1965 ROVER 3-LITRE P5
WHAT’S IT LIKE TO DRIVE? The engine fires up from cold with no blue smoke, splutter or backfire. Once warmed, the car pulls well with brisk acceleration and a smooth manual gear change. The brakes bring the Rover’s bulk to a firm halt from speed without any pulling and the handbrake holds the car well. The suspension soaks up rough road surfaces quietly while tracking is straight and true. There are no vibrations through the steering wheel. BODYWORK CHECK There is slight bubbling on both rear wheel arches plus a few minor chips and cracks beneath the windows, but the panels are straight and panel gaps even. There is some cracked paint around the fuel filler cap, a slight paint blemish above the ‘Rover’ lettering on the bootlid and a minor chip above the chrome coachline on the rear passenger door, but the underside is crust free and chrome unpitted. There are no cracks in the windscreen and the rough-looking window rubbers still seem to be watertight. Tyres have plenty of tread and the wheels and hubcaps haven’t been kerbed. HOW’S THE INTERIOR? The black dashboard, wooden door panels and toffeecoloured doorcards are in good condition, as are the carpets. There are a few marks on the headlining above the driver’s seat and in the corners behind the rear passenger seat and the upholstery and wood on the passenger door has faded slightly. The leather has some age-related cracking and discolouring, although it’s far from an eyesore. The original HMV radio still works, likewise the oil pressure gauge, analogue clock and water temperature gauge. The window winders are rather stiff but loosen up after the windows have been raised and lowered a few times. UNDER THE BONNET The packed engine bay is on the grimy side, with surface corrosion most evident on the exhaust manifolds and giant air box, but all the hoses, pipes and wires are undamaged and in their correct places. The car has had four previous owners and the comprehensive service history (which includes the original workshop manual) suggests that none of them has skimped on routine servicing or maintenance. Coolant and oil levels are around the maximum mark and there are no signs of any excessive fluid leaks. The surface rust patches in the offside rain gutter could do with sorting out sooner rather than later, however. OUR VERDICT Although not perfect, this Rover is a delightfully unspoiled British cruiser that wears its interior and exterior patina honestly. It’s been round the clock, but could fool you into thinking otherwise with relatively little time and effort. The asking price is temptingly low for an early P5 in as solid and unmolested condition as this, too.