In 1877, John Kemp Starley (1854 - 1901) and William Sutton (1830 - 1888) created the Starley & Sutton Company to manufacture Bicycles. They were concentrating on making the bicycles safer to ride as compared to the "Penny-farthing" bicycles of those days. In 1883 , they introduced tricycles and were selling those tricycles under the Rover brand name.
In 1885 they introduced the revolutionary Rover safety bicycle and can be considered as the father of the modern bicycle. A 1889 Rover safety bicycle -
In 1889, after the demise of his business partner , the company was renamed as J. K. Starley & Company. In 1896 , with the bicycle business at its peak, the company was renamed as Rover Cycle Company. Starley also experimented with electric cars unsuccessfully and did not pursue further.
After the sudden death of John Starley in 1901 , Harry Lawson (of Daimler) took over the reins and steered the company towards motorisation - Motorcycles in 1903 and later cars in 1904. An 1903 Rover Motorcycle -
Rover continued in Motorcycle business till 1925 after which production creased.
In 1904, Rover introduced their first motorcar. A 1905 Rover car -
Rover became the well know British marque , across the world and continued to make famous car. In 1905, the company was renamed as Rover Company. Some of the famous cars of Rover are -
A 1910 . Rover Six
A 1929 , Rover Light Six
A 1940's Rover P3 -
A 1950, Rover P4 "Cyclops" - third light in the grill -
A 1960 , Rover P5 -
In the 1950s , Rover experimented with gas turbine engines and introduced the Rover Jet1, unsuccessfully.
In 1948, inspired by the U S Army's Willy's Jeep, Maurice Wilks built the Land Rover literally from the parts of a discarded Willy's Jeep. Owing to steel shortage after the war and abundant availability of aluminium from aircraft construction, the body was made of light weight aluminum. The paint was military green as this was available in abundance after the war. One of the earliest Land Rovers built based on a Willy's Jeep , a 1948 Land Rover -
Land Rovers continued to make vehicle with ladder frame till recently, when they shifted to monocoque construction.
Owning to financial difficulties, post the 1960s, the Rover company changed many hands.
In 1967 , Rover Company was taken over by Leyland Motor Corporation and integrated as Rover - Triumph division. In 1968, Leyland Motor Corporation merged with British Motor Holdings to become British Leyland Motor Company(BLMC). In 1975, BLMC was nationalised to form British Leyland (BL). In 1978, Land Rover was made as a separate brand. In 1981, in an internal reorganisation, Austin Motors and Rover Company were merged to form the Austin - Rover group.
A 1984 Austin Montego. This car was made and sold in India as Rover Montego by Sipani Motors.
In 1986, the parent company , British Leyalnd was renamed as Rover Group. The Rover group was taken over by British Aerospace in 1989 and later sold off to BMW in 1994. In 2000, in view of financial difficulties, BMW sold off the Rover brand to a consortium who named the company as MG Rover, the MG brand coming from the Morris Garages and Morris Motor Company.
A 2004 MG Rover -
Further , in 2007 , Nanjing Automotive Group of China purchased the MG brand and SAIC of China purchased the product rights of Rover car but not the Rover brand. The Land Rover brand was purchased by Ford and integrated in to their Premium Automotive Group (PAG), along with Jaguar. In 2008, Tata Motors of India purchased Jaguar - Land Rover from Ford. Currently the Land Rover brand is with Tata Motors. In China, SAIC makes Rover cars but cannot use the Rover brand name and hence these cars are being sold under Roe We brand.
The Rover Logos -
The original Rover logo is of a Viking ship.
Land Rover Logo -
Austin Rover Logo -
Roe We Logo (China) -