New Arrival – 1986 Rover 3500 Vitesse 4.6l

Last week my pre-Christmas purchase finally arrived, though it was only held up due to the festivities and luckily the previous owner was as relaxed about it as I was. I’d been had forewarned by the owner that he hadn’t been able to get it running a week before I was due to collect (and pay for) it, though he had been using it previously so I was expecting it when the day finally came (even if my bid had been for a running and driving car), and he was a nice chap to deal with. Sadly no real paperwork came with the car which is a shame especially since it’s modified and I feel it has something of a story to tell – so if anyone knows this car or anything about it please don’t hesitate to drop me a message. I’m going to be digging into more about the engine as it is one of the reasons I bought the car and you don’t see 4.6 litre Rovers all that often. The car was also a rare twin plenum car originally apparently (one of which has been on my list to purchase for a while), though obviously that is something of a moot point now as the original engine is long gone. It’s a little sad that the car didn’t remain a twin plenum car, but at the same time it has ended up as something interesting and thats good enough for me.

The car was described as being solid but the paint being thin in places, and thats accurate though I’ll admit I was hoping for it not to be quite so thin on hard edges that you can see through it, and dull everywhere else. I have little doubt that a good polish will help it look a whole lot better and the other paintwork can be done in time, though it isn’t too much of a worry as this car will be used and not a garage queen. The door cards aren’t fitted and there is no headlining, so those will be on the shortlist to complete to make the car useable, and it could also use a good deep clean inside and out, along with an inspection, service and whatever else we find along the way that needs fixing.

We got around to getting it running a couple of days after the car arrived and I walked into the workshop just in time to see it spitting flames from the exhaust (after hearing the racket from outside). It isn’t the greatest sign for the engine but it did entertain me and as it was the first time I saw the car running I felt it was something of an introduction to what will surely be a big character among our cars. I caught the flames on video and you can see them below along with a few extra images from the original listing and a few I have taken since it arrived.

Specs:

  • 1986 Rover Vitesse Twin Plenum
  • 4.6 litre Serpentine engine
  • T5 gearbox
  • Revolution RFXs
  • Rimmer’s stainless steel exhaust and manifolds
  • Gaz adjustable shocks

 

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