Monday 11th July 1904
The first Rover prototype, the ‘8’ was announced. Sales of the £200 Rover 8 commenced on 1st December 1904. The Rover 8 was a small single-cylinder eight-horsepower 1327 cc car made by the British Rover car company. It was Rover’s first production car. Designed by Edmund Woodward Lewis (1870-1941) who had joined Rover from Daimler, it had an unusual structure. Instead of the conventional chassis the car had a backbone formed by the engine crankcase, the gearbox housing, the propellor shaft housing and the rear axle housing, the whole described as having a box girder section. The backbone frame, without bump-compliance at the rear apart from the tyres, was suspended from the front axle at just one point by a pivoted transverse leaf spring which made no contribution to transverse stability and the whole car rested on just three points. By 1907, Rover had discontinued the backbone frame and was using an ash chassis with steel flitch plates. Robert Jefferson and Robert Weallas drove a Rover 8 from Coventry to Istanbul, becoming the first people to cross Europe in an automobile. The first model was manufactured from 1904 to 1912, A Daimler-Knight sleeve-valve engine option was available in 1911 and 1912. Following World War I a new 998 cc (later 1134 cc) twin-cylinder eight-horsepower light car was offered from 1919 to 1925. It was in its turn superseded in 1924 by a four-cylinder 1074 cc Rover 9.