1904: THE FIRST ROVER CAR
Bicycles had already achieved more or less their optimum design specifications by the beginning of the twentieth century. But cars, of course, were only just beginning. Bicycles truly paved the way for the automobile. Road construction was in full swing, and mass-production was already employed by cycle manufacturers. Cycle sales and distribution networks were well-established, and were easily adapted for selling automobiles. So by the end of the decade the roads were full of cars, lorries and buses and cyclists had to fight road congestion. Observe that the company was still named ‘Rover Cycle Co’ until 1905, when the name changed to ‘The Rover Co Ltd’ –
‘In our reports of the trials of small motor cars recently held by the Automobile Club, reference was made to the vehicle which has been constructed by the Rover Cycle Company Limited, Coventry, from the designs of Mr E.W Lewis …The engine is of the vertical single cylinder water-cooled pattern with mechanically-operated exhaust and inlet valves. The cylinder is 4 ½ in diameter by 5in stroke, and it is claimed that 8 brake horse power can be developed at a speed of 900 revolutions, while the engine is capable of acceleration up to 1500 revolutions.’
1903 Meteor Rover No 2 Light Roadster
28 x 1 1/2″ Wheels. Britannia War Grade Tyre.
This ‘time warp’ Rover roadster has spent much of its life in storage. The previous owner bought it from author Gordon Gardiner 40 years ago, but didn’t ride it because of its tall size. It features a 1st Pattern (push-down) Front Rim Brake on the left side of the handlebar, and a cable-operated Back Rim Brake with inverted lever on the right side. The front tyre is a Britannia War Grade. The photographs are on Saltdean Beach, East Sussex, at low tide.
ROVER FRONT & BACK RIM BRAKES
1902 METEOR ROVER VIDEO