RUSTY HEAPS

A Mostly British Obsession

Viking Ship (Please Enter In Rear)

1967 Rover 2000 SC

$300 Rovers (company logo: prow of a Viking ship) like this used to haunt the local paper’s classifieds–you could count on one being for sale if you needed it. Alas, I think they’ve all been scrapped by now, which is a shame, as the Rover 2000 was a very capable car, comfortable and quiet, and quite luxurious.


The one I owned was the bottom-of-the-line SC, with an automatic and single-carburetor engine. It wouldn’t pull the skin off a rice pudding, as they say. The sportier variant would be the TC, with a manual gearbox and twin carbs.

Mine had numerous problems. For one, the front doors had both sagged to the extent that they couldn’t be opened from the outside (the latch just didn’t push far enough). So, to get in, you’d open the back door and pull the handle for the front. Slightly humiliating, but any car purchased for 15-$20 bills should be slightly humiliating.

The front disk brakes squealed as loudly as any I’ve ever heard. I couldn’t afford to replace the rotors, so I lived with them. I recall pulling up to a stop on Madison Avenue in Seattle, brakes squealing away, and having the guy in the next car yell “Jesus Christ!” I don’t think he was trying to convert me, either–his ears were bleeding.

The interior was largely intact, though the leather was pretty crispy. The Rover had a very handy fuel reserve switch…by pulling a lever, the fuel pickup tube was lowered in the tank and you’d have an “extra” gallon to get to the next station. However, it also allowed careless blunders–the engine would splutter, you’d think “time for reserve” and reach over to find the lever already pulled out. Oops.

One of the safety features was the “ice alert” warning system, which is that round item on the front bumper. It lit a light in the dashboard if the temperature fell below 38, I think. Mine worked still, though I have no idea what temperature actually triggered it.

My car also wouldn’t go into park–something in the transmission linkage had broken, so you couldn’t get the car to engage that position. Neutral and a handbrake were the order of the day.

This car for me was a stopgap between the Midget and my first MGB. I sold it with ominous noises coming from the rear axle. The girl who bought it had NO business owning a tired old British car, I don’t think, but I needed her $300!

Which reminds me–when I bought the car, the fruitcake who owned it (in West Seattle, home to an inordinate number of weird cars I looked at over the years), checked each and every $20 bill to ensure they weren’t counterfeit. It took ten minutes, I kid you not, and he was very proud of his work when he was done.

2 Comments

  1. Did he ask you return the condom (unused) that you discovered in the car after buying it? I believe it was an original factory condom in “unmolested” condition. Quite rear, I mean rare. Sorry.

  2. bruce britton

    June 6, 2009 at 8:17 am

    I have a ’69 tc of the same blue. I bought it when in university back in ’85ish and brought the engine back up to strength. I had an electrical fire (smoke only) and have parked it ever since. I would love to restore it as it was a pleasure to drive. I have too many projects though, and fear this one will rust away before I get to it.

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