Unexceptional Classics

Unexceptional Classifieds: 1800-mile Rover 214

by Antony Ingram
25 November 2022 2 min read
Unexceptional Classifieds: 1800-mile Rover 214
Photos: eBay

Price: £6990
Mileage: 1800
Condition: As near to new as you’re likely to find
Advert: eBay

If you think fake grilles are a new invention, please peer within the slats of the chrome-ringed grille on this 1995 Rover 214, and note just how little of the space behind is open for air to flow through.

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It should come as little surprise of course. Firstly, there’s only a modest 1.4-litre K-series under the bonnet of the R8-generation 214. And secondly, being a facelift model, the grille is very much a stylistic element – the originals didn’t have it, and had only a small slot under the leading edge of the bonnet to admit airflow.

Said grille really only existed to bring the 200 and 400 in line with other recent Rovers, like the larger 600, and it wasn’t long before the Metro’s face was updated too, albeit without the chrome.

Grille or no grille, R8s have all been old enough for the Festival of the Unexceptional for some time now, and they’re unsurprisingly popular. Survival rates seem relatively good, they’re easy to live with, and the styling (and some might argue, the badge) conveys a little more class than some of the car’s contemporaries.

We featured a pre-facelift 214 back in April, and with under 38,000 miles on the clock reckoned that one was pretty tidy. But then this 1800-mile car comes along and shifts the goalposts somewhat.

It’s already a show-winner apparently (not surprising, given the condition), and has had only two owners from new. The original buyer kept things simple, with a bright coat of red paint for the body but little else: just a set of wheel trims, and not even the traditional flash of wood across the dashboard you’d usually find on these.

Both inside and outside look showroom-fresh and the engine bay likewise, while fuel-injection means it should be simple to run, and the R8’s relatively light body shouldn’t over-stress that 1396cc K-series.

Given it’s still on the original Michelins, we’d want to change the tyres – if the originality of those mattered that much, you could always bung them in the garage somewhere and re-fit them before sale. But there’s an MOT until June 2023, and obviously given it’s not far from being a new car, the previous tests on record look spotless.

The low mileage and relatively high price mean this Rover 214 is probably one for dedicated brand collectors, but the urge to take it out on dry days and experience a taste of 1990s unexceptional motoring would be difficult to resist.

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