R3 UK only?

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montegoman
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Re: R3 UK only?

#31 Post by montegoman » Thu Dec 06, 2018 3:07 pm

I am sure the rear suspension was changed not only because of the handling, the H frame was cheaper to build and took up less room. The rear suspension on the R8 is overly complicated and can only be a Honda design. The Maestro & Montego were always praised for their handling & ride so why would Rover move away from a simple reliable design unless they were forced to by Honda (Compare the ride and handling of a Montego with a contemporary SD3 200). I am guessing that Honda wanted to make a giant step with the ride/handling from the SD3 and they largely achieved it, but only by producing a relatively complicated suspension system. A guy that was involved with the packaging on the R3 visited our stand at the NEC. He said that that reducing the overhang compared to the R8 meant that it was difficult to get the spare wheel well, fuel tank and rear silencer in and still have a decent sized boot. The simpler suspension took up less room and allowed them to get all three in including a 50 litre fuel tank.
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Re: R3 UK only?

#32 Post by MikePR3 » Thu Dec 06, 2018 7:10 pm

Johnny 216GSi - thanks. Ordered.

montegoman - yes, the H frame had a range of benefits. Of course, if it needed a new floorpan that offset any savings from a simpler suspension. Interesting that BAe spent to do that, rather than go for the easiest/cheapest investment option. They must have had faith that the unit cost savings would justify the up front cost.

Overall R3 is largely ignored, but it did fairly well, and was a good car. I think this magazine article is the only account of it - the AROnline article seems to be culled from it.

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Re: R3 UK only?

#33 Post by GTiJohn » Thu Dec 06, 2018 9:05 pm

You can't believe everything you read!

The R8 rear suspension is very good geometrically, it shares its concept with another rear axle - the Weissach https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weissach_axle

Luckily for Honda, nobody in Porsche spotted the likeness :wink3

It is just very costly and space consuming.

I have a lead on the R3 floor design but I'll keep my powder dry until something comes of it.
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Re: R3 UK only?

#34 Post by MikePR3 » Fri Dec 07, 2018 9:24 am

I have a lead on the R3 floor design but I'll keep my powder dry until something comes of it.
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Re: R3 UK only?

#35 Post by MikePR3 » Thu Dec 27, 2018 12:38 pm

Finally got time to read the Autocar article. Clear that the myth of it being based on R8 comes from an incomplete reading of it. Although it says it was initially based on an R8 floorpan the article also states this was later changed to a new one, with associated rear suspension change.

I do find it a bit hard to believe that the latter was driven by the need to match or better the Peugeot 306. It seems a lot to spend when surely beating Escort/Astra would be good enough.

I've also had time to watch 'When Rover Met BMW' which has quite a lot of R3 in it. Clear that reviewers at the time liked it. Also clear that Longbridge was full with R3, HH-R, Mini and Metro/100, plus remaining R8 variants and MGF assembly. I think maybe the higher price strategy was driven by production capacity constraints - no ability to chase volume, so make a virtue out of necessity.

I do wonder if 300,000 R3s a year might not have made more financial sense - higher margin than Metro and no license payments as with HH-R. But would have needed a larger export dealer network to take them all I expect.

Rover seemed unable to capitalise on designing and building a good car that was mostly their own.

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Re: R3 UK only?

#36 Post by GTiJohn » Thu Dec 27, 2018 1:18 pm

MikePR3 wrote:
Thu Dec 27, 2018 12:38 pm
Finally got time to read the Autocar article. Clear that the myth of it being based on R8 comes from an incomplete reading of it. Although it says it was initially based on an R8 floorpan the article also states this was later changed to a new one, with associated rear suspension change.

I do find it a bit hard to believe that the latter was driven by the need to match or better the Peugeot 306. It seems a lot to spend when surely beating Escort/Astra would be good enough.
The need was to be able to package the rear-end componentry - all 3 of fuel tank spare wheel and exhaust, rather than just any 2 of them - and to get a cheaper suspension onto the car. The LM10/11 H-frame did the job very well, especially when the controlled rear-steer mounting bushes where added.
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Re: R3 UK only?

#37 Post by Johnny 216GSi » Thu Dec 27, 2018 8:19 pm

GTiJohn wrote:
Thu Dec 27, 2018 1:18 pm
MikePR3 wrote:
Thu Dec 27, 2018 12:38 pm
Finally got time to read the Autocar article. Clear that the myth of it being based on R8 comes from an incomplete reading of it. Although it says it was initially based on an R8 floorpan the article also states this was later changed to a new one, with associated rear suspension change.

I do find it a bit hard to believe that the latter was driven by the need to match or better the Peugeot 306. It seems a lot to spend when surely beating Escort/Astra would be good enough.
The need was to be able to package the rear-end componentry - all 3 of fuel tank spare wheel and exhaust, rather than just any 2 of them - and to get a cheaper suspension onto the car. The LM10/11 H-frame did the job very well, especially when the controlled rear-steer mounting bushes where added.
Indeed. People who've driven the R3 say it's fun to drive - and the back end adds to that feeling. The key point for me is the price/performance ratio - it's to better the Peugeot (and others no doubt) for the right price not regardless of cost - what people really want is something that seems genuinely too good for the price they've paid, and they got that with the R3. Across the board from small to the largest engine variants, the R3 was very well received and came out on top against petrol and diesel offerings from the likes of Honda and VW at the time - no mean feat. And I agree they should have sold more, given it "plugged the gap" left by the metro but was significantly better in every way. Could have been confusion over pricing and market segment, given it had a 200 badge but wasn't physically the same size as the 200 it replaced, so owners looking to move on didn't see it as their replacement car. Meanwhile, prices were up on those for the metro, so deterring people whose budgets just couldn't stretch that far.

I personally found it odd at the time that Rover had effectively added an extra model pitched as a family-sized car, but as with most things, they did it first then the other manufacturers followed - we saw the French manufacturers with 4-seater 1xx, 2xx, 3xx and 4xx models up to medium-saloon size and many others doing the same thing, eventually. Even Ford ended up with 4 models - the Ka, Fiesta, Focus and Mondeo. Unlike other manufacturers though, Rover's model segments were a bit odd. At one point you had the 100, 200, 400, 600 and 800 - then the 200 (R3), 400(HHR), residual R8 platform models, 600 and 800, then finally the 25, 45, 45 saloon (pitched at a different market segment as a sort of 600 replacement) and 75. They didn't just stick with 4 car sizes and model names and evolve them like other manufacturers did. Maybe they were trying to maximise sales and profits, or maybe it was as a result of having to inherit some designs but having money given to them to develop others.
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Re: R3 UK only?

#38 Post by ROVER-25X » Sun Dec 30, 2018 6:09 pm

They are nice to drive, I had a 218 non-VVC and it was a hoot, handled well with ZR 160 suspension on it.

Felt more refined than the 25 too.
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Re: R3 UK only?

#39 Post by Mr Teddy Bear » Mon Dec 31, 2018 11:37 am

What are they like in a crosswind on an exposed stretch of motorway? :S

I owned a very similar shaped little Mazda and it was lethal in crosswinds, couldn't do more than 50MPH without getting blown into the next lane. It taught me just how aerodynamic the simple '3 box shape' is.
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Re: R3 UK only?

#40 Post by ROVER-25X » Sun Jan 06, 2019 8:31 pm

No bother as it was a nice bubble design.
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Re: R3 UK only?

#41 Post by MikePR3 » Sat Jan 19, 2019 8:15 am

Found this video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I3j3eBYGdrM

Mix of manufacturing and marketing material. Built by robots, driven by young couples who like to microlight!

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Re: R3 UK only?

#42 Post by GTiJohn » Sat Jan 19, 2019 8:49 am

That vid is great!

Not sure I've ever seen the first Design/Engineering/Manufacturing one before and the 'Lifestyle' one just screams "Young people buy this car PLEASE!" :laughing2

Regarding aero performance, there are very subtle edges to the R8 6th light finishers that separate the air flow at that point, preventing it staying attached and causing lift as it did famously did on the Sierra. The R3 doesn't suffer from this due to it's more curvaceous shape and the roof spoiler that changed the pressure over the backlight.
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Re: R3 UK only?

#43 Post by MikePR3 » Sat Jan 19, 2019 9:15 am

Yes, it's a great video. As a young buyer at the time (well, '98) I liked the car, until I saw the chrome grille. Always thought that did not say 'young'.Went for a Corsa. :blushing The original R3 'Rover 100' design looked better without it (as did the eventual R6 100).

The spoiler looked good, but I have wondered if it was added after a 'discovery', or was integral to the design. Early model did not have it.

Managed to see some old official files from 1985-1991 at Kew. When R6 was launched it was stated that by the early 1990s Rover might well exit the small car market entirely. Hence AR6 not progressed, nor the Maestro/SD3 replacements derived from it, with R8 in their place instead. Government wanted even more Honda content in the latter, e.g. engines and front suspension, i.e. a simple Concerto re-badge. Perhaps AR6 engineering 'off the shelf' allowed the front end changes?

The reason for R3 going ahead is not in the files. With BAe almost going bankrupt it is curious that they seemed to spend enough to do R3 properly. Small cars and 4x4s were the company's strength. I wonder if Oden was the result of a marketing brainstorm around these facts.

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Re: R3 UK only?

#44 Post by montegoman » Sat Jan 19, 2019 10:57 am

We were fairly young when we first bought them 20 years ago! I remember seeing the R3 at the Earls Court Motor Show in 1995 and being very impressed with how modern it looked particularly after the recent launch of the dowdy 5 door HH/R.
My wife to be as she was then bought her first R3, a 220D 3dr in Jan 1999 and I remember how impressed I was with it. We took it to the Lake District for a weekend and was so impressed with its power, economy and handling, far superior to the 214Si 3dr R8 she had before it. She has now owned R3s exclusively for 20years!
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Re: R3 UK only?

#45 Post by GTiJohn » Sat Jan 19, 2019 12:20 pm

Having also has a string of R3s as Rover management lease cars my wife was most upset when I told her that she couldn't have another due to me not actually working for Rover after being assigned to the Land Rover part of the business in the BMW sale to Ford/Phoenix.

She was not happy having to drive a Fiesta :laughing2
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