FIVE TRI­ALS

We en­joy the Rover P3 75 and put it fully to the test

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - Driving -

1 DAILY DRIV­ING

You could cer­tainly com­mute hap­pily in a Rover P3. The en­gine has plenty of torque and the gearchange is su­perb in use, like that on a best qual­ity sports car, even if there is no syn­chro­mesh on first and sec­ond. Vis­i­bil­ity is good too, and the brakes are up to the job, pro­vid­ing that the sys­tem is set up prop­erly. The low-geared steer­ing isn’t fin­ger-light but the car is still easy enough to park.

You should get around 20mpg, not least if you em­ploy the free­wheel, which over­rides the drive so you can coast along and save money. It’s only for the brave, though…

2 IN THE SER­VICE BAY

The Rover is a tough old thing, and its su­perb en­gi­neer­ing means that the cars are ca­pa­ble of ma­jor mileages. The en­gine is the same one used in early Rover P4s, so most spares are avail­able and not overly ex­pen­sive. You have to wield the grease gun ev­ery 2000 miles or so, with oil changes ev­ery 3000 miles, de­pend­ing on how the car is used. Body pan­els and in­te­rior trim are dif­fi­cult to find, though, so think twice about buy­ing an in­com­plete car.

3 ON THE SHOW CIR­CUIT

Any show that doesn’t wel­come this car would hardly be worth at­tend­ing! The P3 is the very essence of clas­sic mo­tor­ing and the qual­ity of the Rover’s en­gi­neer­ing would surely win over just about any­one. Older fans will surely ap­pre­ci­ate the Rover’s time­warp qual­i­ties – one glance and you are in the world where banks had ledgers and man­agers who ac­tu­ally met their cus­tomers. You could even spend hours ex­plain­ing how the free­wheel works to con­fused in­di­vid­u­als whose eyes would open wide with won­der­ment… then glaze over. The car is re­li­able and pow­er­ful enough to hold its own on any road runs. Hills? Bring ’em on!

4 THE LONG WEEK­END

You’d be look­ing for­ward to whisk­ing your­self and oth­ers away in the Rover all week. It would be more than happy to cover large dis­tances – in­clud­ing on mo­tor­ways – at 60mph, with a lit­tle more in re­serve, and be­ing wider than many of its con­tem­po­raries, should ac­com­mo­date five adults with rel­a­tive ease. The boot is large enough for their lug­gage too. The driver could cover long dis­tances without too much strain while the pas­sen­gers soak up the Rover’s pe­riod am­bi­ence. Pro­vid­ing you look af­ter the car, re­li­a­bil­ity shouldn’t be an is­sue.

5 THE B-ROAD BLAST

The P3 may have six cylin­ders, but only 72bhp and hy­dro-me­chan­i­cal brakes. How­ever, that won­der­ful gear­box, de­cent han­dling and whiff of some­thing sport­ing within its DNA mean that you could have a bit of a play on those twisty roads. Far bet­ter, though, to just soak up all of that pe­riod at­mos­phere – you’ll prob­a­bly reach your des­ti­na­tion just as quickly and en­joy your ex­cur­sion into the Bri­tain of an­other era.

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