Saturday, June 20, 2020

1970 Rover P6 3500 - It Deserves To Be Restored

I've written about the P6 in the past. Some of the text in this post is coming from past posts...

The P6 was introduced in 1963. It was advanced for its time. In the rear was a de Dion tube suspension, it had 4 wheel disc brakes and, in 4 cylinder form, an OHC engine. Those things were not usually seen in 1963.

In 1968 Rover made the P6 really interesting by dropping the 3500cc V8 into it. The all aluminum V8 gave the car some real power without adding much extra weight (The V8 3500 P6, which had more "features" than the 6 cylinder version, weighed only 52 lbs more.) The car was able to hit 60 MPH in around 9 seconds and had a top speed of over 120 MPH.

There are some pretty interesting features on the P6s that came to the US, notably a thing called "Icelert" which told the driver when the temperature dropped to a point where ice may form on the road. Many modern cars have something similar these days, but 40+ years ago that was really unusual. You can see the sensor in the picture above, it's the silver box next to the right side headlights.

The 3500 P6 should have been a huge success in the US. It featured everything the US buyer looked for in a car; power, ride, handling, luxury and style. Initial reviews of the car were glowing. Unfortunately, the 3500 P6 may have been one of the most trouble prone new cars ever sold in the US. The Lucas electrics, of course, were a problem, but build quality, due to BL's poor quality control and a disgruntled workforce, was also extremely poor.

How unreliable was the 3500 P6? Well, in 1974, Britain's "Drive" magazine declared it the "worst new car in England". They purchased a 3500S P6. During their first six months and 6000 miles of ownership, it had gone through three engines, two gear boxes, two clutch housings and it needed a complete wiring harness. The car had spent 114 of its first 165 days in the shop. This was 6 years after the model's introduction, by which time you would have thought Rover would have worked all the "bugs" out. Imagine how bad the early cars must have been. Yikes.

There is some good news to all of this. First of all, because of it's reputation, the P6 - even restored ones - don't sell for a lot of money. Secondly, like so many cars I write about, over the years the owners and the aftermarket have figured out how to prevent and / or fix most of the car's problems.

This particular P6 needs a full restoration. The seller say the engine has a rod knock. The body looks to have little or no rust, but there are some dents and it's missing some trim. The interior looks to be complete, but rough.

Financially, there is no good reason to restore this car. This car would be a labor of love. It's a job I hope someone takes on. The P6 may not be a perfect car, but it's from a time when carmakers took chances. That's something few carmakers do today. This piece of automotive history deserves to be saved.

Located in California's Sonoma County, click here to see the Craigslist ad. The asking price is $1750.00.

No comments: