1910 Rover 8 HP
Year of manufacture1910
In the same private family collection for over 60 years
1910 Rover 8hp Tourer
Registration no. not UK registered
Chassis no. K143
What would eventually become the Rover company began by manufacturing one of the landmark designs in the history of human transportation the 'Safety Bicycle'. Brainchild of John Kemp Starley, the Rover cycle featured two identical sized wheels and chain drive to the rear, thus rendering the precarious front-drive 'Ordinary', better known as the 'Penny Farthing', obsolete at a stroke. The firm's first venture into powered transportation came in 1888 with an electrically powered tricycle but it would be another 16 years, by which time its founder J K Starley had died, before the Rover Cycle Company began experimenting with the internal combustion engine. Designer Edmund Lewis was recruited from Daimler and drew up Rover's first series-production automobile, an 8hp single-cylinder car with aluminium backbone frame, an adventurous and innovative design that remained in production until 1912. Lewis followed up with a more conventional 6hp model.
This rare early Rover has the upright two-seater body typical of later examples The single-cylinder valveless engine drives the three-speeds-plus-reverse gearbox via a Rover metal-to-metal clutch, while the contracting-band rear-wheel brakes are operated by a side lever. In the current private collection since the 1950s, the car was restored for the first time in that decade and for a second time by the current owner, the former importer of Rover in Belgium, in the mid-1990s.
The latter rebuild was carried out between 1994 and 1996 by Arthur Archer of Dunmow, Essex the renowned specialist in Vintage-era Vauxhalls and Talbots. Works undertaken included rebuilding the engine, clutch, cooling system, gearbox, chassis, steering, front and rear axles, differential, rear brakes, magneto, water pump, etc and fabricating a new vinyl roof. There are associated invoices on file totaling more than £25,000 together with restoration photographs and Arthur Archer's technical notes and starting/driving instructions. The file also contains a (copy) owner's manual and cancelled Belgian registration papers.
The Rover is registered with the Veteran Car Club and has participated in many rallies in England, Belgium and The Netherlands including the 1984 Leuven classic car event where it formed the centrepiece of the Belgian Rover Club 's stand (see correspondence on file). The car is currently fully operational and has received minor recommissioning to this effect prior to the sale.