|Description||Rover P5B Coupe|
|Colour||Arden Green/Silver Birch|
|Engine size||3,528 cc|
CATALOGUE AMENDMENT: This car had a replacement body shell from a donor car during the course of the restoration.
Launched at the 1958 Motor Show, the P5 Saloon marked a new departure for Rover as it employed a monocoque construction rather than the separate chassis of the old P4. Considerably larger and more stately than the P4, it was dubbed the ‘middle class Rolls-Royce’ and immediately became the establishment’s motor of choice – the Queen is said to have been particularly fond of the Royal P5, Harold Wilson had a built-in pipe rack in his, and Margaret Thatcher was the last Prime Minister to be whisked into office in hers.
The P5B version produced from 1967 until 1973 had a larger Buick-derived 3.5-litre V8 under the bonnet in place of the original 3-litre six and really gave the car the go to match the show. With 160bhp and plenty of effortless grunt under his right foot, the chauffeur could waft his passengers to 110mph and crack 60 in under 11 seconds, even with the mandatory auto box. Coupled with surprisingly good ride and handling and some of the most comfortable seats ever to grace a motorcar, this really was the archetypal gentleman's club on wheels.
For the more caddish toffs, Rover also produced the P5B in four-door coupe style with a slightly lower roof-line, slimmer chromed window surrounds, twin-armchair rear seats and additional dash instruments, this being the most collectable variant today. Some 20,600 P5Bs were sold before production came to an end in 1973, with just 9,000 being in the desirable Coupe style.
First registered in August 1973, this particular Coupe is a very special car indeed that was restored over a five year period by a garage director as a gift for his father. The idea was to recreate as closely as possible a new Rover Coupe that the family had once owned in Arden Green with a Silver Birch roof. Unable to find a good enough unrestored car, in 2004 the vendor acquired a reasonable example with a good history and then proceeded to completely rebuild it to his own high standards.
Virtually every part of the car has been renewed or replaced as necessary including a bare metal repaint and a full interior retrim in beige hide. The engine was meticulously rebuilt, converted to run on unleaded fuel and then rolling road tuned to banish any trace of pinking – a trait that is common to these units when run on modern fuel. Even the Rostyle wheels are new (very expensive!) and the stainless steel exhaust was custom made to fit the contours of the car better than the original item. Since the car was returned to the road early last year it has covered just a few hundred miles and is said to remain in excellent order throughout.
Only reluctantly being sold due to the declining health of the father, the car comes with a large file of bills for the work to date, 15 old MOTs back to 1977 to verify the current mileage reading of 70,020, the original ‘Passport to Service’ maintenance log and the original owner’s handbook. Currently on SORN, it has an MOT until April 2012.
Your cataloguer has owned several of these wonderful cars and can confirm that not only are they extremely comfortable to drive, they also go a lot better than their staid image suggests…