Market Watch: Rover Vitesse powers up

Price bulletin, 11 August 2021.

Classic Cars magazine

by Phil Bell |

A meaty surge in values puts Rover’s heavyweight hot hatch into the lead in this month’s table of Price Guide Movers On The Up.

The figure? How does 65% grab you? If that sounds like a recipe for out-of-reach prices, we need to put that number into the context of a low starting point, one that makes Touring Car rival Ford Capris seem pricey.

It’s the Twin Plenum evolution that’s making all the moves, with entry level around £2.5k for something needing a heap of work, £5.5k for one in driver condition and £11.5k for a car in mint condition. Fancy something that will hold its head up in a concours? Budget more like £16.5k.

The Twin Plenum version was launched in 1985 allowed Rover to homologate its twin throttle body induction for the 1986 European Touring Car Championship. Power from the 3.5-litre overhead valve V8 was quoted at the same 190bhp enjoyed by the regular Vitesse, but insiders say it was more like 210bhp in the road cars.

That original Vitesse of 1982 had taken the regular all-alloy V8 from 155bhp to 190bhp using Lucas L-Jetronic fuel injection, increased compression ratio, improved gas flow and a remapped ECU.

The race cars had a lot of wins but the way points were totted up meant that it wasn’t enough to secure the Drivers’ Championship and it lost the Manufacturers’ title to BMW by just three points.

By contrast, a BMW 635CSi will cost £2.4k, £6.75k, £15.5k and £25k in equivalent condition, an M635CSi £7.5k, £15k, £25k and £37.5k.

What the Vitesse lacks in two-door coupé appeal it makes up for in family-friendly usability, and on a fast road it achieves a compelling blend of crisp handling and vigorous performance with enough civility that it doesn’t become wearing, much like a BMW M5. And of course, the Rover threw in the bonus of that gently thundering V8 that injects a bit of TVR bad boy into the mix.

Price Guide Movers On The Up is part of 18 regular pages of market tips, analysis and buying advice in the latest issue of Classic Cars and this issue includes our 7-page Price Guide Quarterly update, covering more than 1400 different models.

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