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Interesting Motors

A bit of information on some Classic cars we have for sale:

A brief history of the Rover P4

The Rover P4 series of 4 door saloons were produced from 1949 through to 1964.

The cars used a Rover engine in 4 or 6 cylinder form which came from the 1948 P3 model and had overhead valves for inlet and side valves for exhaust. A four-speed manual transmission was used with a column-mounted change initially and floor-mounted change from 1954. At first the gearbox only had synchromesh on third and fourth but it was also added to second gear in 1953. A free wheel clutch, a traditional Rover feature, was fitted to cars without overdrive until Summer 1959.

The cars had a separate chassis with independent suspension by coil springs at the front and a live axle with half elliptical leaf springs at the rear. The brakes on early cars were operated by a hybrid hydro-mechanical system but became fully hydraulic in 1950. Girling Disc brakes replaced drums at the front from 1959.

The body shells featured aluminium body panels, bonnet, boot doors, etc. until the final 95/110 models.

Rover 75

The Rover 75 was produced in 1949 and was the original P4 model. It featured controversial modern styling which contrasted with the outdated Rover P3 and which was heavily based on the bullet-nosed Studebakers of the same era. One particularly unusual feature was the centrally-mounted headlight in the grille. Known as the “Cyclops eye”. This was removed after 1952. The 75 was fitted with a 2103 cc Rover straight-6 engine. A four-speed manual gearbox was used with a column change. This was changed to a floor-mounted lever in 1954. The car had a top speed of 83.5 mph and a 0 to 60 time of 21.6 seconds. Fuel consumption was 27.8 mpg. At the time the car cost £1106 including taxes. Production of this original model ended in 1954 with 33267 produced.

Rover 60

The Rover 60 was produced from 1953 until 1959 and had a smaller four cylinder engine. Its 1997 cc unit produced 60 bhp and was the same one used in the early Land Rover but with an SU carburettor. As the block was shorter than that of the 6 cylinder engine, it sat further back in the frame and this is said to have resulted in better handling, compensating for the lack of power. It was replaced in 1959 by the P4 80, which used an updated version of the overhead valve 2286cc engine used in the Land Rover by that time. The car had a top speed of 76.0 mph and a 0 to 60 time of 26.5 seconds. Fuel consumption was 25.8 mpg. At the time the car cost £1162 and had a production run of 9666.

Rover 90

At the same time as the four cylinder version was introduced, the top-end Rover 90 with a more-powerful 2639 cc straight six appeared. This engine produced a respectable 90 hp and could reach 90 mph. When it was replaced by the P4 100 in 1959, 35,903 had been produced. It had a top speed of 90.0 mph and a 0 to 60 time of 18.9 seconds. Fuel consumption was 20.3 mpg. At the time the car cost £1297 and had a production run of 35903.

Rover 75 Mark II

An updated Rover 75 arrived in 1954 with some styling changes. A three-piece wraparound rear window was used, but the 2103 ccengine continued. This model was updated again in 1955 with a larger 2230 cc version of the IOE engine. Overdrive became an option from 1956. In 1957, it was restyled, along with the rest of the P4 line, with a new grille and wings. Production ended in 1959 with the introduction of the P4 100. 9974 cars were produced.

Rover 105R & 105S

In 1956 the P4 105R and P4 105S were produced using a high-output, 8.5:1 compression, version of the 2639 cc engine also used in the 90. This twin SU carburettor engine produced 108 hp. Both 105 models also featured an updated exterior and more luxurious trim inside, with separate front seats and twin spotlamps. The 105R featured a “Roverdrive” automatic gearbox. This troublesome unit was actually a two-speed automatic with an overdrive unit for a total of four forward gears. The 105S made do with a manual gearbox with overdrive but could hit 101 mph. The 105R de luxe had a top speed of 93.9 mph and a 0 to 60 time of 23.1 seconds. Fuel consumption was 23.6 mpg. The car cost £1696 and when production of the 105 line ended, in 1958 for the 105R and 1959 for the 105S, 10781 had been produced. Two thirds of these had the manual transmission option. For 1959 the manual model was described simply as a 105 and the trim and accessory level was reduced to match the other models.

Rover 80

In 1959/1960 the P4 range was rationalised to two models, the 80 and the 100. The Rover 80 was the four cylinder version. The engine was now a Land Rover derived straight 4 overhead valve engine, this time 2286 cc and entirely different from the units used in all the other models. With 80 hp the car could top 85 mph. Girling 10.8 in servo assisted disc brakes at the front were new, and the car used wider tyres and had updated styling. Overdrive, operating on top gear only, was standard on the four speed transmission. Options included a radio, two tone paint schemes and either a bench or individual front seats. These options also apply to the 100. The four cylinder P4s were never popular, and just 5,900 had been built when the line was cancelled in 1962. It had a top speed of 82.9 mph and a 0 to 60 time of 22.4 seconds. Fuel consumption was 23.5 mpg. At the time the car cost £1396.

Rover 100

The Rover 90 was replaced in 1960 by the more-powerful 100. Its similar 2625 cc straight 6 engine was in fact a short stroke version of the P5 3-Litre unit. The car could now reach 100 mph. The interior was luxurious, with wood and leather accents on traditional English car elements like a curved “Shepherds Crook” handbrake lever. Either a bench or individual front seats could be ordered. A heater was a standard fitting. Like the smaller 80 version the 100 got servo assisted Girling disc brakes at the front keeping drum brakes at the rear. Overdrive, on top gear only, was a standard fitting. 16,521 had been produced when it was replaced by the 110 version in 1962. It had a top speed of 100 mph and a 0 to 60 time of 17.6 seconds. Fuel consumption was 23.9 mpg. At the time the car cost £1538.

Rover 95 & Rover 110

The final member of the P4 family was the 95 and 110 series. Introduced in 1962, and looking quite dated by then being in most respects little changed since the P4’s launch 13 years earlier, the car was later modified to have steel door panels and electric windscreen washers. Though the Roverdrive automatic had been put to rest, overdrive was standard on the 110, whereas the 95 made do with a high ratio differential (3.9:1). Both models used the same 2625 cc version of the IOE engine. The wider availability of higher octane fuels permitted an increase in the compression ratio to 8.8:1, and the old unit now produced 123 hp in the 110, which used a Weslake cylinder head, and 102 hp for the 95. The car was replaced by the P6 in 1964 after 3680 of the 95 and 4620 of the 110 had been produced.

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