The Rover mascot began its life as an innocent pun on the most famous rovers of all – the Vikings.  As the word ‘Rover’ means ‘wanderer’ or ‘seafarer’, a Viking mascot was considered apt for the Rover company.

Mascots were popular accessories and Rover embraced the Viking. 

A shield was the most convenient shape to be placed on the front upright of a bicycle and from 1902, a motorcycle.

The radiator shape evolved from a shield to a rectangle, with the 12 hp in 1912. And in 1922, owners were offered a mascot for the radiator filler cap as an optional extra for one pound.

The 1920’s saw the adoption of the helmeted Viking and the triangular badge that intrigued generations of owners of Rover vehicles.

Rover’s upstanding Viking gave way in due course to his head alone, still with helmet. Logically, this gave way to the figurehead of a Viking Longship.

The Viking Ship prow and sail first appeared on a radiator badge in 1929 and evolved symbolically throughout Rover’s history.

First to wear the Viking head mascot and the enamel badge of the black longship ploughing through blue seas was a two-litre saloon in 1930. One of these, a Light Six, carried the distinctive badge when it raced the Blue Train through France.

A moderately shameless stunt by Dudley Noble, safe in the knowledge that the average speed of the famous express was no more than about 40 mph once all its stops and detours were taken into account. To beat it, Noble had to more-or-less drive non-stop from Calais to the Riviera.

The biggest Rover Viking badge appeared on the Rover 2000 of 1963, at the centrepiece of its grille.