Car of the Month : September 2007

For many, the Rover P4’s arrival in 1949 was the beginning of the glory days for the Solihull marque – and despite its advanced styling and incredible road manners, it was tagged with the rather matronly nickname of the ‘Auntie Rover’.

Eamonn Burnell is the proud owner of this fine 100 – and has surprised and delighted many of the site’s forum members with test drives. No one has come away unimpressed from the experience. Such is his passion that not only is Eamonn a long standing member of the P4 Driver’s Guild, but he’s the club website’s creator…

Pictures and words: Eamonn Burnell

Solid virtues

I CALLED her ‘Bertha’. My beloved Rover 100 was first registered in April 1960 at County Hall Chelmsford Essex, perhaps the original Essex Girl. Her first owner was a sea captain at Harwich and her second owner, also from Harwich, was a colleague of his. The ‘Captain’ decided he could no longer drive the car owing to a shrapnel wound in his hip, the car being quite heavy to drive at low speeds.

I am the third owner and bought the car in October 1997, having had it looked over by the P4 Drivers Guild Chairman, with 49,000 miles on the clock and believed to be genuine. The car been laid up for several years and was very sound except for areas of paint having lifted from the bonnet and bootlid – both being aluminium. I used the car at weekends and for some rallies until winter 1999/2000 when the car was stripped for a bare metal respray.

The car came back from the paintshop in May 2000 and it has been a long and difficult refit having never tackled a job like this before. I was very pleased to get the car back on the road April 2003, refitting the rear window having nearly driven me to the brink!

Wood and leather: the only combination.

The car has been resprayed in its original colours of Light Grey over Smoke Grey which I feel suit the car well and is now a rare colour combination. The car has the original HMV radio which was installed by the dealer who was Spurlings of Colchester, also the ‘Broadcast Receiving Licences’ from 1965 to 1970. The car came complete with its original handbook, complete toolkit, original cardboard information tags for the heater, overdrive and power assisted brakes and also the original registration book.

My P4 is basically as it would have been when it left the factory except that I have had seat belts fitted front and rear by KwikFit in North London. By choosing a ‘Sixties Grey’ for the webbing and chrome buckles and other fittings they do not look out of place in the car.

Needless to say that all the sore hands and difficult days in the garage, some in freezing temperatures are forgotten when driving around the beautiful country lanes in Essex!

Keith Adams

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