"I can't recall any specific reference to the exhaust system supplier in my researches of 1998. Had a quick shufty through my notes (Thinks, must copy some of the faxed items before they fade away completely!) but no obvious reference to supplier of exhaust, there may be something in the R40 Project Director files that I have still to trawl through. I'll let you know if I find anything. All I do remember from 1998 is being amazed at the size of the rear silencer can (it seemed nearly as big as a Mini fuel tank!) and the beautiful all-stainless finish of the original system. The engineers also noted that R40 was the very first project any of them could remember where the first off-tools exhaust system went straight on to a pre-production car with absolutely no 'issues'. Traditionally, the complex shaping and flexible mounting of an exhaust invariably led to clearance problems somewhere along its run that required tweaking before volume production.
I don't know when the system got cost-reduced to use mild steel for the back half, it may well have been during the swop-over to Longbridge, as MGR were obviously under huge pressure to cut costs. They went even further (too far?) with 'Project Drive', which is why I'm not so keen on the facelift cars, apart from preferring the original style anyway!"
"I might add that Rover Group was well ahead of the curve in the use of computer-aided design. They took an early lead in Europe through the CAD activities of Pressed Steel Fisher (Note = a sister part of the group), who collaborated with a Scandinavian Ship Design company from the early 1960s. When BMW took over Rover in 1994, they were stunned to find that Rover were ahead of them in using real-time concurrent CAD engineering across all the engineering sites. But Rover only had a tiny fraction of the engineering head count of BMW, so they had to use the best technology they could!"
I take no credit for these items, but hope you agree that it is an interesting insight to what was going on then. I am sure Ian will give me more gems in the future from his extensive archives. He did mention putting it into a book once, but he is very busy with the RSR. I am not posting this on any other club site, so tell your friends what is on the 'Community' site and respect the source by not using the info, except for your own personal use!