform (designated R40) as well as the "ring of steel" around each door frame and box beams in the floor.
At the time of the launch there had been speculation within the media that the Rover 75 used the BMW 5-Series platform, perhaps due to the overall size of the model, the apparent presence of a transmission tunnel and the use of the parent company's rear suspension system. This was in fact not the case: Rover engineers had used the concept of incorporating a central tunnel which had been explored by BMW as part of their own research into front-wheel-drive chassis design. As the 75 took shape, this core engineering was passed over to Rover and evolved into the Rover 75 structure. The tunnel concept, along with the rear suspension system, was also used by the Rover engineers for the design of the Mini.
At launch the Rover 75 quickly attracted praise for its styling and design integrity. Some critics of the car labelled its styling too "retro", suggesting it had been designed with an older buyer in mind, and was not sporting enough when compared to the competition. However, the 75 won a series of international awards including various "most beautiful car" awards, including one in Italy.