View Single Post
Old 23rd March 2007, 15:35   #22
Posted a thing or two
CDT Tourer (SORN) & 2.0 V6 Saloon

Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Sittingbourne
Posts: 1,058
Thanks: 2
Thanked 11 Times in 8 Posts
Default K series History

When Rover was bought out from BAe by BMW, the company was an integrated organisation producing most major components itself, with the exception of the Honda sourced mid size and V6 engines for the 400/ 600/ 800 and some gearboxes.

With BMW on board, the Honda link was cut and this was what lead to the development of the K series to 1.6 & 1.8 litre (out of necessity I suspect). All K engines were built at the Longbridge engine/ gearbox plant. The Honda engine in the 800 was hastily replaced with the early version KV6, which as I understand was designed in a bit of a hurry and had horrendous reliability problems with many reworked and replaced under warranty. This engine was built in lowish quantities and was seriously re-worked for the 75, giving us the reliable power unit we now have.

BMWs long term goal was to integrate their own engines into the Rover ranges intending to used their own engines (from their new factory at Hams Hall in NE Birmingham), which would have gone into the 75 plus the new mid range car under development (Rover 300??). This would presumably have finished the K series engine range - but of course we know what happened next......

When BMW bailed out, R75 production transferred to Birmingham and the Mini to Oxford. They took the Cowley assembly plant (now BMW Oxford for the Mini), the Swindon pressings plant, Solihull (Land Rover to Ford), Gaydon Development centre (to Ford) and the Longbridge Engine/ Gearbox Plant, (leaving the body/ assembly plant to Phoenix). This was later transferred back to the MGR/Phoenix undertaking as part of the settlement and was registered as a subsidary company known as Powertrain Limited. This of course in the main fed Longbridge for the 25, 45 and 75, the Z cars and the MGF/ TF, but also supplied the likes of Caterham, Lotus and the like. Engines produced were the K4, KV6 and the L series Diesel, and briefly the A series for the "proper" Mini that finished in 2000.

This arrangement lasted until the end, although I seem to remember hearing that the engine/ gearbox plant ran for some time after the Longbridge car assembly operations stopped, as the Powertrain plant was supplying K 1.8 and K 2.5 to Solihull (Land Rover) for the Freelander. I suspect that LR were desperate to build up a stock of engines to keep the production of Freelanders going, until re-engineered for Ford sourced power plants. Of course, the Freelander for some time also used the BMW sourced M47 engine fitted in the 75.

Any errors in the above, I'm sure someone will give me a slap and correct my prose.

Last edited by Keith; 23rd March 2007 at 18:13..
EnEnGee is offline   Reply With Quote