The Rover P6, first delivered in 1963 is, and was, the last truly good car to come from Rover. Most would point towards the SD1, but this, in many ways was a step backwards for a manufacturer that had, for a time, considered placing a gas turbine engine in the nose of the P6.
Inspired by the DS, the P6 had unstressed body panels bolted onto a large unitary frame. It also featured a synchromesh transmission, a rear de-Dion non-independent suspension set-up and disc brakes all round. Reckoned too expensive, those last two would not make it onto the SD1.
The interior included standard seat belts, a feature not made law for another five years and not made compulsory to wear for another twenty. The controls were arranged in a manner that made sense to operating the vehicle safely and efficiently. Many of those controls were designed to break on impact, one of the first cars to allow for soft human bodies. Lastly an extension to the front lamps was made proud of the front wings allowing the driver to place the nose of the car accurately during low-light.
Styled to appeal to a new executive class, one more amenable to change, the P6 was like nothing before it and was replicated by nothing proceeding it. Shades of the P6 can be found on the 75, on the headlight design and rear-three-quarter view, for instance, but that would almost be thirty years later and attached to a company that in 1963 had only just defined its Neue Klasse sports saloon. Had British management and political attitudes been different, then perhaps the 320d that now achieves 60mpg while undertaking you at 90mph on the M1 would have had a distinctly British(1) competitor.
No matter, it was always going to happen like this, it cannot be sufficiently gauged how things would have been different for better or worse. What we can do, though, is look to the classifieds, indulge the idea.
P6s’ can be had for as little as a grand, but you wouldn’t want to. Good ones start at around the £5000 mark. I’ve gone a little crazy with the imagined coffers this week, picking my perfect spec in my perfect colour, with the addition of a five-speed gearbox and some engine modification.
Personally I think its worth it. This is the car that Stephen Bayley called the ‘one of the greatest English saloon cars’.(2)
Advert reproduced below:
|European Classic Cars
Swindontel: 01672 512879 07813394167
|Here we have on offer a very interesting P6 Rover.Originally a 3500cc V8 car,fitted with the factory 4 speed manual gearbox,it has been restored and upgraded with a 3.9ltr V8 which is fed by a 500cfm Eldelbrock carb and Viper Hurricane camshaft and Magnecor leads.It also has a full stainless steel exhaust system,including the manifolds.
A 5 speed SD1 gearbox replaces the orignal 4 speed and fully adjustable AVO shocks are fitted all round.
Much of the restoration work was carried out by Annable and Son of Derby and bills exceed £25k.She looks stunning with the superb red paintwork and contrasting black vinyl roof fitted with a full length Webasto sunroof.The interior is full black leather with new,cream Wilton carpets and she sits on a set of chrome Rostyle wheels.This is a real Q car car that looks stunning,is very quick and quite unique.
1. As a side note, Vinnie Jones’ character, Big Chris, a London east-end gangster, drove one in the feature film Lock Stock And Two Smoking Barrels. The P6 has presence.
2. Bayley, S, (2009) Cars: Freedom,Style, Sex, Power, Motion, Colour, Everything, 1st ed. London, Octopus Publishing, p.246.