Rover P5

Rover P5 1960s British classic car

The Rover P5 was transport par excellence. For years, it moved the great and the good. Government ministers - and top civil servants - parked themselves and their briefcases on its sumptuous seats. Security staff - at Downing Street, the Houses of Parliament, and Buckingham Palace - would have detected the purr of its engine a mile away. On grand occasions, then, the presence of a P5 or two was a given.

The P5 was impeccably drafted by David Bache. Its exterior was the pinnacle in saloon car sophistication. Sober lines and hues exuded gravitas. The interior, too, bespoke quality. The materials used said it all. The P5's dash was fashioned from African cherry wood. Its carpet was Wilton. There was almost a glut of luxury leather ... but not quite, of course! The P5 was a baronial mansion on wheels. The pliancy of its ride mirrored the subtlety of its styling. That was largely because the Rover P4's separate chassis was now history. The P5 was so-named because it was 'post-war design number 5'.

Seemingly, the Rover P5 was the quintessence of 'Englishness'. Ironically - from '67 onward, at least - America lay just beneath the surface. A 3.5-litre Buick engine had been installed. It brought some much-needed 'poke' to the P5 package. Previously, it had been powered by a 3-litre motor. The Buick V8 made 185bhp. P5 top speed increased to 110mph. Rover purchased the powerplant from GM. They got it at a knock-down price - when it became surplus to GM requirements. Now, not only could it ferry the crème de la crème to their soirées - it could get them there on time! Transmission of this American-sourced speed was via a 3-speed auto. Should any problems occur en route, Rover provided a toolkit. It was discreetly tucked away in the dashboard. Not that the P5's passengers would have had a clue what to do with it! Many of the key decisions of our times could not have been made without the Rover P5. And for that, we must all be thankful ... I think!


  1. A beautifull car, one of which i have owned for 37 years, I fell in love with the 3.5 litre Saloon in my late teens, and just before i hit 20 i found and purchased one, i had a couple of classic's before, but I knew this was a keeper the moment i saw it, i had seen this way before i was interested in classic cars on my bus journey to school, every morning, there it was, parked up in a driveway, never moved, covered in mildew, used as storage for old news papers, not knowing that years later it would be mine, with instructions form a friends dad, i pulled the plugs and poored oil into the chambers, left it for a couple of days, and tried by hand to crank it over, i did this for a week, but also doing checks, clearing out the rubbish, pumping tires, freeing the brakes, got to be honest, i knew very little about what to do, even though i had a couple of cars prior, eventually it was time to fire it up, a few good tries, jumps with another car, and eventually it came to life, first time in many years, it smoked really bad at first, and the engine rattled like id left spanners on the engine, but that to eventually quietened down to a smooth silky sound, now for the hairy drive back to mine, wasnt far, but for a young guy it was slow and seemed like a long trip, brakes stopped, just. i'll never forget the expeience, the smell of damp,smoke and leather mix, the first time my foot pushed the V8 peddle, the noise, and although all that is a distant memory, a happy young man's memory, i still re live them and all the great times had. everytime i turn that key,
    it now may look different, and drive much more reliably, but its the same old beast a dreamy young man way back in 83 pulled out of its resting place for the first time in many years, and eventually my mates also purchased P5B Saloons in the 80's, eight of them to be precise, but all sold by the turn of the 90's, all married and moved on, but me, im still in the 80's, well my heart is anyway, i love the P5B Saloon,

    1. John … I'm moved! Two articles now, for the price of one, so to speak. If ever I receive another reply half as good as yours, I'll be extremely pleased. Many thanks!


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