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Rover 400 - The Civic Conversion Project

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Rover 400

The Civic Conversion Project

 

I was working on my Impreza, when I decided I was going to get a cheap run-around while I took it off the road to do some work on it. I bought a Rover 400 for £200. I knew nothing about the cars, and had no idea it was even a turbo (As it wasn't listed as one on eBay).

It was far too slow to be a turbo, but when I tried to insure it, they insisted it was a turbo model. After some inspection of the engine, I realised it was in fact a turbo, and I was then very interested in getting a bit more power and torque from the engine. I looked at some pictures of modified Rover 400's and they actually look half decent.

It was then, I wanted to upgrade some of the body work, such as the facelift MG ZS rear end which has a flush boot lid.

 

Somehow, I discovered that the Rover 400 shared exactly the same chassis as the Honda Civic MB 5 door, and that's when I decided to do a full exterior conversion. When I was able to get my hands on a rolling shell, I figured I'd also swap over the interior.

 

The Rover 400 has a grey and wood effect interior, which is a bit too "grandad-esque" for my liking. As you can see from the image, the interior is exactly the same.

 

Rover 400 Interior:

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Honda Civic MB Interior:

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Of course, it wouldn't be right to have an 86bhp car that looked fast, so I'll also be doing some engine tuning.

Being that this is a mechanical injection mode, digital tuning such as tuning boxes and remapping is not possible. So I will be upping the fuel intake, fitting an intercooler, and fitting a new model turbo charger. The engine already has SDi injectors capable of increased fueling. I'm probably looking at increasing the power to around 130-150, with tons more torque.

 

I'm picking up the Civic shell on Saturday, so stay tuned for updates.

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Be interesting to see how this comes along :)

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Gonna enjoy seeing an mb6 chuck out black smoke instead of blue! 

 

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I think the hardest part of this build will be the front slam panel. If the headlights and bonnet aren't compatible, it's going to be a big job to remove and weld back into place.

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I'm sure that the bumper support bar is supposed to be the same. 

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Yes, Rover had no money (allegedly)  during the development,  so they changed as little as possible. 

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Yeah the slam panels look ever so slightly different. The bumper support bar looks like it bolts off so hopefully it will be a straight swap without changing slam panels over.

 

I wasn't able to get my hands on a VTI-S front splitter. So I got a different one which doesn't look as mean but it's ok. I'm just trying to find a rear bumper splitter lip now.

 

Let the fun begin lol :lol:

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Donor car for the win, slap the Rover parts onto it haha! 

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Interior has now been stripped and will be going into the Rover tomorrow. Seats need a good clean though.

mbshell3.jpg

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There was some bad rusted on the rear of the roof which has now been fixed. It's not a professional looking job but it works, and it's protected now.

Rear ends have been swapped over finally, luckily the tail lights were exactly the same set up. Swapped over the lock mechanism, and the trim is also exactly the same fitting so that worked well also.

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I have finished the front end. It wasn't an easy task, but considering I decided not to swap over the slam panels, it turned out ok. If I was to ever do this project again (God knows why), I would definitely swap the slam panels over.

So, here we have the whole front end stripped down.

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Next up, we needed to modify the slam panel. The centre had to be cut away to allow the bonnet to close fully.

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Now we have the bonnet fitted.

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The sides of the slam panel had to be trimmed away in order for the headlights to fit under.

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We now have the front end completed.

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A few mishaps happened during the assembly of the front end. Firstly, I snapped a bolt at the bottom of the drivers side wing, not a major issue but the door now catches on the wing. There might be just enough thread to fit a nut onto it, and hopefully solve that issue.

While grinding a rounded torx bolt off the bottom of the radiator to fit the intercooler, I cut into the radiator, so a replacement radiator has been purchased. I won't be able to drive the car until I've changed it. It also comes with an intercooler, so now I have one spare which is always handy I guess.

Tomorrows job will involve replacing the drivers side doors, and that will be the exterior completed. I also need to rewire the headlights as the loom is different on the Civic. Once I get hold of a Haynes manual I'll be able to know which wires to join to which.

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I misread and thought you were just changing Honda interior into Rover. Full parts swop? WTF?

 

Buy a VTI instead?

 

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9 hours ago, burbleboy said:

I misread and thought you were just changing Honda interior into Rover. Full parts swop? WTF?

 

Buy a VTI instead?

 


It wasn't originally my intention to do this project I had an Impreza I was doing up. Sure I could buy a VTI, or even a VTI-S, but I wanted to do something completely different. Plus, I like my turbo diesel, 250-300 miles per tank, It's pretty quick with the tuning I'm doing, and it's only done 87k

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3 hours ago, Jones said:


It wasn't originally my intention to do this project I had an Impreza I was doing up. Sure I could buy a VTI, or even a VTI-S, but I wanted to do something completely different. Plus, I like my turbo diesel, 250-300 miles per tank, It's pretty quick with the tuning I'm doing, and it's only done 87k

 

Fair doos mate ;) 

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Headlights now wired up and working. I've just driven it off the driveway so we'll see how it goes :P

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Yes I like this project. Good stuff

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Huge amount of work done there mate, fair play to you. Is that the original rover front wings still fitted? I always thought they were a different shape around the headlight/ indicator? Bummer about the radiator but these things always happen. Funny seeing the swapped over parts going onto the civic too, means you now have a Ronda and a Hover on your drive! Lol

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No Dave, the wings are different at the front due to the headlights being a different shape. Yeah it is quite funny to see the swaps. All of the interior has now been swapped over also. The hardest part was swapped the window regulators over as the Rover doesn't have the wiring for electric windows. The front dash was actually not that hard to do, despite it looking very intimidating.

And, being that the donor car had a broken centre console, i had to plasti dip it to match.

 

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All that's left to do for the interior now is finish drilling holes in the door cards for the window winders. I've put the seats back in already and all the trim has also been refitted.

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Time for paint!

 

So I've got all the interior done besides the door cards. I've fixed as much as the drivers side wing as I possibly could with the little talent I have with body fillter. I've fitted a VTI-S splitter on the front. Unfortunately I was unable to source a rear lip or side skirts but when I re-colour the car I'll try and get them before I paint it. For now, I think it looks pretty good anyway.

 

I still need to fit the lowering springs and exhaust back box so it does look like it's on stilts right now.

 

I went for matte black full dip base (Similar to Plasti Dip), with a Midnight Blue Pearl top coat, finishing off with a gloss coat. Unluckily, I did get runs in the gloss, and my poor masking skills did present a few hiccups on some of the edges, but it's a learning process and I will improve on these next time I come to paint it again.

 

The Process

 

Here is the car prior to paint.

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Setting up the gazebo as my DIY spray booth.

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Car all cleaned and first coat of matte black base.

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Second coat on and starting to look good.

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Third coat of matte black.

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Final coat and ready to dry over night.

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Time to start on the pearl coats. Midnight blue pearl mixed in to 50:50 matte clear and glossifier.

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Dust coat already covering the black.

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First wet coat applied.

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Second wet coat.

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Final coats applied and looking awesome.

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I took off the tail lights and did a few coats of PlastiDip Smoke before applying the gloss. The smoke dries as a matte finish

the same as normal dip, and I wanted to go over them with gloss also.

 

Gloss applied to car, and left to dry over night.
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Jap2Jap Monthly Meet at Botany Bay, showing off my work.

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Before & After

rover1.jpg

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Thanks for viewing!

 

Few more updates to come on exhaust, springs and any other mods I do.

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Wow! That looks absolutely awesome! 

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Such a gr8 way of getting a tdi honda m gr8 stuff sir n that body colour is epic

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