Rover 75 (1999-)

DEADWALKING

It ain’t Rover ‘til it’s Roewe

AWARDED a gong as the most beautiful car in the world in 1999, the original 75 was the only all-new BMW-era Rover, even though some 40 percent of its underpinnings were shared with the acclaimed E39 5 Series.

Later also badged as the MG ZT, both models sold well in the UK amid persistent shutdown rumours and limited resources after the Germans discarded the remains of the once mighty British Motor Corporation for just £10 in 2000.

But they barely made a blip on the Aussie radar, while dwindling global sales, mounting losses and alleged mismanagement finally killed UK production in April 2005.

That would be that, except two rival Chinese firms – SAIC and NAC – acquired the 75 design and entire MG Rover tooling respectively. But then Ford, which owned Land Rover, snapped up Rover, forcing SAIC to create the Roewe marque for the 75-based 750 it launched in China in 2007.

NAC, meanwhile, re-released the ZT as the MG 7, though both vehicles have evolved in the interim. Confused?

Join the club.

16 YEARS

AGE IN HUMAN YEARS

114

AFTERLIFE

The last vestige of the once dominant British Motor Corporation

HIGHLIGHTS

Classy mix of modern British and Rover retro

LOWLIGHTS

Breathless V6, ugly wagon a missed opportunity