Skip to main content

Rover P5

Rover P5 1960s British classic saloon 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!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

FN Four

In terms of breakthroughs in the history of motorcycling, there cannot be many to rival the first in-line four engine. Belgium was the birthplace of this landmark layout. FN was the much-to-be-thanked manufacturer.The FN Four first hit the highway in 1911. It produced 4bhp. That, from a 491 cc capacity. At the time, such figures described state-of-the-art technology. Top speed for the FN Four was 40mph. Not bad - for an 8-valve inlet-over-exhaust set-up. Oh, it was air-cooled.The FN Four was light - tipping the scales at 165lb dry. Not only the motor, but the chassis, too, was avant-garde. It featured an early form of telescopic forks. A new-fangled clutch - and 2-speed 'box - only added to the FN Four's slick box of tricks. Solid shaft-drive output the power. Who, then, designed this visionary vintage? You will not hear the name Paul Kelekom shouted from motorcycling's rooftops. But, you should - for it was he who fashioned the FN Four. In so doing, he ki…

Chrysler Airflow

The Chrysler Airflow was where Art met Science! The lines of its bodywork were drawn from aerodynamics - at a time when that discipline was a mere glint in a boffin's eye! Certainly, it was far from being routinely used in automotive design. Indeed, the Airflow was the first production car to feature the fledgling craft. A 'wind tunnel' was duly developed. Even today, such systems are considered arcane ... but, in the early '30s, they were tantamount to a black art! The engineering wizards overseeing the project were Carl Breer, Fred Zeder, and Owen Skelton. Breer was the catalyst ... he had been first to be smitten by the science of aerodynamics. Zeder and Skelton soon followed suit. And it did no harm at all when Orville Wright - father of aviation - was brought on board! More than 50 test cars were built. By means, then, of painstaking refinements, the Chrysler Airflow gradually took shape.But the Airflow was not just about aerodynamics. 'Weight lo…

NSU Ro80

The styling of the NSU Ro80 was ahead of its time. At first glance, masses of glass were straight out of science-fiction. Closer inspection revealed the gently rising line of its profile - giving it a low front, high back stance - which would influence automotive design for years to come. The 5-seater body was supremely aerodynamic for a saloon car - making cruising at speed a breeze. So flawless was it outwardly that it was hardly touched in ten years of production. Just the tail-lights were modified, on later versions.The Ro80's handling was equally impressive. FWD - and precision power-steering - kept it perfectly pointed. The long-travel strut suspension soaked up bumps. High-efficiency disc brakes were fitted all round. The 3-speed semi-automatic transmission swept through the gears with aplomb. Top speed was a sound 112mph.But, of course, nothing is perfect. The Ro80 was powered by a twin-rotor Wankel engine. Unfortunately - in a rush to get the car into showroom…