Roots of the King-K

Its part of the common sense, that the Honda is not the original engine of an S1.
But a friend of mine and me found a different point of view:
From 1989-1996 Rover put some Honda engines into their cars:
D16A6 (D16Z2) into Rover 216/416 GSi/Tourer
D16A8 into 1992-1995 Rover 216/416 GTi
D16A8 into 1993-1997 Rover 216 SportCoupe (Europe)
D16A9 into Rover 216/416 GTi
D16Y8 into 1997-2000 Rover 416 Auto
In addition we all know, that our Gearboxes are actually Honda PG1 ones.
Although the D16 engines were counter-clockwise we have the theory, that the Rover-K engine is actually a Honda block with Rover liners and head changed to a clockwise.
Has anybody information or knowledge that confirm or destroy our theory?
Maybe anybody of you knows some engineers which were employees of Honda or Rover in the late 80s and early 90s and know more about it.
Thanks for all the information i can get about it.


There’s been a persistent rumour for 5 years, that one day, a book will be published :wink:

I’m not aware that the Rover block casting shares anything with any Honda engine, it certainly looks nothing like any Honda casting. If there was any common design elements there with the Honda engine, they’re very well hidden.

I know the block has a different design, but as powertrain only built only a few products we think of two possible connections to Honda:
a) Honda developed the design
b) Honda produced the block

It was a new casting technique. So why should Powertrain Have had the technology to produce it?


PS: Probably some of you already recognized, that this is no “economic history investigation”, but has a realistic racing background.

K-series had nothing to do with Honda.

It was an internally designed and developed engine at Rover.

The only reason the Honda engines were used in some Rovers was down to shared floorpans and structures so some engines were carried over.

Rover have a long history of designing and developing their own engines.

From memory, we had a JV with Honda at this time. The K series was 100% BL (later Rover) and held a lot of patents on its design and manufacturing process. The cars were jointly developed and shared floor pans, suspension, electronics, from memory the only major differences were IP and Top Hat. As Rover could not afford a whole range of engines, some Honda power plants were brought in for the 800 and I think the 200/400 series.

The PG1 gear box was not Rover’s design, I seam to remember that it was a Peugeot design that they never finished, but I could be wrong. I do not keep in touch with any one from Longbridge now.

I do not want to say, that English engineers are not able to build an engine, but find any Honda feature in the K-engine. (beside they are both K-engines)

JV = Joint Venture
BL = Britsh Leyland?
IP = ?
floor pans = chassis basic?
Top Hat = cylinderhead?
Longbridge (major BL factory?)

Peugeot? - In the COC the PG1 is described as Honda part?

It was the R65 gearbox that was a jointly developed with PSA, not the PG1. Honda took the PG2 as it is known by a colleague of mine, essentially the same as PG1 but with better grade of alloy for the casings. I also understand that Honda specified shot peening to some of their gears…


yip, i have swapped innards from rover R65 gearboxes and PSA “MA” gearboxes to gain favourable ratios, there are minor differences, like 5th gear retention but essentially the same.

the PG1 gearbox shares similarities (aside from the mirror image) with the honda Y2 cable transmition as mated to early b-series stuff. telltale is the clitch spline is the same, and imperial(1") :wink:

the k block in itself has nothing to do with honda, this includes damp and wet liner blocks, all it takes is a glance over it in pieces and similar vintage (and even current) B, D , K, H series honda engines, throught they stuck with tried and tested conventional design, albeit very well optimised, the exception being the h-series with its chemically applied!? liners where all the others run press fit or cast-in steel liners.

much as i love the k, if it were indeed a honda design, it would be more optimised for high RPM use, its typically british in its small bore, long stroke, small valve, lots of torque nature. obviously i refer to the common standard examples! and all imho :slight_smile:

JV = Joint Venture
BL = Britsh Leyland
IP = Internal Property (ie the interior of the car, facia, etc)
floor pans = Main crash structure and flooring - usually the suspention pick ups as well
Top Hat = The outer body shell and any upper structure that is not crash dependent.
Longbridge = Where the K series programme office sat

Honda were very quality minded back then, if BMW had not taken over Rover it may still have been alive today. If there was any engine failure on a Honda engine during development there would be a group flown over the very next day to investigate.

Not everything was great though, I can remember them trying to get all the engineers exercising every morning. To be fair they should not have started in December!

That said Honda did take some things from Rover, the ride and handling, design methods (styling).

Also they were very impressed with the K series. I know a lot of people will not believe this but they truly believed it to be ground breaking for a production engine. (waits nervously for a tide of replies!!!)

Any way, as I said it was a long time ago that I dealt with this team, in fact some 17 years ago :confused:

Bloody Hell, how desperate have you got to be to take styling tips from Rover. IMO they produced some of the most hideous looking cars ever!!!

I did not say the style, but the styling methods.

Whats wrong with the Metro??? :angry:

IP - intellectual property (ie patent / copyright), I think.

Same sentiment, though

IP can be intellectual property but in the engineering side of the car industry the IP is usualy the facia but can also refer to other internal parts.

At Jaguar Landrover, we still use IP as a term for the dashboard, facia etc. :slight_smile:

And what about this theory:
Honda produced the castings of the block for Rover.
Maybe not all of them - only a few would be ok for me!