1987 Rover - Austin 800 825 Si 2.5 V6 PGM-FI petrol from UK and Ireland
Smooth, refined and surprisingly good fun
Believe it or not, nothing went wrong at all!
I bought this car off a work colleague for just £1800 back in 1993. Not bad for a car that cost best part of £20,000 six years previously. It was a rare manual 825Si (most were autos), in a dark metallic bronze. Nicer than it sounded and to my mind, the original 800 looked more subtle and cleaner than the facelift model with its tacky, stick on chrome grille and bulbous rear end.
The engine in the car was incredible. It was almost silent at idle, with no vibration at all. At about 4,000 RPM there was a lovely metallic growl which never became intrusive. It was a bit lifeless at low revs for a big V6 (the main reason they brought out the 2.7 version if I recall), but really came alive in the top half of the rev range. As mine had the manual 'box it was easy to exploit it, and if I did, it was a quick car - 0-60 in 7.7 seconds and 140 maximum. It also averaged 26 mpg which was not bad for the size and performance of the car.
It was good to drive too with sharp steering (for a big car) and a nice turn in. It rode comfortably, didn't roll too much in the twisties, and in the dry it put its 170 bhp down cleanly and without torque steer. In the wet it would wheelspin ridiculously easily in the lower gears, but remember front wheel drive in big cars was a fairly new thing back then.
The Si model wasn't as well equipped as the Sterling, but still provided electric everything, a fuel computer, decent (for the time) stereo and alloys. The seats were armchair comfortable and the driving position was natural. The dash looked a bit cheap though, and there were a few rattles here and there.
One sunny Summer afternoon in 1996, joyriders took a fancy to it and after being chased around the outskirts of Oxford by a police helicopter for several hours that same evening, it was driven into a ditch and set alight. Thankfully it had burned itself out before the fire brigade got there, as I didn't want it back after that anyway.
Fun while it lasted.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 20th August, 2004