I was recently introduced to the Rover P5 at a car event, and while it was always a car I was aware of, I had never really examined it in any great detail.
The Rover P5 was the higher end car offered by Rover at the time, competing with the likes of the larger Jaguars. As far as I know, it was the P5 that first had the moniker ‘Gentlemans Club on wheels’ and came at a time when Rover was at its very best – the era of the P5, P6 and Range Rover. Sadly, Rover is no more – it never really found a place in the BMC then BL Juggernaut and then later on kept trying to re-live its glory days never able to move ahead with the times.
The standard model was the Sedan – in 3 liter form. The Sedan was introduced in 1958 with an updated version of Rover’s existing F head six cylinder engine, enlarged to three liters. This was not a powerful unit, but it was extremely smooth. It had a unique (and somewhat old fashioned) head design for the time, with an overhead intake valve and a side exhaust valve, but the design had been refined over the years and worked fairly well.
Had Rover stopped there, the P5 would probably be little remembered as a nice executive car, but two things would change that – the introduction of the rakish 4 dour coupe body style (below) in 1962 and the Rover v8 engine in 1967. The picture above shows a coupe and a sedan and the differences in their roof line.
Rover had been seeking a replacement engine and were able to secure the rights of a lightweight v8 from Buick, which they improved and was ultimately used in many displacements up until the 90s. In the P5, it was introduced in its original 3.5 liter capacity and the car was renamed the P5B. the V8 propelled the car up to 110mph and gave it much livelier acceleration. Today, the P5B coupe is the model most desired by enthusiasts, although there are also many fans for the original 3 liter version.
Further information on the P5 can be found at:
- Rover P5 Club Forum
- Rover P5 Club UK
- Rover P5 (3 Litre) and P5B (3.5 Litre)
This is yet another car on my long list of cars I would like to own one day.