Former MG Rover Designer turned Pioneer Curate, Station Chaplain of Bicester Heritage and founder of the REVS ministry, Reverend Adam Gompertz is one of the busiest – and nicest – car enthusiasts I’ve ever met.
Between pastoral duties, he’s often found penning beautiful motoring artwork or organising internet gatherings for good causes – and, this month, AROnline‘s paying tribute by featuring his wonderful Rover P4 100 as our Car of The Month.
Words and photography: Adam Gompertz
My car is a 1962 Rover P4 100, which I have owned for nearly four years, and is known as ‘Wilbur’. Bought from a chap in Dudley, it is two-tone grey with a blue interior. Being a 100, it is powered by a inline six-cylinder with the inlet valves over the exhaust ones – basically an ‘L’ shape head.
I have had a fair amount of mechanical work done, including new valves, a restored cylinder head, new gearbox mounts, a new uprated servo, an alternator replacement (I think from an original conversion some years ago) and, lately, two brand new kingpins for the front suspension.
The next big jobs will be the lower bodywork and sills. But my plan is not to have it as a concours car (I couldn’t afford to get it into that state anyway), it’s very much about using it. The interior is lovely, a little scruffy in places (the front seats could do with reupholstering), but it’s like a drawing room on wheels.
However, there is a project I would love to do (if money were not an issue) – I would love to do a Rover Restomod: imagine a P4 Touring Racer (a Rover P4 Vitesse if you like) – very much in the mould of the 1960s Coombs Jaguars. I have got as far as some photoshop visuals (see bottom of the page) – but am still waiting for a lottery win (a miracle in itself as I don’t even do the Lottery!).
That’s why I love it – it is so comfortable, well made, and you never feel anything but special when you drive it. I was first interested in it because it was different, not the usual MGB or Mini (though I love both of those) – but it was slightly left field as a choice, and it seats all four of us in great comfort. Having worked for Rover as a Designer, there is also a bit of brand loyalty under the surface.
There are some great drives I have already done like an informal convoy with others heading down to the Goodwood Revival (I just happened to find myself following an Aston Martin DB6 – although struggled to keep up), numerous trips to Bicester Heritage.
I would still love to take the P4 over to Le Mans, and also to drive it to where I used to live in the Austrian Alps, then down to Italy to do a tour of the Alfa Romeo museum, throwing in a lap of the Nurburgring along the way – the P4 would be just about the most unlikely track car (and most likely the slowest)…