Rover P5

Rover P5 1960s British classic car

The Rover P5 was private transport of the highest order. For years, it ferried the great and the good about their well-heeled business. Government ministers – and top civil servants – put down their attaché cases and relaxed on its sumptuous seats. Security picked up the purr of its engine, as one – whether at Downing Street, Parliament or Buckingham Palace. So, on state occasions, the four-wheeled presence of Rover P5s was a given.

The P5 was impeccably styled by David Bache. It was so-named because it was ‘post-war design number 5’. Its exterior was the pinnacle of saloon car sophistication. Sober lines – and toned-down hues – exuded due gravitas. The interior, too, was quality incarnate. The materials used said it all. The dash was fashioned from African cherry wood. The carpet was Wilton. Seats were, of course, luxury leather. To all intents and purposes, the P5 was a banqueting-room on wheels. The pliancy of its ride echoed the subtlety of its styling. The P4’s separate chassis was now history.

On the surface, the P5 was the quintessence of Englishness. From ’67 on, however, the US lay beneath – in the form of a 3.5-litre Buick engine. It brought some much-needed speed to the P5 package. No more running late for those executive meetings. Previously, the P5 had been powered by a 3-litre motor. Buick’s V8 made 185bhp. The P5’s top speed climbed to 110mph. The powerplant was sourced from parent company GM. Rover got it at a discount – since it had become surplus to requirements. The gearbox was 3-speed auto. Thoughtfully, Rover provided a toolkit – albeit, somewhat basic. It was discreetly tucked away in the dashboard. Not that the P5’s passengers would have had much of a clue what to do with it! Many of the key decisions of our times were made with the help of the P5. Many a soirée could not have happened without it. In motoring terms, society’s crème de la crème had never had it so good. We must be forever grateful, then, to the Rover P5 … I think!

2 Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    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,

  2. Anonymous says:

    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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