Rover 3500 Vanden Plas series 2


The first of the new Rover generation was the 3500. Appearing in 3500 form, the new generation Rover rapidly proved to be the most successful and widely-appealing design in the company's history.

More dynamic in appearance and performance than its predecessors, the new car nevertheless embodied all the traditional Rover attention to detail. It also offered a new level of versatility in combining a luxury touring and business car specification with a stylish interpretation of the hatchback theme. Many improvements incorporated in the series 2 range several well-considered responses to customer requests, such as the deeper rear window with a wash/wipe facility, the return of traditional Rover interior woodwork on some models, and a new fascia/console design.

A more emphatic exterior styling details highlight the timeless Rover shape, with features such as body-colour front air-spoilers, new flush-fitting halogen headlamp units and new moulded, impact-resistant bumpers.

On the 20th January of 1982 over launched a facelifted model of the SD1 range. The new cars were built at Cowley to where the assembly lines had been transferred in December 1981. Styling changes made the series two immediately recognizable.
Headlamps were now flush mounted with the bonnet panel and a bright trim strip ran above them. A plastic radiator intake grill ran across the front of the car. The bumpers are replaced by a black mate polyurethane and are wrapped around the edges. These are trimmed by a bright chrome strip over the entire bumper. The luxury Vanden Plas model had a black side rubbing strip mounted below the body indentation with a bright insert to continue the bumper line.
The interior was also changed. A new and wider instrument binnacle greatly enhanced the interior appearance, while the steering wheel now bore a bright nameplate and the column stalks had swopped sides to meet ISO standards. The instruments revised with a digital clock with a elapsed time function and on the Vanden Plas models a multi-function trip computer was added and available on other models at extra cost.

Door trims were better quality moldings to a neater design with a walnut panel insert. On thee vanden Plas there also was a burr walnut panel across the facia. Electric windows are now operated by switches in the doors rather than switches in the console. The Vanden Plas had the pushest specification improved now by the addition of map pockets behind the front seats.

The cars are equipped now with 5 speed gearboxes and all had an automatic choke. For better road handling the 3500 (and 2600) were equipped with Boge Self levelling suspension struts. And the series 2 also were supplied with a bigger brake servo for better pedal “feel”. Pad sensors were added to the front brakes of all models with an indication light on the dashboard.

The performance matches the appearance of the Vanden Plas, thanks to the 155 bhp 3528 cc V8 engine, which whisks the big Rover up to 60 mph in 9 seconds or less, with a top speed of around 125 mph. Yet despite this sparkling performance, the fuel economy is highly creditable. In standard automatic transmission form, the steady speed economy figures at 56 mph and 75 mph are 31.9 mpg and 23.6 mpg respectively. With the 5-speed manual gearbox (optional at no extra cost) these figures become 38.8 mpg and 28.0 mpg.



On the New Gaydon Proving Ground, a new Research and development department was set up and operated by BL Technology Ltd. This created a new test location where in-depth development facilities for new vehicles could be developed and tested. Extensive test processes, engineering workshops and advanced testing and recording equipment give Rover engineers the latest means to achieve ever higher standards.

A typical example is the mobile data acquisition laboratory, as shown.

A Range Rover with special equipment was equipped to record test data directly from a moving development vehicle. Based on the information obtained about the behavior of the vehicle and components, engineers could further refine certain aspects, such as handling, comfort and durability.

At the BL Technology Servo Hydraulic Test Laboratory a computer-controlled simulator for the road simulation was used. This powerful device could  reproduce the hardships of more than 100,000 kilometers of road use in just three weeks. It could also produce selected input frequency inputs, for research into measures to reduce noise and vibrations. The enormous gain in time offered by this impressive facility meant that new or revised components could be tested thoroughly but quickly, accelerating the pace of improvement.