R3 UK only?

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MikePR3
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R3 UK only?

#1 Post by MikePR3 » Fri Oct 12, 2018 9:12 pm

Hi,

A bit of an odd one this, but if anyone can help me I figure I will find them here!

I am doing academic research into the history of BAe and am looking into their ownership of Rover.

In particular I am interested in the development of the R3 200. I am trying to find out if it really was a British car, rather than a Honda.

My understanding is it used the front floorpan/suspension/bulkhead of the R8, with the H frame of a Montego and a new body.

I also understand that the R8 front suspension and floorpan (the front at least) was different from the Japanese Concerto, but the same as the European ones built at Longbridge.

I am trying to find out if the R3 used the UK specific (designed/built) parts of R8 and whether Rover had to pay Honda a license fee for these or not.

In other words, was R3 a British car or not?

I am digging into what BAe did with Rover, in particular how much money they put in and got out. If it went to Honda in licenses, then not much I would assume.

Any help appreciated. If anyone knows of any technical diagrams or part lists etc. comparing R3 and R8 etc. that would be great.

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Re: R3 UK only?

#2 Post by montegoman » Fri Oct 12, 2018 11:13 pm

You are generally correct in what you have said. John Batchelor (GTi John on here) is your man. He was involved in the development of the R3 as well as the R8. I am sure he will respond to you.
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Re: R3 UK only?

#3 Post by crepello » Fri Oct 12, 2018 11:20 pm

Do give us a heads-up when your conclusions have been reached!
It could be enlightening to have a judgement based on data - there's plenty of emotional prejudice to go round already.

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Re: R3 UK only?

#4 Post by GTiJohn » Sat Oct 13, 2018 10:03 am

Hi Mike,

I worked for Rover and specifically on R3. I'm still in contact with many other people who where also there at the time.

I'd be very interested to assist and understand the direction of your research. I do have some info and photos which could help. I'll add a bit more of a reply shortly.

You wouldn't happen to be anywhere near Coventry tomorrow morning would you? We'll be attending our AGM at the Motor Museum.... Or there's the Classic Car show at the NEC in Nov.

Rgds,

John
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Re: R3 UK only?

#5 Post by MikePR3 » Sat Oct 13, 2018 11:52 am

John,

Thanks. Unfortunately I can't make Coventry tomorrow. November might be possible.

I am trying to understand the BAe crisis of the early 1990s. Part of them getting out of that mess was selling Rover. Clearly, if R3 looked like it would generate cash that could be returned to shareholders, rather than Honda license money, that should have been priced in when sold to BMW.

One interesting archive find is the mid 80s plan of using AR6 as a basis for booted/stretched AR5/7 to replace Mini, Metro, Maestro and SD3 as the bottom part of ARG's future range, with XX and the related AR16/17 at the top end. This was seen as essential by the pre-BAe management as it was only by keeping the volume part of the business separate from Honda payments that adequate cash could be generated to keep ARG alive.

I do wonder if R3 had a similar rationale, especially with the use of all-British engines, another issue that Harold Musgrove fought for.

Mike

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Re: R3 UK only?

#6 Post by crepello » Sat Oct 13, 2018 1:57 pm

MikePR3 wrote:
Sat Oct 13, 2018 11:52 am
I am trying to understand the BAe crisis of the early 1990s.
Didn't one of the principal actors in this saga go on to take the starring role in the demise of GEC?

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Re: R3 UK only?

#7 Post by GTiJohn » Sat Oct 13, 2018 5:11 pm

The R3 programme was a BAE-funded programme, delivered solely by Rover Group with no involvement from Honda post early discussions on whether Honda wished to peruse it as a joint programme. Much in the same was that Freelander 1 was discussed. Honda declined in both cases, probably as the already had the Civic/Ballade range.

The £103m engineering programme was conducted mainly from Canley, (which closed during this time) for styling, packaging and early Body/Trim engineering, Longbridge for Chassis, Powertrain and Manufacturing Engineering and Cowley for most of the Body engineering.

It did take a modified R8 Rover 200 front end, bulkhead and front floor and added a new rear end to package the Montego estate H-frame suspension, fuel tank,exhaust system and spare wheel. The existing R8 rear suspension only allowed any 2 of the previous 3 components to be packaged and as a whole cost over £100/car more than the R3 set-up.

Unfortunately I'm not aware of the licencing arrangements but I suspect little if anything was paid to Honda. The best people to ask are the authors of the book "When Rover Met Honda" who are probably contactable via the publishers.

It is certainly true that Honda profited significantly from the licencing arrangements with Rover but it is business. Rover benefitted by staying afloat which the probably wouldn't have done with Honda. It's a funny old business!

If you haven't found AROnline yet, that will almost certainly give you much more info.

PM me if you've got specific questions or would like to arrange to talk.

PS. Coventry was only on the off chance :wink3
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Re: R3 UK only?

#8 Post by MikePR3 » Tue Oct 16, 2018 11:56 am

John,

Thanks a lot for that. The cost seems lower than that stated on AROnline - did the £103m exclude tooling?

The modified R8 parts put me in mind of 'Trigger's Broom'. I have also been wondering how much of R8 was ARG original - perhaps thefront end was derived from AR6, which ran at the same time AR8/R8 was under development - the latter replaced the AR5/7 derivatives of AR6. Spen King's love of simple suspension certainly seems to have been part of R3.

If ARG had paid for the parts of R8 that were different from the Japanese Concerto that would explain their re-use in R3.

I will try and get the When Honda Met Rover book, and see if I can contact the authors. It does seem that by rejecting SK3 and Pathfinder/Freelander Honda were already starting to separate from Rover under BAe.

As I grew up with a Triumph 1300 it's good to hear Canley were involved!

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Re: R3 UK only?

#9 Post by montegoman » Tue Oct 16, 2018 5:01 pm

Copies of "When Rover met Honda" are available from BMM Gaydon. It was out of print for a while but copies were certainly for sale at Gaydon the last time I was there.
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Re: R3 UK only?

#10 Post by GTiJohn » Tue Oct 16, 2018 7:54 pm

MikePR3 wrote:
Tue Oct 16, 2018 11:56 am
John,

Thanks a lot for that. The cost seems lower than that stated on AROnline - did the £103m exclude tooling?

The modified R8 parts put me in mind of 'Trigger's Broom'. I have also been wondering how much of R8 was ARG original - perhaps the front end was derived from AR6, which ran at the same time AR8/R8 was under development - the latter replaced the AR5/7 derivatives of AR6. Spen King's love of simple suspension certainly seems to have been part of R3.

If ARG had paid for the parts of R8 that were different from the Japanese Concerto that would explain their re-use in R3.

I will try and get the When Honda Met Rover book, and see if I can contact the authors. It does seem that by rejecting SK3 and Pathfinder/Freelander Honda were already starting to separate from Rover under BAe.

As I grew up with a Triumph 1300 it's good to hear Canley were involved!
My understanding that the £103m would include tooling but not changes to the manufacturing facilities to accommodate the new model. I have no source for the figure - it's just one I heard and it stuck.

I prefer to think of the R3 as a demonstration of what resourceful engineers can do for next-to-nothing :wink3

You may be right about AR6 front end but that didn't get past the concept stage so I was unaware of it.

I wouldn't have thought that ARG/RG would have had to pay royalties for new parts such as the front end components of AR8/R8 and this would certainly help them in their re-use on R3.

The LM10/11 rear suspension tooling was also in very good condition allowing its reuse, in modified form.

You may well be right about Honda's decisions on Freelander but they had no need for SK3/R3 as the Civic was a core Honda product.

Two other possibly interesting topics are :-

The origin of the codename 'R3', which came from a shortening of the original SK3 codename to fit in with the then-current 'R' names. This did cause some internal confusion with 'PR3' the MG F project. I seem to remember that SK3 also appeared in many of the Honda part numbers, which were of the form ABCDE-FG1-H234567, where the centre alphanumeric indicated the model the part was originally used on. In this case it would have been the Civic. I could be remembering this wrong though...

Both companies changed their code name during the course of the programme, Rover from 'AR8' to 'R8' as you say, and Honda from 'YY' (following on from 'XX', the 800/Legend) to 'EJ'.

Enjoy the book :-)
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Re: R3 UK only?

#11 Post by montegoman » Tue Oct 16, 2018 8:26 pm

Now don't be shy John! I am sure you mentioned that it was you that came up with the R3 project code.
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Re: R3 UK only?

#12 Post by MikePR3 » Sat Oct 20, 2018 9:14 pm

While escaping the horrors of Strictly i went looking for pictures of R3 & R8 floorpans.

I found a picture of an R8 rally car that had flipped over:

Image

and one of an R3 in a similar situation:

Image

As they had cages both drivers walked away, but the pictures do seem to show totally different floorpans. R8 is all lumpy, with seams and external stiffeners, while R3 looks more modern, with integral, diagonal stiffeners etc.

Does this mean that R3 did not use a shortened R8 floorpan, perhaps just the engine bay/steering/front suspension from R8? If so, it was much more 'all new' than I had thought. It also seems BAe spent more - perhaps by sharing a floor with another vehicle - Freelander? It seems odd to just pay for R3 to have a new floor with all the tooling costs etc.

Anyway, I am off to see if the dancing is done...
Last edited by MikePR3 on Mon Oct 22, 2018 12:32 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: R3 UK only?

#13 Post by GTiJohn » Sun Oct 21, 2018 6:30 am

MikePR3 wrote:
Sat Oct 20, 2018 9:14 pm
While escaping the horrors of Strictly i went looking for pictures of R3 & R8 floorpans.

I found a picture of an R8 rally car that had flipped over:

http://www.safetydevices.com/i/rollcage ... 499593.jpg

and one of an R3 in a similar situation:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/norfolkjohn/8094950000

As they had cages both drivers walked away, but the pictures do seem to show totally different floorpans. R8 is all lumpy, with seams and external stiffeners, while R3 looks more modern, with integral, diagonal stiffeners etc.

Does this mean that R3 did not use a shortened R8 floorpan, perhaps just the engine bay/steering/front suspension from R8? If so, it was much more 'all new' than I had thought. It also seems BAe spent more - perhaps by sharing a floor with another vehicle - Freelander? It seems odd to just pay for R3 to have a new floor with all the tooling costs etc.

Anyway, I am off to see if the dancing is done...
What a good use of time and a couple of very interesting photos!

Being a 'Chassis man' I can't remember exactly how much of the understructure was c/o. The front end is, up to the toeboard, as this is basically the front crash structure and was known to work - it was also common between the R3 and the 96MY 'continuation' R8 derivatives (Coupe, cabby and Tourer). The rear end was new to cater for the fuel tank, rear suspension and boot floor and it wouldn't seem unreasonable for the 'bit in the middle' to be new too. There had to be a join between old and new somewhere. I'm sure it wasn't shared with any other vehicle such as Freelander though.

These may help a little :-

Image

Image
(This is a photo of the underfloor 'buck' used to determine the routes of all the new hose/pipe-runs, such as brake and fuel. The rear ARB from the Vi is present but the handbrake cables are missing.)
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Re: R3 UK only?

#14 Post by MikePR3 » Sun Oct 21, 2018 10:28 am

John,

Great stuff! Thanks a lot.

I also found this:
Image

which makes an interesting comparison to your picture. It does indeed seem that 'the bit in the middle' was new, which shows that BAe were willing to spend more than the story of a 'cut down' R8 floorpan implies.

One thing that the picture seems to show is that the structure forward of the windscreen is a different colour from that aft. Is this because it (and Europe market Concertos with the struts at the front rather the wishbones) used a Rover developed front end that they built, and attached to the standard Honda rear? If so, presumably there were no licenses to pay on it.

Anyway, interesting stuff. I did find a poor image of a Freelander 1 underside and it is very different it seems, so R3 does indeed seem to have been its 'own car'. Rather like the Metro used Mini subframes but was more than a simple Mini version.

After Strictly ended I was asked what I had been doing. I explained. 'Oh God, you're not going to start looking under cars in the street are you?' I had not thought of doing that, but maybe if I get to Gaydon I will ask them nicely! A peep under the AR6 they have may answer some questions.

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Re: R3 UK only?

#15 Post by richard moss » Sun Oct 21, 2018 10:51 pm

The R3 is a great example of how you can produce a decent car on a tight budget if you have talented engineers. The number of derivatives that Rover created from the R8 is testament to that.

The only real problem with the R3 (in my opinion) is that the front end looked a bit plain - the grille was too small and it didn't look classy enough as a result. If it had started off looking the way the 25 looked then that would have hit the jackpot from the word go. The same applies to the HHR 400 which improved immeasurably(cosmetically) as it morphed into the 45.
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