The Rover we all wanted as a first car

We’ve all been there when we’re looking for our first car but as you may remember, it doesn’t always turn out exciting. I remember I wanted a 1980s Rover Mini Cooper S but instead ended up with a trusty Ford KA. But the 200 BRM is another car we all at some point have wanted to own.

First shown at the 1997 Frankfurt Motor Show, the Rover 200 BRM was an instant success and became very popular among hot hatch lovers in the late 90s, and it’s clear to see why. BRM stands for ‘British Racing Motors’ and while this may not be a particularly fast car, it has some cool specs.

The BRM was based on the Rover 200 Vi model but with BRM styling from the 60s making it look unbelievable. It came with a 1.8L VVC K-Series engine which produced 143 bhp which for a 90s hatch back was unbelievable.

The exterior is famous for that orange lip against the ‘Brooklands Green’ paint which is a very marmite addition but I personally love it as it harks back to the noses on 1960s F1 cars. Inside, you will find rather punchy red quilted leather seats and matching door panels, red carpet seatbelts and steering wheel. Lots of red! To contrast this, Rover fitted alloy heater controls.

Some other changes Rover made to the 200 BRM included a 20mm lower ride height for better cornering, improved damping, they fitted a close-ratio gearbox with an upgraded differential which was developed from the Rover 220 Turbo. They also reduced torque steer and improved the cars straight line stability.

When the 200 BRM came out, it was priced very highly at £18,000 excluding all the fancy optional; extras such as air conditioning, passenger airbag and a CD player, all things we take for granted nowadays.

Rover only built 795 of these things for the UK with 350 others making their way overseas. A couple years later they cut the prices down to £16,000 when the Rover 25 came out, the price was cut down even further to £14,000 which was still rather steep for the average joe but they had to get rid of the ones still hanging around in dealerships.

As you can imagine, the 200 BRM didn’t have very good reliability being a Rover after all so therefore didn’t take off in the way it should’ve done. It’s a shame as this is such a great little car that I would love to get behind the wheel of one day.

What was the first car you dreamed of when you were 17?