|Tunnelling for England
|Old Skool Rover V8
If it ain't broke don't fix it!
Rover V8 History
The Rover V8 began life in America as the Buick 215, since then variants have been produced in England and Australia. Between 1960 and 1963 variants sold in high numbers as:
- Oldsmobile Jetfire
- Oldsmobile 215
- Buick 215 (BOP215)
BOP stands for Buick Oldsmobile Pontiac
In an era when most engines were cast iron, this 3528cc V8 was relatively expensive to produce and there were still problems to solve will oil and coolant leaks caused by the type antifreeze popular at that time. Because of these issues, Buick began producing a cast iron version of the engine and ceased production.
Step in J. Bruce Williams from Rover. As head of American operations he was tasked with investigating the use of the V8 in British Cars. In the late 1960's American cars were large and heavy compared to the more compact British saloons. Even large saloons such as the Rover P5B were small compared to their American counterparts. At 318lbs (144kgs) it was lighter than many 4 cylinder engines, yet with 200hp(SAE) it had more than twice the power. The deal to use the engine was signed in January 1965.
Since the last main-stream vehicle to use the Rover V8 rolled off the production line in 2005 (Land Rover Discovery) and the last performance versions to be produced in significant numbers were fitted to the now extinct TVR Chimaera. Production however continues with the Coscast V8.
Modifying the Rover V8 was as popular with hot rodders and kit car fans as it was with small car manufacturers such as TVR, Morgan and Bowler. After-market suppliers still produce kits to extend the capacity of this engine to 5,208 cc or 317.8 cu in (stroker kit).
- 3.5 litre (3528cc or 215.3 cu.in)
- 3.9litre (3,946cc or 240.8 cu in)
- 4.2litre (4,275 cc or 260.9 cu in)
- 4.3litre (4,280 cc or 261 cu in)
- 4.4litre (4,416 cc or 269.5 cu in)
- 4.6litre (4,552 cc or 277.8 cu in)
- 5.0litre (4,997 cc or 304.9 cu in)
Rover V8 Dimensions
Many people come to sites like this one looking for dimensions. The Rover V8 had many guises and each one was fitted with different combinations of water pumps, inlet manifolds, oil pumps, starter motors, pulleys, exhausts etc. Therefore, taking a set of dimensions and having them match a those taken from a donor engine is unlikely.
Take any dimensional drawings with a very large pinch of salt, as some measurements may vary by up to 100mm depending on donor vehicle.
Just because dimensions may seem 'OK' doesn't mean that an engine will drop in without issue. Selecting parts to make an engine short might not make it the narrowest.
To fit an engine into a vehicle for which is isn't intended, there are two options:
- Physically lower one into the intended space.
- Carefully draw up the car and engine in 3D CAD
I took option b. See my blog:
These dimensions were found on the web:
But after comparison with what I had on the floor of my garage, I decided to clarify some of these measurements. They seemed a little 'odd'.
Identifying a Rover V8
Compression ratios vary from 8.12:1 to 10.1:1. There are single plenum, twin plenum, SU carburettor, distributor, disco distributor and electronic ignition models.
Models may be known as:
- SD1 Vitesse
In order to be IVA compliant you'll need a full engine and V5 identification, but for a 'swap meet cheat sheet' see my blog:
Unfortunately, this cheat sheet does not cover later Land Rover and Range Rover, Serpentine & Thor models.