For obvious reasons, most preserved or restored Rover P4 cars today are found in the U.K., where the P4 Drivers League (see Rover Links page) was founded over 20 years ago. Today the League has several hundred members, and it sponsors several events throughout the year. Its a grand sight at these events to see so many fine old cars gathered together, virtually all of them in immaculate condition. The picture here was taken on the Leagues 1996 Heartbeat Tour, and shows John Gorhams 60 at a location that will be familiar to all devotees of the Heartbeat TV series.
Considering the relatively small number of P4 cars produced, its
perhaps remarkable that so many can still be found in the lands and
dominions beyond the seas, where conditions can be hostile and spares hard to obtain. In Canada and the northern states of
the U.S.A., the salt used for de-icing the roads in winter is the
great enemy. Even a P4s robust chassis and aluminium bodywork
arent proof against constant attack by salty slush for four or five months of the year unless suitable
precautions are taken. As a result, many North American P4s ended
their useful lives long before their basic mechanical components
were worn out.
Here is a 1957 105R as seen in 1996 in a breakers yard in Ontario, Canada. This was the P4 model that had Rovers ingenious, if somewhat inefficient, fully automatic transmission. When first seen in 1995, this car could still have been restored. A year after this picture was taken, there wasnt much left. A sad sight.
In a field near Grimsby, Ontario, this 1961 100 is being rolled over to allow the removal of its
gearbox and overdrive. As can be seen, many other parts have
already been removed for preservation and re-use.
To end this page on a personal note, here is my own P4, a 1959 90, photographed in 2006 at Gravenhurst on Lake Muskoka.
Bought from a doctor in 1965 -- Rovers were traditionally known as doctors cars -- the 90 had 56,000 miles on the clock. It served as my daily transport until 1975, when the combination of a broken rear spring and a shattered windscreen, both in the middle of winter, forced its retirement.
In 1988, with a repaired spring and new windscreen, the Rover was back on the road. Today, it is in constant use from April to November -- the salt-free months in Ontario. Still in original form apart from the addition of an overdrive (which allows comfortable cruising at 70 m.p.h) and radial tyres, the Rover continues to provide comfortable, reliable transport.
Over the winter of 2005/2006, a comprehensive restoration was carried out, with new sills, all dents fixed, new rear bumper, other chrome bits re-plated, a completely re-done interior (to factory standard, by Diamond Trim of Aurora, Ontario), and new paint in the Rover colour "Light Navy". The valves were re-ground and a new water pump and front suspension bushes fitted.
Given all this, Ive no doubt that shell be rolling along, in her silent and stately
way, for another 50 years.
Please use your browser's "Back" button to