Throwback Thursday – Rover's sleek CCV concept, 26 April 1986

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Source : Throwback Thursday – Rover's sleek CCV concept, 26 April 1986

Austin Rover CCV concept within the mid-1980s, the Austin Rover Group had set its sights on America with the fledgling Sterling brand, in addition to also the CCV concept was envisaged as a halo design to draw in customers


Buoyed by the positive reaction to the MG EX-E concept car at the 1985 Frankfurt motor show, the Austin Rover Group was encouraged to follow the idea up with the similarly forward-looking Rover CCV just six months later.

Whereas the EX-E was a design exercise, the CCV was much more likely to make production as part of the automobile group’s plans to crack the US market with the Sterling brand. Sterling’s first offering was to be a rebadged Rover 800 saloon, raising the possibility of a production design of the CCV coupé being built off the same floorpan.

In Autocar’s sister publication, Motor, Daniel Ward wrote: “Americans don’t like hatchbacks, so the 5-door 800 won’t be going across the Atlantic a year after the saloon, yet the completely new dealers – no matter how enthusiastic about the 800 – will want different Sterling designs within the showroom. What better than a classy, elegant coupé to reinforce the image for combining modern design in addition to also traditional British car luxury?”

To emphasise Austin Rover’s developing confidence in its designs, the CCV was unveiled at the Turin motor show, within the heartland of styling studios such as Pininfarina in addition to also Bertone.

The concept – created under Roy Axe, Austin Rover’s director of design – was well advanced, as Ward explained: “The coupé can be no hurried lash-up job, as the idea was clearly the sleek shape I saw hidden under wraps at Austin Rover’s Canley design centre more than two years ago.”

The CCV retained the normal-length floorpan of the 800, giving the idea a relatively long wheelbase. In spite of the coupé styling, the design team was adamant of which normal-height adults should be able to sit within the rear in comfort.

A drag coefficient of 0.27 might have been, Rover’s designers argued, perfectly achievable when the glassfibre design prototype was made in production steel with all its mechanical parts in addition to also cooling systems.

The prototype’s large glazed roof was made coming from ceramic-coated polycarbonate in addition to also helped to keep the airflow smooth. “Such an uncompromising design can be a favourite with designers – Giugiaro’s Lotus 
Etna incorporates a similar cabin section – yet 
no one has put one into production,” Ward explained.

The headlights – super-slim by the standards of the day – were another highlight. “Their advantage can be of which the designer can be not forced to compromise the low profile of the automobile’s nose in order to accommodate the lamps yet the considerable cost in addition to also complication of pop-up lamps can be avoided,” said Ward.

Disappointingly, the CCV didn’t make production within the shape of anything as exciting as the sleek concept. Instead, the idea whimpered out as the comparatively conservative Rover 800 Coupé in 1992, by which point Austin Rover had withdrawn coming from the US market.

Previous Throwback Thursdays

15 March 1986 – Renault builds a Porsche rival

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