With the growing popularity of 1990s classics, it’s no surprise that Britain’s once-proud Rover marque attracts a bigger following than many. Here are three 90s Rovers you should consider.
Rover Metro (1990-1998)
Be it patriotic enthusiasm or a rose-tinted affection for a lost British brand, there’s a lot of Rover love out there at the moment and that’s finally starting to be reflected in the prices, with the best examples of 90s Rovers finally achieving decent sales results.
Aside from the Mini, which has its own collectability, the smallest of the 90s Rovers was the Metro, or 100 as it became when it sprouted a shiny grille. Years of festering in the banger doldrums with values eroding as rapidly as its rear wheelarches are now behind the Metro, and while £1000 was enough to buy a really good one just five years ago, in recent times the popularity of the Metro, especially among younger enthusiast, has seen prices shoot up.
First it was the 1980s Austin models, but now the Rover versions have followed suit. A 6000-miles-from-new 100 Kensington recently changed hands for £5995, which was roughly what it cost new, while £4000-£5000 isn’t unusual for a good Metro 16v GTi.
Lesser models are creeping up, too. For a rot-free Metro with low miles (and they are out there), £1500-£2000 is quite normal.
Rover 200/400 ‘R8’ (1989-1995)
Moving up in size, the 200/400 R8 models, which celebrated their 30th birthday last year, are also gathering a head of steam. There are still quite a few good low-mileage examples out there and while they’re not attracting investor interest yet, they’ve gone from being £500 for a good one to £1500 in the past three years, with Honda-engined 216 and 416 models especially popular. The ‘Tomcat’ coupe is particularly strong, with good 2.0 Turbo models well north of £4000 in the best condition.
The later 200 ‘R3’ and 400 ‘HH-R’ derivates have yet to find their classic feet, though, and with a few notable exceptions such as the curiously lurid 200 BRM and warm-hatch Vi models, there’s no real collector interest yet. £1000 will still buy you a really good one of either, but they’re starting to appear more frequently at classic events and it’s only a matter of time before they also start to nudge up in value.
Rover 600 (1993-1999)
The 600 is the ‘forgotten’ Rover – a great car, based on the Honda Accord and actively undermarketed by Rover when BMW took the helm, as it was no longer profitable. It survives in very small numbers and is bound to grow in value soon, but like the R3 200 and HH-R 400 it’s still near the bottom of its curve. Find a good 620 Ti with the 200bhp turbo engine, or a plush 623 GSi and sit on it, for like its smaller brethren, the 600 is bound to attract attention soon.
That has already happened for the Rover 800, which went from being a giveaway bargain banger to a collectable classic almost overnight. Nostalgia for the brand’s last really big saloon and a classic example of supply no longer meeting demand have seen the best 800s really accelerate in price – recent auction sales have seen two reasonably good Mk1 models sell for over £3000 when just five years ago they’d have struggled to break a grand. The best ones are now £5000 cars.
Later 800s, with the chrome front grille, are less collectable for the moment, though the V6-engined Sterling and the turbocharged Vitesse are already up there at a similar price level. Then there’s the quirky two-door coupe, which never depreciated as much as the saloon or fastback models and still commands £3000-£4000 in good order. It’s a surprisingly posh if oddball motor.