The Buick-Rover V8 Conspectus

Rover Era

As a result of General Motors reversing its policy of using aluminium in their new engines and returning to cast iron, and opportunity arose for Rover. Whether this was a good thing or a bad thing for GM in the US was not paramount in the minds of Rover Executives and their Engineers in the mid-1960s. For several years, Spen King and Gordon Bashford had been investigating alternative power units to power their top-of-the range cars; the 3 Litre straight-six engine found in the Rover P5 was, by this time, well past its sell-by date, being heavy and uneconomical.

It was Rover’s Managing Director, William Martin-Hurst, who secured the use of the 3.5 Litre V8 engine. Having cast his net far and wide for something suitable, he eventually decided upon the Buick 215. Knowing that the engine had recently been phased out by General Motors, he approached the company, offering to purchase the rights to build it as well as all of the tooling.

The deal was certainly an audacious one because of the fact that it involved an outright payment to the American multi-national, thereby avoiding further royalty payments in the future. The deal was hammered out during the winter months of 1964 and, by the following January, the engine was the property of Rover.

The Rover V8 would go through many incarnations and go on to power many vehicles, the vast majority of which have been listed below:

3.5 Litre

3528 cc (215 ci), 89 mm Bore & 71 mm Stroke
  • 1967 Rover P5 – 150 bhp
  • 1968 GKN-Lotus Type – 296 bhp
  • 1968 Morgan Plus 8 – 150 bhp
  • 1968 Rover P6B & P6BS – 180 bhp
  • 1970 Land Rover Range Rover – 135 bhp & Inj. x
  • 1973 MGB GT V8 – 137 bhp
  • 1975 Land Rover 101 Forward Control – 135 bhp
  • 1976 Argyll –
  • 1976 Rover SD1 – 137 bhp
  • 1978 Land Rover Series III ‘Stage One’ –
  • 1979 Land Rover 109 – 91 bhp
  • 1979 Triumph TR8 – 132 bhp & Inj. 137 bhp
  • 1980 Tara Prototype – 132 bhp
  • 1983 TVR 350i – 197 bhp
  • 1982 Rover SD1 Vitesse – 190 bhp
  • 1983 Land Rover Defender 110 – 114 bhp
  • 1983 Morgan Plus 8 Injection – 180 bhp
  • 1984 Escaro – 114 bhp
  • 1985 Land Rover Defender 90 – 114 bhp
  • 1985 Sherpa 400 Series – 132 bhp
  • 1987 Land Rover Defender 90/100 – 134 bhp
  • 1986/1987 Sisu NA-140 BT ATV – 114 bhp
  • 1989 Land Rover Discovery – 165 bhp
  • 1996 LDV Convoy – 144 bhp

3.9/4.0 Litre

3946 cc (241 ci), 94 mm Bore & 71 mm Stroke
  • 1984 Marcos Spider 3.9 SE – 190 bhp
  • 1984 TVR 390 SE – 275 bhp
  • 1986 TVR S – 240 bhp
  • 1986/1987 Sisu NA-140 BT ATV – 184 bhp
  • 1989 Land Rover Range Rover – 184 bhp
  • 1989 Westfield SEight – 207 bhp
  • 1991 Gold Cirrus Prototype – 198 bhp
  • 1991 Ginetta G33 – 184 bhp
  • 1991 Mirach Sports Car – 250 bhp
  • 1991 Pegaso Z103 – 184 bhp
  • 1991 PGO Sports Car – 184 bhp
  • 1991 TVR Griffith – 240 bhp
  • 1992 MG RV8 – 190 bhp
  • 1992 TVR Chimera – 240 bhp
  • 1994 Land Rover Defender – 164 bhp
  • 1994 Land Rover Discovery – 184 bhp
  • 1994 Land Rover Range Rover SE (P38) – 190 bhp

4.2 Litre

4275 cc (261 ci), 94 mm Bore & 77 mm Stroke
  • 1992 Range Rover LSE – 240 bhp

4.3 Litre

4280 cc (261 ci), 94 mm Bore & 77 mm Stroke
  • 1986 TVR 420 SEAC – 300 bhp
  • 1992 TVR Griffith – 280 bhp
  • 1992 Westfield SEight – 280 bhp
  • 1993 TVR Chimera – 280 bhp

4.4 Litre

4414 cc (269 ci), 89 mm Bore & 89 mm Stroke
  • 1974 Leyland P76 4.4 – 192 bhp

4.5 Litre

4444 cc (271 ci), 94 mm Bore & 80 mm Stroke
  • 1988 TVR 450 SEAC – 325 bhp
  • 1991 TVR Griffith – 286 bhp
  • 1996 TVR Chimera – 286 bhp

4.6 Litre

4552 cc (278 ci), 94 mm Bore & 82 mm Stroke
  • 1994 Land Rover Range Rover HSE (P38) – 225 bhp
  • 2003 Land Rover Discovery II – 225 bhp

5.0 Litre

4997 cc (305 ci), 94 mm Bore & 90 mm Stroke
  • 1992 TVR Chimera – 340 bhp
  • 1992 TVR Griffith 500 – 340 bhp
  • 1994 Marcos LM500 – 320 bhp

It was discovered that the 3.5 litre (215 ci) block could be enlarged to as much as 5.0 litre (305 ci) using the Buick 300 crankshaft, new cylinder sleeves, and an assortment of non-Buick parts.

5.2 Litre

5208 cc (318 ci), 94 mm Bore & 94 mm Stroke

A hot-rodded engine of maximum displacement 5.2 litre (318 ci) was achievable using the 5.0 litre block and a crankshaft with increased stroke. This stroked engine was famously used by Jeremy Clarkson in his “At Full Throttle” video, built by rover V8 specialist RPi Engineering. It went up against a race prep’d and tuned 2.0 16v Nova and won both races, in the rain!

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