Buoyed by the positive reaction to the MG EX-E concept car at the 1985 Frankfurt motor show, the Austin Rover Group was encouraged to follow it up with the similarly forward-looking Rover CCV just six months later.
Whereas the EX-E was a design exercise, the CCV was much more likely to make production as part of the car group’s plans to crack the US market with the Sterling brand. Sterling’s first offering was to be a rebadged Rover 800 saloon, raising the possibility of a production version of the CCV coupé being built off the same floorpan.
In Autocar’s sister publication, Motor, Daniel Ward wrote: “Americans don’t like hatchbacks, so the five-door 800 won’t be going across the Atlantic a year after the saloon, yet the new dealers – no matter how enthusiastic about the 800 – will want other Sterling models in the showroom. What better than a classy, elegant coupé to reinforce the image for combining modern design and traditional British car luxury?”
To emphasise Austin Rover’s developing confidence in its designs, the CCV was unveiled at the Turin motor show, in the heartland of styling studios such as Pininfarina and Bertone.