Foreword: In the 1960s the Rover Company carried out test drive programmes on its own Lode Lane test track, the MIRA proving ground at Nuneaton and on specific circuits of public roads, conducted by drivers employed for that purpose. However, as an engineer-led company it was not uncommon for the design and development engineers to carry out their own trials, as opposed to what might be called life or endurance testing.
As Rover's Brake Project engineer, my father, James Shaw, took part in cold weather testing in Canada and Sweden, hot weather testing in Greece and Kenya as well as brake performance tests on the Stelvio Pass between Switzerland and Italy.
The following is based on a report describing a run to Athens, Greece to assess high-speed running, brake performance and hot weather operation of the V-8 variant of the Rover '2000'-style car.
Note to restoration enthusiasts: Some development vehicles started off life as standard cars 'off-the-line' but they were 'used and abused' to the extent that they often became quite different vehicles. The only time they were in 'concours condition' (if ever) was the day they were handed over to the development department.
The opening lines of the report are revealing:
"... This was the third journey for the car, the second for the engine/transmission unit and the first for the tyres, brake pads, brake discs and brake master cylinder."
That is the sort of statement that could be made of most of the development vehicles and demonstrates the impossibility of restoring them to 'original condition'.
[Transcript of Report JS/PJT/P6.16.F.1 dated 16th of October 1967 from Mr. J. Shaw to Mr. G.R. Hills copied to Mr. R.N. Oxley, Mr. R. Nash & Mr. C. Horne]
Solihull - Athens – Solihull.
11th to 28th of September 1967. [Vehicle TXC730F]
The objects of this test were:-
1. To add a nominal 5000 miles [8000 km] by a journey to Athens and return, some of this mileage to be over some of the rougher sections available. This was the third journey for the car, the second for the engine/transmission unit and the first for the tyres, brake pads, brake discs and brake master cylinder.
2. To observe and comment on the car and its components.
3. To observe and comment on the Ferodo 2430 brake linings fitted for comparison with the Ferodo 2424F specified and used on the earlier runs.
Odometer Out 11254 Trip mileage 5516 [8877 km]
Odometer In 16770
Overall: Average Speed 44.7 mph [71.9 km/h]
Consumption 22.1 mpg [12.8 l/100km]
The journey to Athens (Glyfada) was made directly over the
better roads and was completed by the 16th at an average speed of
52.7 mph but with only 2123 miles covered.
A 200 mile circuit based on Glyfada incorporated 50 miles of rough road and together with the Greek, Yugoslav and Swiss rough road parts
of the return journey and a circuit based on Split gave an estimated total of
about 300 miles of rough road.
In a 40 minute crawl-stall-crawl traffic state in Athens
the engine coolant temperature rose to 212°F in 92°F ambient air. Out of town
the ambient was about 12°F lower.
The rear dampers usually knocked from ‘cold’ but there
were two mornings when this was not observed.
There was tyre whine especially on smooth surfaces, wet or
dry, and this might be found objectionable by some people. Tyre squeal was not
Straight line running in the first few hundred miles was
criticised but it was realised during the latter part of the return journey that
this was no longer objected to.
Three possible explanations for this change are offered:-
1. Driver familiarity.
2. ‘Machining’ or ‘bedding’ of the tyres changing the shape and or position of the contact patch.
Initially the pressures were “as set” at Solihull, but on the 17th
they were reset to 30 lb/in2 all-round (in the absence of
An annular crack was observed inside and out, high on the buttresses of the right rear tyre, at Santa Maria 15819 odometer. The other tyres did not show this.
The ride was, of course, good under all conditions and
although less well-controlled after the rough work was still of good standard.
The garage check at Santa Maria disclosed that the rear
dampers appeared to be pumping air and that the rear exhaust mounting rubber had
failed in tension across the lower fixing holes before 15819 odometer.
The bonnet to wing gap viewed in the wing mirror was
disconcerting to the vehicle occupants especially the front passenger and most
of all at speed when it appeared to increase and also to flutter. It is
suspected that headlight flashing and gesticulations by oncoming lorry drivers
were intended to draw attention to the apparent insecurity of the bonnet.
It should be noted that the right side bonnet/wing gap is
now greater than when built due to jostling by a herd of cows when the car was
held up in a line of cars in an Austrian township. This same incident was
responsible for the loss of the side lamp tell-tale.
The spare wheel mounting, blanking motif was stolen during
the overnight stop in Southend.
Window whistle was heard from the left front vent window.
Top speed was disappointing at 115 mph. usually (120 mph on
one downhill, wind-assisted occasion) 5000 engine rpm giving 108 mph.
Acceleration was likewise not as sparkling as might have
been expected. The erratically delayed gear changing some accelerator kickdown
and the D1 to L lever movement did nothing to brighten the
impression. The “greasy haired foreigners” (R. Glenton) were not as easily
discomforted as recollected from my last year's P5B trip (BXC620B). The gate-type
gearchange on this latter helped by reducing the driver/gearbox signalling time.
The gearchange slide buzzed from time to time.
At maximum speed there was a heavy heterodyned vibration
and at lower speed, about 80 mph, there was shake with some torsional
oscillation of the steering wheel. No balance weights appear to have been shed,
but by 13408 odometer the left wheel trims had rotated (D.O.R.) hard enough
against the valves to angle them from normal. These were reset with a reverse
bias but was soon fouling hard again. The right rear joined the defaulters at
14947 odometer but the right front did not capitulate until 15819 miles. The
rims, once moving appear to require resetting more and more frequently. On the
Stelvio day, only 71 miles with perhaps only 5 miles of Umbrail rough was
sufficient to move the front left and right rear trims against the valves and
the left rear also, but not against the valve.
It was observed that the wheel trims fitted into the wheels
so deeply that it was difficult to engage the prising end of a wheel brace.
The unsteadied rear view mirror vibrated. Indicator
flashing rate was illegally high (aprox. 150 cpm). The interior light switch
failed at 15780 odometer. The boot lid plastic dome was found to have melted at
158190 odometer and shortly afterwards the lamp failed to light.
On the rough sections to Titograd the (almost full) fuel
gauge needle was vibrating severely as also was the tachometer needle. These
vibrations looked destructive and expensive but both units continue to function.
The tachometer was frequently erratic around 2000 rpm.
When the engine oil was drained it was found that only 1 US
gallon (6.7 Imp. pt) was necessary to reach the level mark. The following day
(200 miles later) the dip stick showed that more oil was needed, but an extra
quarter US gallon (2.1 Imp. pt) to make 8.8 Imp. pt (9 Imp. pt called for in
Owners Maintenance Manual p.52) gave an overfull indication.
Apart from the oil change, no oil was required. This is
pointed out only because the dip stick warns against overfilling.
The engine required choke to start from ‘cold’ and the
choke could not be dispensed with completely, immediately after starting or even
after the warning light showed.
On a few occasions after having run 100 or more miles the
engine stopped when the vehicle stopped, not after high decel stops.
Sometimes a knock was observed from the engine at about 2000 rpm.
Pinking was occasionally observed, probably due to
variations in the quality of the Super petrol used.
On one occasion 6 gallons of Regular had to be used rather
than risk running out. Light throttles were then used and the earliest top up
with Super made. The tank was then run as low as possible to get a fullest fresh
fill with the minimum residual contaminant.
Within 3 miles of leaving Santa Maria on a rising piece of
road the engine appeared to lose torque for a few seconds, recover, fade,
recover, fade and finally recover. Nothing was done to the engine and the
phenomenon never reappeared.
Dust entered the boot to a great extent and hoteliers
sometimes looked a bit sideways at the state of the luggage.
Dust entered the interior of the car, not through the open
front windows but past the seal s. The loss of pressurisation is due to open
windows undoubtedly reduces the effectiveness of the seals. The driver’s door
was found to have dropped by 136170 odometer. Since the wiper blades were not
performing too well at 14790 odometer they were exchanged for the spares carried
in the car. However, one replacement was found to leave and unwiped area of some
15 in.² in the centre of its sweep, it was discarded in favour of the old one.
The defective blade appeared to have a slight kink partway
along its length. About 14396 odometer the clock, which had been losing about 10
minutes per day, was losing two minutes per day. Later in the trip it was
gaining several minutes per day.
On the Belgian motorway on return journey 115 mph was
sustained for about 10 minutes the engine oil temperature reached 235°F with a
coolant temperature of 85°C
The brakes with Ferodo 2430 were light-application-squeaky
throughout and on occasion were very scroopy1. Soon after reaching the German
Autobahn I, as passenger, observed the onset of the judder phenomenon which
heretofore has afflicted mainly the Chekko SCK 173 installations and within a
half an hour full violent judder was produced in 110 to 40 mph (say .4g) pull
down. Surprisingly this never recurred at this severity or as frequently as
might have been expected. Examination of the discs showed no blue spotting. The
brakes although requiring less effort due to the change from 1” to 7/8”
master cylinder still tended to attract the ‘heavy effort’ complaint for
light check braking due to change the lower friction linings.
Squeal occurred on isolated occasions in Yugoslavia, Greece
and Italy (Stelvio) but was never as worthy of note is on the North Circular
Road on the return journey. The brake pedal rubber just ‘fell off’ on return
The discs and pads will be examined and pad wear assessed.
The attached sheet gives the daily and cumulative data.
The fuel and oil costs/mile was 2.78 pence [1.15p].
Overall, the car was comfortable and quiet (except for the high-speed noise) and might be described as a ‘quiet 2000 TC automatic with 2000 TC manual performance’.
Brake Project Engineer
1 Scroopy - Scots dialect: The sound of new boots when walking into kirk (church).
|Odometer||Daily miles||Cum. miles||Day||Daily running time||Cum. running time||Daily average speed||Cum. average speed||Notes|
|11448||163||194||Mo. 11th||3:15||3:15||to Southend|
|11844||396||590||Tu. 12th||6:45||10:00||59||55.9||to Würzburg, Germany|
|12260||416||1006||We. 13th||8:09||18:09||50||57||to Krumpendorf, Austria|
|12648||388||1394||Th. 14th||8:00||26:09||47.5||52||To Belgrade, Yugoslavia|
|13074||46||1820||Fr. 15th||7:28||33:37||57.5||53||To Salonika, Greece|
|13408||334||2154||Sa. 16th||6:54||40:31||48.5||52.7||To Glyfada, Greece|
|13417||9||2163||Su. 17th||0:20||40:51||27||52.5||Rest day|
|13617||200||2363||Mo. 18th||5:37||46:28||35.5||50.5||Circuit circa Athens|
|14003||386||2749||Tu. 19th||9:00||55:28||43||49.5||To Ionina|
|14396||393||3142||We. 20th||9:00||64:28||43.5||48.5||to Skopje, Yugoslavia|
|14673||277||3419||Th. 21st||8:20||72:48||33.5||46.5||to Titograd, Yugoslavia|
|14947||274||3693||Fr. 22nd||7:10||79:58||38.5||45.8||to Split, Yugoslavia|
|15102||155||3848||Sa. 23rd||5:05||85:03||31||45||Circuit circa Split, Yugoslavia|
|15476||374||4222||Su. 24th||8:45||93:48||43||44.5||to Krumpendorf, Austria|
|15819||343||4565||Mo. 25th||9:15||103:03||37.5||44||to Santa Maria, Switzerland|
|15890||71||4636||Tu. 26th||2:36||105:39||27.4||43.5||Garage check. Stelvio View|
|16298||408||5044||We. 27th||8:50||114:29||46||44||To Limburg/Lahn, Germany|
|16759||461||5505||Th. 28th||7:48||122:17||59.2||44.8||To Ostend to Solihull|