DETROIT -- Clad in dark jeans and a denim jacket, looking a bit like a biker, Mike Simcoe spent a sunny Michigan afternoon recently looking over dozens of classic British motorcycles.
He strolled past all the great names -- Vincent, Matchless, Triumph, Norton, BSA -- and hundreds of old British cars at a big show west of Detroit.
Simcoe was revisiting part of his Australian youth. As he toured the grounds, a pair of bright red Rovers, an immaculate 1971 2000TC and a clean 1985 2600S SD1, caught and held his attention, taking Simcoe back to his boyhood and triggering memories of his own first car, a stately 1949 Rover 75.
Simcoe chatted with the owner of the 2000TC, an engineer. Simcoe recalled in detail the Rover's advanced (for the time) body construction -- all the Rover's exterior panels bolt on -- the car's rear suspension system. He casually dropped the name of the designer, David Bache.
Simcoe says the aerodynamically styled SD1 -- a complete break from Rover's past -- caused his dad in 1976 to switch to Holden, a company where less than 10 years later Simcoe would be at work creating some of the brand's most cherished vehicles, including the Holden Monaro and all the Commodores from the 1980s on.