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Rover P5

Rover P5 Published: 19th Dec 2017 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Rover P5
Rover P5
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Why should i buy one?

Like the Jaguar we feature here, this Rover has to be one of the best kept secrets in the classic market offering low cost, lazy luxury and yet it was a car deemed good enough for Royalty and heads of state – from Wilson to Thatcher. The ‘conservative’ P5 should get your vote if that’s your sort of sporty rather than sports saloon.

 

What can i get?

The P5 enjoyed a production run of 15 years in both saloon and ‘coupé’ guises. Apart from the addition of a Buick-based V8 in 1967 (where the car acted as a test bed for this great engine that served so many later Rover and specialist cars), changes were moderate, majoring on refining the basic design such as introducing disc brakes (1960), and a lowered, tighter suspension in time for the sportier Coupé body option two years later in 1962. For ’65, power steering along with a mild facelift, better seats and interior trim plus separate heating controls, front and rear, were made standard.

The real advance came with the P5B, the letter denoting the 160bhp (US) Buick 3.5- litre V8. Apart from that engine, there were visual changes such as racy Ro-style sports wheels, revised side indicators and recessed front fog lights. That was about it, save new dials for ’72 plus altered front seats, so go for condition rather than any year or model.

According to the P5 owners’ club, the 3.5 Litre is the most popular survivor accounting for 80 per cent of its members. Decent P5s start from £5000, while the top 3.5 Litre Coupés fetch in the region of £12,000-£16,000 with really nice ones nudging the £20K barrier; saloons are valued some £3000 lower, as are 3 Litre models. The club says it has over 2000 cars on its books but, obviously, not all are on the road and, in terms of condition, many are in a sorry state and maybe not worth restoring whatever their price.

 

What are they like to drive?

Not unexpectedly most interest lies in the P5B care of its smooth and speedy V8, allowing this sober-suited Rover to embarrass many sports cars (as well as Jags), despite being stifled by the nonetoo- sporty auto ’box.

Don’t dismiss the 3 Litre though! Yes, it’s considerably statelier although the later Westlaked-tuned models are notably perkier. Best of all the ‘straight six’ is a far smoother and silkier unit than the V8 and satisfactory if you don’t want a BMW M5-like drive.

Anyway, wafting best describes how you pilot any P5 cross country otherwise the resulting lurching and rolling is most unseemly for such regal a vehicle, so on this score the Jags are more satisfying and speedier. Comfort levels – as expected of a car chosen alike by monarchs and ministers – is of a high order.

For the majority of potential buyers we’d agree with the P5 club and say that the later 3.5 Litre ticks the most boxes, not so much for its added poke, but because spare (and tuning) parts for that engine are in abundance. They also look utterly brilliant as tasteful two-toned Coupés, don’t they?

 

What are they like to live with?

A P5 is the much simpler car to maintain than a Jag because there’s no overhead camshaft shims to worry over although the straight six’s unusual ‘semi sidevalve’ engine design makes adjusting the valve clearances tricky and a chief reason why many don’t run at their best. There’s a lot of shared bits between the P4, P5 and Land Rover, which means there is a strong supply of new and second-hand parts although body rust can be ruinous. First port of call is the club (roverp5club. org.uk); good parts suppliers include J.R. Wadhams, David Green, Geoff Arthur, Roverpart and Ely Service.

 

We reckon

A pedigree chum that offers a lot of quality car for money and less flashier than a Jag.



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