Buying Guide Rover P4
Looking for a quintessentially British classic that doesn’t cost a fortune? You’ve just found it…
‘The P4 encapsulates post-war Britain perfectly’
In a world that’s obsessed with image and style, the Rover P4 is one of those rare gems that’s accepted everywhere. Timeless and graceful, the P4 encapsulates post-war Britain perfectly, even though its lines were inspired by contemporary Studebakers. Utterly usable and eminently affordable, these upright, solid Rovers make a great classic buy for all year round use.
The original ‘Cyclops’, with its distinctive central light set into the grille, ushered in a new era for Rover. It replaced the pre-war P3 and although dubbed the poor man’s Rolls-Royce, it was still pricey at £1106. That central front light proved too radical and bit the dust in 1952; the following year the more affordable 60 and 90 arrived. At the same time the gearchange was moved from the column to the floor and a conventional handbrake replaced the old ‘shepherd’s crook’. A new rear end with different lights was introduced in 1955. Servo-assisted brakes arrived the following year for the 90 and Laycock overdrive was offered in place of the previous freewheel system. The front wings were redesigned the same year, while 1957 saw the arrival of the 105R (for Roverdrive) and 105S (for Synchromesh, denoting a manual gearbox), with twin carbs and servoassisted brakes. Development slowed after that, with just a fettled radiator grille for 1958; the following year saw the introduction of the 80 and 100 and disc front brakes fitted to all models, while in 1962 the 95 and 110 first went on sale. Steel bonnet, doors and boot panel finally replaced the previous aluminium items in 1963, which suggested that the writing was on the wall. Sure enough, P4 production ended the following year, after 130,342 examples had been made.
Beware damaged leather – a full retrim costs £3k.