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