Car of the Month : August 2003

August brings us a fine example of Solihull engineering at its best: the Rover P6B.

The example featured this month belongs to Rover P6 Drivers’ Club archivist John Windwood, and is very much in rude health following a major (and necessary) restoration. Below is the story of this pretty Rover, and the compelling case for running one of these cars on a daily basis, as told by John himself…

Rear view shows clean and unspoiled lines, accentuated by the optional Cosmic alloy wheels.

I bought the car about six years ago as a virtual wreck with a VERY dubious MOT. When I tried to fit rear seatbelts for the kids, I discovered that the parcel shelf had rotted away, taking most of the boot floor with it. Most of the roof/boot and bonnet guttering was also missing (a very rare pattern of rot on a P6) and yet the sills and floors were all fine. I later discovered the reason for this from a previous owner: the car had had a Webasto sunroof fitted at some point in the past. The corrosion had been exacerbated somewhat, because it had stood unused under a tree for 12 years(!) during the 1970s and 80s and the Webasto sunroof had rotted. In doing so, it let water into places that would not normally be a problem!

It took me two years to sort the car; they don’t make repair panels for those areas, so I had to laboriously cut out the relevant sections from a scrap car and weld them in. I had a cheap respray done in Brigade Red; as the car was to be my daily driver, I couldn’t justify a quality paint job because of the possibility of easy damage in supermarket car parks! I have also fitted period Cosmic alloy wheels, tinted glass and a better set of cream leather trim. It also now has those rear seatbelts for the kids!

David Bache‘s styling at its best: the P6 was a landmark car for Rover, as it was a technical leap into the unknown. The gamble paid off and Rover sold 327,000 P6s during its 14-year production run.

The car has only covered 60,000 miles, and is still on its original engine. I had the automatic gearbox rebuilt, and have replaced brakes and shock absorbers; otherwise it is mechanically sound. As planned, it is now my daily driver, and basically I love it! Big, roomy, powerful, turns heads and is very cheap to run, as I do all repairs myself. Even the fuel consumption isnt too bad: 25-28mpg (urban).

A couple of images from the comprehensive restoration.

Keith Adams

Editor and creator AROnline at AROnline
Created in 2001 and built it up to become the world's foremost reference source for all things BMC, Leyland and Rover Group, before renaming it AROnline in 2007.

Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...

Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.
Keith Adams

Be the first to comment

Add to the debate: leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.