|Rover 200, by Gary Hetherington (brother of Tony)
In October 2000,
having just seen my brother buy a 360bhp cossie, I set about buying
my first car. Thoughts of a 205 Gti crossed my mind, but then a
friend of a friend said he was selling a 1994 Rover 220 Gsi for
£2500. Rover ? That’s an old man’s car, surely ?? Well, I’ll have
a look anyway. I loved it – bought it the next day! Worth every
penny! As a first car, 0-60 in 8.8seconds was acceptable, but
started feeling slow after a couple of weeks.
The car was
completely standard when I bought it, so I set about a few basic
modifications: Momo gear knob, K&N induction kit, smoked side
repeaters, oil pressure gauge. Unfortunately, going out in my
brother’s Escort Cosworth and Ben’s MR2 turbo meant that my car
really did feel VERY slow! However, I Was still enjoying
obliterating the 214’s, 1.1 Saxo’s, and Nova 1.2 injections !
The Race that changed my life !!
One evening after
I had owned my car for about 3 weeks, I was at the bridge (see
numerous pictures on the cruise pages) and came up behind a Rover
214 Sprint. Chuckling to myself, I dropped down a gear and went to
overtake him. As I went flying past he decided to drop it down a
gear and try to race me. HE COMPLETELY LEFT ME!!!! I was left on
the wrong side of the road, thinking “oh dear – I’ve just been
beaten by a 214”. Obviously I was not going to take this lying
down. I stopped him at the end of the road, and after much swearing
he told me it had a 2.0 litre turbo engine in it ! This was the
inspiration I needed to tune my car.
To be frank, I’m
lazy, and could not be bothered to spend a lot of time and money
tuning my existing engine –plus, by this time, I had realised it
burnt about a litre of oil a week. I had already changed the big
end shells after driving it for a week with no oil! (By the way –
anyone want to buy an engine ?) I set about buying a Rover Turbo
engine. Not as easy as I first thought. I booked a week off work
to fit it, and then spent a whole day phoning round to find one.
17:25 I finally found one. 42000 miles from a P-reg 1996 Coupe.
£1000 for everything, including gearbox and all ancillaries. I went
to pick it up on the Saturday from Northampton (2 hour drive). I am
no mechanic, and so it took me a full week to fit it – however, I
did have quite a bit of help from Jason (owner of that very same 214
sprint) who is a mechanic by trade, and Stuart (K-series tuner by
I finished the
transplant (after a few minor leakage problems) at 11 O’clock on the
Friday night – and obviously had to visit the bridge ! As can be
expected, I had a producer one hour later!
Complete list of modifications to date
(both replacing centre air vents)
Competizione alloy gear knob
£800 worth of
Rover 2.0 Litre
piston dump valve
WRX Sti exhaust (see below)
In total –yet to
be confirmed- about 210 bhp !
On a trip to a
breaker’s yard looking for an interior switch, I saw an Impreza
Turbo that had been rolled. There seemed to be only one salvageable
part on it – the back box. The standard exhaust on that model was a
3.5” tail pipe. £40 ? I bought it immediately. Yes, it was
INCREDIBLY difficult to fit, and involved a lot of welding from a
Future modifications intended
Twin head light
kit (I have heard a mail order company has started producing such
kits for Rovers)
(35 – 40mm)
17” OZ Polaris or
Miglia Spider alloy wheels (very long term)
wheel and hand brake.
drilled discs (one day !)
PS – I am 19, and
because of this I have to insure the car through my mum, which costs
me £800 a year as opposed to £3300 a year.
Thanks to Jason I
now spend every penny I earn (which is not enough anyway) on the
car, and every spare minute I have fixing something or other.
Genuine thanks do go to Jason for helping me with the engine, as
well as Stuart and Dan. Thanks to Graham for the loan of the engine
It has all been
worth it: I have raced and beaten Evo IV’s, a 944 Turbo, an old
shape Celica GT4, numerous 5 Turbo’s, and I even kept up with Ben’s
MR2 (although that was only when his boost limiter kept cutting out
at only 7psi !)
Rovers ? Old
man’s car ?