Rovers, largely unknown and unrecognized in North America, are a great alternative choice in the wood-and-leather class of car. With an upright grill that apes nobody else’s, a large black-rimmed steering wheel, over-stuffed leather seats and a stout inline six-cylinder all contributed to the luxurious feeling of the P5, as did the leather rear bench with center and door armrests, as well as a reading lamp. All those features gained the car the approval of many prominent Britons, but of very few North Americans, with no Rover – P5, P6, or SD1 – seeming to have significant success in the New World. Fortunately, that makes them fairly affordable here – check out this pair of 1962 and 1960 Rover P5s, currently bid at $553 with 3 1/2 days left to go in Klamath Falls, OR.
Both cars are North American models, a 1962 Mark 1A and a 1960 Mark 1, respectively. The shinier 1962 car shown here seems to be in pretty remarkable cosmetic condition, though it does show some dings and scratches, and it’s not clear how old the paint is. The car is said to have been off the road since 1975 with engine problems, and in 2000 the then-owner embarked on a renovation project. The head was removed and rebuilt, and many parts were ordered, but the project was abruptly cut off when the owner had a stroke. The engine is said to be seized, and condition of the car’s other systems is unknown, so plan to complete the previous owner’s project (and get some penetrant on the pistons as soon as you get the car home!).
What massive overriders you have, Auntie! If there was a popular version of the P5 for North America, it was probably the 3500 Coupe with its chopped roof. Nonetheless, this is a decent-looking (if stodgy) sedan, from the same design school as the Volvo Amazon and Mercedes Ponton sedans. This car features an inline six mated to an automatic transmission, which should do fine as long as you can resign yourself to the stately school of driving.
Wow, that’s some bright blue upholstery. The carpet looks a little aged, and the steering wheel cover needs to go, but overall this looks far better than most P5s in North America outside of that one that belongs to that one guy you see every year at the local British car show. So if you pick these two up, you could be that guy! It’s impressive how uncluttered the car’s dash is – fitting nearly all the controls on the instrument pod is quite an achievement, and that unclutteredness must add to the relaxed feeling you get driving in an older luxury car like this.
Of course, you won’t be doing any driving until you get greasy, because as you’ll notice, the head is not on the block. Fortunately, it looks like it’s been properly stored in the sense that there is little dirt and detritus on the engine – half the time when you see a car that’s had its head off for 16 years, there are nut shells, mouse nests and spider webs all over the place, but this one seems to have none of that. So while you’re dealing with an engine that might give you a fight, you won’t be trying to fight the hanta virus.
Here’s the 1960 car. The seller has owned this car since 2009 and done quite a bit of work on it, then found the 1962 and was planning on transferring all the good mechanicals to the good body. And perhaps that’s what you’d want to do too, but looking beyond the faded cosmetics, you see a healthy stance, new tires, clean straight chrome, and other things that make this look like it would be a great around-town beater until you feel like blowing some money on paint. What would you do?