Rewinding back to the past with what’s believed to be a world first, the Rover 200 & 400 Owners’ Club staged a fully authentic recreation of the original Rover R8 launch held in 1989. Celebrating three decades of Rover’s ground-breaking hatchback, the recreation was authentic to same October 10 date, albeit 30 years on!

The event was hosted at the original venue of Lucknam Park Hotel, commemorating the venue’s first ever press launch. Adding further authenticity were former Rover press officer Kevin Jones and former PR director Denis Chick, who were present to give a recreation of the press briefing and showcase the 1989 TV launch advert. Club chairman John Batchelor was also on familiar ground, having worked as Rover’s chassis engineer for medium cars at the time.

Rover R8 Launch

The first ever R8 off the production line, G79 XKV, pictured with Kevin Jones on the left and Denis Chick on the right.

Similarly, members of hotel staff at the original event attended, as well as multiple journalists who attended back in 1989. At the entrance to the hotel, the four launch specifications available (214Si, 214SLi, 214GSi and 216GSi) were given pride of place, with the immaculate quartet including the first ever R8 off the production line.

The day concluded with a re-run of the original 50-mile test route, with authentically reproduced press packs also distributed. Over 20 cherished examples of Rover’s hatch were present for press old and new, as well as proud owners on what proved to be a fantastic idea for celebrating the car’s milestone anniversary. Why has nobody thought of such a clever celebration before?