Car Mechanics (UK)

Our Cars Peter Simp­son’s Rover 827 Coupé.

- Peter Simp­son For­mer ed­i­tor Cars · Rover · Iceland · Belarus · Kent · Peterborough · Jaguar · Belgium · United States of America · Europe · European Union · Austria · United Kingdom · Peter Simpson · CyanogenMod · Jaguar XJS

Hav­ing in­tro­duced the cur­rent Simp­son daily driv­ers in re­cent is­sues of CM, this is my fun car: a very early Rover 827 Coupé first regis­tered in Oc­to­ber 1992, three months after the model went on sale – and by chas­sis num­ber it's one of the first 800 mod­els made. She’s a low-miler – 44,000 from new – and hav­ing bought the car from the son of its orig­i­nal owner in 2012, I know its his­tory from day one.

I’ve sort-of wanted an 800 Coupé since sum­mer 1992. Hav­ing re­lo­cated from Kent to Peter­bor­ough the previous year to take up the ed­i­tor­ship of Prac­ti­cal Clas­sics mag­a­zine, I had a tem­po­rary lodger who was fea­tures ed­i­tor of Per­for­mance Car and had a grey 827 Coupé on loan from Rover as a test car. I loved it… un­til Mark revealed that the list price was £30,500, com­pared to £27,400 (a largely the­o­ret­i­cal fig­ure which hardly any­one ac­tu­ally paid) for a five-door 827 Ster­ling fast­back – and only £2000 less than a Jaguar XJS. We both sus­pected that pric­ing wouldn’t be sustainabl­e and that de­pre­ci­a­tion would be rapid. I de­cided to wait 10 years un­til they were fully-de­pre­ci­ated, even­tu­ally buy­ing one 20 years al­most to the day after that press car was re­turned to Rover!

The 827 Coupé was de­vel­oped with the Amer­i­can mar­ket in mind. How­ever, be­fore it could be launched, poor sales

forced Rover to with­draw from the US. Mil­lions had been in­vested in the design and tool­ing of the 827, so it was launched in Eu­rope in an at­tempt to re­coup its losses. It was al­ways a lowvol­ume model with a lot of hand­made con­tent – the in­te­rior, I’m told, is more or less 100% crafts­man-made. There’s also sur­pris­ingly little cross­over with other 800s when it comes to pan­els. The only saloon/hatch­back pan­els also used on the Coupé are the bon­net and front bumper; ev­ery­thing else is mod­el­spe­cific, even the front wings.

As an early car, my 827 has the Honda 2.7 en­gine, which is gen­er­ally con­sid­ered to be bet­ter than the Rover KV6 fit­ted from Jan­uary 1996. It also has a few un­usual fea­tures found only on early Coupés: the po­si­tion of the lights on the door shells, for ex­am­ple, is dif­fer­ent from the ma­jor­ity.

In terms of mileage, the 827 hasn’t been used much, cov­er­ing just over 6000 miles in six years. Most of that has been long-dis­tance stuff, be­cause she’s an ab­so­lutely fab­u­lous cruiser. Sur­pris­ingly eco­nom­i­cal for a 2.7 V6 auto, too, with 35-38mpg achiev­able with a little ef­fort. I can also say that its seats are, with­out doubt, the most com­fort­able of any car I have ever owned.

Pretty re­li­able

My only real prob­lem so far was while head­ing for the Pride of Long­bridge event back in the spring. Just after tak­ing on

fuel on the A14, the car sud­denly started run­ning roughly, be­fore cut­ting out com­pletely. Thank­fully, this happened by a turnoff, so I could await the AA in safety. The ini­tial di­ag­no­sis was that the tim­ing belt had broken but, when the starter was op­er­ated, cam move­ment was vis­i­ble through the oil filler.

The next sus­pect was a failed ignition ig­niter – ap­par­ently a common prob­lem. Be­ing 27 years old, the 827 has part­elec­tronic ignition, which means spark gen­er­a­tion and tim­ing are con­trolled by an elec­tronic ig­niter that switches power on and off to the coil at the cor­rect time. How­ever, spark dis­tri­bu­tion to each plug is still car­ried out me­chan­i­cally by means of a dis­trib­u­tor, ro­tor arm and old-school dis­trib­u­tor cap. With no points or spark-tim­ing kit, the dis­trib­u­tor is much sim­pli­fied.

Try­ing my ignition ig­niter on a friend’s 827 con­firmed that it was fine, so we took off the dis­trib­u­tor cap – not as easy as it sounds. The mo­ment we looked in­side, the prob­lem was ob­vi­ous: some­thing had over­heated, cooked the ro­tor arm and dam­aged the cap. This had been caused by the main bear­ing within the dis­trib­u­tor hav­ing failed, over­heated and seized.

Sort­ing all this did present an un­ex­pected prob­lem: though it’s young by clas­sic stan­dards, some parts for the 827 are al­ready get­ting scarce, in­lud­ing stuff that you need to keep the car on the road. In my case, a ro­tor arm was found eas­ily, as was a re­place­ment bear­ing for the dis­trib­u­tor, but be­cause the cap is spe­cific to the 2.7-en­gined 827, it’s not gen­er­ally avail­able in the UK. I had to source one from an Amer­i­can spe­cial­ist in Amer­ica called Ster­ling­fixer (Ster­ling was the brand name Rover used to sell the 800 range state­side). At $4.25 (about £3.50) the cap was hardly dear, although ship­ping costs and im­port duty brought it up to al­most £30. On dis­cov­er­ing that I could buy five for £60, I placed a bulk or­der. I kept two of them and sold the oth­ers on for £20 apiece to fel­low en­thu­si­asts, which was a good deal for all of us.

 ??  ??
 ??  ?? The 827 Coupé featured full Ster­ling spec from the start, though the name wasn’t used un­til 1996. No fac­tory options – ev­ery­thing was stan­dard. Much of the 827 Coupé was hand­made, in­clud­ing 90% of the in­te­rior trim.
The 827 Coupé featured full Ster­ling spec from the start, though the name wasn’t used un­til 1996. No fac­tory options – ev­ery­thing was stan­dard. Much of the 827 Coupé was hand­made, in­clud­ing 90% of the in­te­rior trim.
 ??  ??
 ??  ?? A re­cent break­down was due to a cooked and dis­torted ro­tor arm.
A re­cent break­down was due to a cooked and dis­torted ro­tor arm.
 ??  ??
 ??  ?? The 2.7-litre V6 en­gine in the 827 is a Honda unit, gen­er­ally con­sid­ered to be the best en­gine in terms of per­for­mance and re­li­a­bil­ity.
The 2.7-litre V6 en­gine in the 827 is a Honda unit, gen­er­ally con­sid­ered to be the best en­gine in terms of per­for­mance and re­li­a­bil­ity.
 ??  ?? The ro­tor arm dam­age had been caused by a failed dis­trib­u­tor bear­ing.
The ro­tor arm dam­age had been caused by a failed dis­trib­u­tor bear­ing.
 ??  ??

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