Rover was founded as Starley & Sutton Co of Coventry in 1878. As with other car manufacturers, Rover began by producing bicycles. In fact, the first Rover was a tricycle manufactured in 1883. This was followed in 1885 by the revolutionary Rover Safety Bicycle. In 1889, the company became J. K. Starley & Co Limited and in the late 1890’s, the Rover Cycle Company Limited.
With the early death of John Starley in 1901, the fledgling business was taken over by entrepreneur H. J. Lawson. The following year, the Rover Imperial motorcycle was produced. The first Rover motor car model, the Rover Eight, made its appearance in 1904. During the First World War, Rover was making motorcycles, lorries and cars.
Owing to an unsuccessful phase in its fortunes, Rover underwent restructuring and re-organisation during the 1920’s and 30’s, which saw the appointment of Frank Searle as managing director and Spencer Wilks the next year as general manager. A conscious decision was made to move upmarket to cater to people who wanted something “superior” to Austins and Fords.
The advent of the Second World War saw Rover move into the manufacture of aircraft engines and airframes and later, engines for tanks such as the Centurion and Conquerer. In the late 1940’s and early 1950’s, Rover experimented with revolutionary gas turbine-powered cars, which ultimately proved inefficient, uneconomical and unsuccessful.
1948 saw the introduction of the ground breaking Land Rover, which became a runaway success, quickly outselling Rover’s range of upmarket saloon cars and continuing to do so from the 1950’s to the 1970’s. They heyday of Rover was from the 1950’s to the 1960’s.
After continuously manufacturing cars between 1904 and 1967, Rover was sold to the Leyland Motor Corporation that same year. The Rover marque was used on cars produced by British Leyland (BL) who separated the assets of the original Rover Company as Land Rover in 1978. Thereafter, the Rover trademark continued to be used on vehicles produced by its successor companies- the Austin Rover Group (1982-1986), the Rover Group (1986-2000) and then finally, MG Rover (2000-2005). Following MG Rover’s collapse in 2005, the Rover marque became dormant until it was sold by BMW to Ford who had bought Land Rover from BMW in 2000. The rights to the Rover brand were transferred, along with the Jaguar Cars and Land Rover businesses, to Tata Motors in 2008.
RENT A ROVER FROM CLASSIC PARADE
We stock a number of classic Rover vehicles for hire around London and the UK. Take a look at our selection below. All come with a FREE DOORSTEP DELIVERY & COLLECTION SERVICE, as well as a GUARANTEED GOLD VIP SERVICE. We are OPEN 24/7, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
All calls are recorded for training and monitoring purposes.