When you bring up some of the best cars Britain has to offer, it’s easy to mention names like Triumph, Mini, Vauxhall, MG, and Rolls-Royce – just to name a few.
Sitting amongst these British giants is a seasoned forerunner that strikes a chord in people’s minds whenever its name is brought up. Rover has been around since 1878 and is easily one of the oldest automobile companies to date. Initially focused on manufacturing bicycles, supply and demand moved Rover into the car industry making them one of the leading automobile companies in the game.
To describe Luke Thorneycroft as a Rover fan would be an understatement. His first ever classic was a 1975 Rover 3500 automatic, but it was sold in 2013. Since then, the desire for another classic was a hard itch not to scratch.
“I was lost without [a] classic. I needed a hobby, so I was constantly looking on the web tossing between an XJ6 Jaguar and a WB Holden Statesman…”
And then, there it was…
The 4-seater sedan equipped with leather seating, 4-speed manual transmission, V8 configuration, and cast-iron headers with a stainless-steel exhaust remain true to the original 1974 Rover 3500S.
Luke first fell in love with the 3500S owned by his next-door neighbour. “It was hearing him come and go, the burble of the V8, and the sharp lines down the side of the car that got me interested,” he recalls.
It was no turning back when Luke spotted this classic in arctic white and he knew he had to have it. What you see here is exactly what Luke saw in the advertisement-mint and in pristine condition. The car’s previous owner, Trevor Tyrrell (former WA Rover Club President), owned it for 25 years and carried out a full restoration, even supplying receipts and photos of all the work he undertook.
It didn’t take much before Luke was on a plane to Western Australia to see her in the flesh. In that trip, he secured the 3500S to have it brought back to Melbourne within the week – just before his wedding! “I have a very understanding wife as she let me buy a car instead of booking [the] honeymoon!”
Since he’s bought it, Luke made a few more touch-ups of his own. The most recent upgrade he had done was the installation of a new fuse box, just so his Rover would be up-to-date with a modern system. He also had the original 4-speed gearbox rebuilt and the radiator recored to a 3 bar to improve cooling performance. Apart from the necessary maintenance measures, Luke hasn’t had any major modifications done to it.
AWARD WINNING Rover 3500
If there’s another reason for Luke to be proud of, it’s the numerous awards this car has participated in and won.
They are the:
- National Rover Rally – Outstanding Presentation 1998
- West Australian Rover Owners Club Pride of Ownership – Best Original Car 2000
- West Australian Rover Owners Club Pride of Ownership – Best P6 2000-2001
- West Australian Rover Owners Club People’s Choice 2010
- West Australian Rover Owners Club Best P6 – 2014/2015
Despite its many recognitions, the term ‘simple is best’ rings ever so strongly when reflecting on the 3500S. Luke describes the Rover as a decent car that’s still well respected today. “[It] epitomises quality and sophistication [that] you can feel in the drive and handle.
“The Rover is an under-valued car… and is a great classic for any motoring enthusiast”.’
Are you on the hunt for your very own classic car? Here’s a guide to help you navigate the secondhand car market.