Old Flames – The Rover P6

Posted: May 14, 2009 by The Car Spy in Classic Cars, Rover
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Click here for Slideshow

Anyone remember when the first European Car of The Year award was held? Well, it was 1964 and it was won by a bloody Rover! Now those who only know Rover from the past decade or so will find that quite astonishing since the latter day image of the company is far less flattering than it probably deserves as a whole. 

You see Rover used to be up there with Jaguar and when the P6 was launched in 1964 it leap-frogged the leaping cat as far as automotive technological developments were concerned.

Rover had a reputation for building decent, solid cars back then and the P5, particularly in V8 mode, was a truly desirable carriage. In fact if you are looking to purchase a decent, restored P5B Coupe you will now need deep pockets. But more of that another time.

The P6 was intoduced to complement the succesful P5 and to see off those lairy Mk2 Jags and its upwardly mobile cousin, the Triumph 2000. From a technology point of view the P6 had them all licked. Bolt-on body panels, all-round disc brakes (inboard at the rear), De Dion rear suspension, and syncromesh on all gears.

The styling represented a move away from the trad British-look of the time with its four-headlamp set-up and ‘eggbox’ grille. There was something Citroen DS-like about the way the roofline tapered towards the rear and some of the subtle design details suggested that Rover’s engineers had been quite infatuated with the French Goddess.

Passenger safety was never a high priority for designers back in the early 60’s but the P6 came along and won all sorts of awards long before Volvo became the Health and Safety kings. The P6 pioneered run-flat tyres for goodness sake!

So there you have it. The Rover P6 was a well-deserved winner of the COTY award in 1964 and that is forever inscribed in automotive history.

So what is the car like today? Well if you opt for the 3.5 litre Buick V8 engined version you get a mighty impressive car that is comfortable to drive and sounds delicious too. The cockpit is surprisingly modern particularly where the instrument dials sit. OK the steering wheel is the size of the London Eye but that is all part of the car’s period charm along with the chunky rotary dials for lighting etc.

The P6 will be remembered fondly by the Police too. In fact if there was a poll for ‘Best Police Car of All Time’ the P6 would romp home. It almost became as iconic as red Routemasters and black Taxi cabs. The goodies in the Rovers chased the baddies in their Jags and Ford Zodiacs. Life was much simpler then. No plain clothes jiggery-pokery, SWAT-teams or helicopters – just screeching tyres, revving engines and nee-naw sirens.

Trying to find nice original one today is not an easy task. The P6 could rot badly eventually and the task of restoring one can be a very expensive one. There is however a thriving owner’s club and spare parts, particularly engine bits, are still obtainable.

And so we need to tell you about a Monza Red 1974 3500 V8 that has done less than 23,000 miles and is currently up for sale. The car is completely original and has never been restored or welded and was once part of a Rover collection. If you would like further details of this totally stunning P6 give us a call on ++44 1474 854490 or send an email to sales@thecarspy.net.

In the meantime click here for a slideshow of images

  1. […] Original post by The Car Spy […]

  2. Roy Carvana says:

    Driving a Rover SD1 Vitess and being a member of a Rover Club I aggree, but in some terms the P6 was outdated by the later Triumph 2500 Pi Mk2, which not only looked better inside and outside, it had a quite modern all independant suspension. Even the old fashioned big six engine made a better performance than the P6 2000 and 2200. Of course the tough image of the Rover was legendary those days and the follower – the SD1 was technically set back in some terms.
    With todays eyes – seeing those former rivals next to eachother – it is hard to choose which one would be th better choice.

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