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Old 01-05-2009, 01:56 PM
BritishV8 BritishV8 is offline
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re: "European" cars with Buick 215-derived engines

Okay, I apologize for being very late to the party on this one... but if you guys are really into trivia perhaps you'd like a slightly more complete answer on the question "Name TWO production European cars that used a sixties Buick V8 in them. One of them had that motor up until just three or four years ago. One of their models may still have it for all I know."

Rover originally bought the design rights to the Buick aluminum V8 so that they could use it in their "P5" sedans. (They'd call them "saloons".) The P5 was later replaced by the "P6" model, which was later sold in the U.S. and Canadian market as the "3500S". (You might recognize the P6 as THE British police car... it appears in a lot of old movies including Monty Python's "Holy Grail".) Still later, Rover installed the same basic engine in their "SD1" model which was also exported to the U.S.A. and Canada.

Rover 3500S

Rover SD1

FWIW, it's not really accurate to call the Rover engine a "sixties Buick" because some details were redesigned or manufactured differently. Rover's version of the engine was produced in England, and was sand-cast whereas the original Buick design was made on semi-permanent tooling like a transmission case.

Of course Rover DID install their aluminum V8 in several generations of Range Rovers, ultimately bored and stroked up from 3.5L (215cid) to 4.6L. (After BMW bought Rover, Range Rovers were built with BMW engines. Now they're built with Ford engines.)

As mentioned by someone else already Rover sold their Buick-derived aluminum V8 to Morgan for use in the "Plus 8" model which was produced from 1968 through 2004.

Rover sold the engine to another independent manufacturer, TVR. TVR used Rover engines with displacements from 3.5L to 4.4L from 1983 through 1991. After that, TVR built their own engines. (Redesigned, but based on the Rover...)

A third tiny specialty manufacturer to use the Rover engine is "Westfield", who use (yes, still to this day!) it in their "SEight" model sports car. These cars looks like a Lotus "7". They've been built with displacements from 3.5L to 5.2L. Although Westfield sells "kit cars", most SEights are actually completely built to order for customers in Westfield's own shop.

Rover was part of British Leyland, and various British Leyland divisions used the Buick-derived Rover engines.

MG used the Rover V8 in two different models. The first was the "MGB GT V8" which was produced from 1973-76. MG planned to export this car - 11 left-hand-drive prototypes were built, it was engineered for U.S. crash and emissions requirements, and it was even shown at the New York Motor Show before British Leyland corporate management pulled the plug on all export sales due to internal politics. Specifically, the MGB GT V8 would have embarrased the heck out of Triumph because it seriously outperformed the TR6 and the Triumph 3L V8 "Stag". The second MG production model to use the Rover V8 was called the "RV8". It was produced from 1993-95. This car was also only produced in right-hand-drive configuration, but a large proportion of RV8's were exported to Japan.



For serious trivia buff's, it might be interesting to note that in the early eighties some MG "Metro" subcompact hatchbacks were fitted with a special 90-degree all-aluminum V6 engine that was based on the familiar Buick/Rover V8. (It didn't use any parts from the Buick V6.) For about a month, these little cars completely dominated their rally racing class... until the rules were rewritten to prohibit them. They weren't really a "production car", but they were at least built by the "factory".

British Leyland's Triumph division used the Rover V8 in the TR8, which was mostly an export model (for North America).

After Rover stopped producing their version of the Buick-derived aluminum V8, TVR started and continued production of their own versions of it for awhile. The engine is still in production on an aftermarket basis - it can be bought as a "crate engine".

Incidentally, a trivia buff might argue that England isn't really part of Europe in the strictly literal sense. If you buy that argument, there's no correct answer to the original question. So, we might as well talk about Australian vehicles. The Australian division of British Leyland produced their very own, unique version of the Buick-derived Rover V8 for the P76 car. (Produced between 1973 and 1976.) Interestingly, the P76 had a stroker crank and displaced 4.4L. Australians are particularly nuts about the Buick/Rover aluminum V8. You'll surely recall that Jack Brabham contracted with an Australian firm called Repco to build custom cylinder heads that he mounted on GM blocks. He used these Repco/Buick engines to win the 1966 Formula One championship. Repco re-engineered the engine (i.e. produced their own blocks) and Brabham used that Buick-derivative to win the 1967 Formula One championship. To this day, Repco still builds engines derived from the Buick aluminum V8!

The Buick aluminum V8 has a lot more racing heritage than most American enthusiasts realize. Did YOU know that Mickey Thompson's team raced a Buick 215 powered car in the 1962 Indy 500 - with rookie driver Dan Gurney at the wheel? It was the production engine that broke Offenhauser's monopoly. An Olds version of the 215 was raced by Jim Hall in his Chaparral II (circa 1965). Some of that history is here:

Jim Hall's Olds 215 (from his Chaparral II, circa 1965)

If you're curious about ANY aspect of these little aluminum V8 engines or the cars they've been installed in, we have literally HUNDREDS of articles about them in one convenient place:

In fact, if you're interested in hot-rodded British sports cars, you really need to check out BritishV8!!!
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