Rovers re­turn to spir­i­tual homes Club mem­bers visit houses owned by big­wigs

Practical Classics (UK) - - CLASSIC WORLD -

Ever won­dered where the he­roes of your favourite mar­que lived? Mem­bers of the Rover P5 Club did, and or­gan­ised a pil­grim­age in August to visit three key sites in Rover his­tory.

Grand­est was the house of Rover Chair­man Spencer Ber­nau Wilks, near Monks Kirby in War­wick­shire. Set in 12 acres, the prop­erty was owned by the Rover Com­pany and is now a con­vent. It is the lo­ca­tion where early scale mod­els of the 3-litre P5 were pho­tographed, with the house pro­vid­ing an aris­to­cratic back­drop.

Hav­ing steered the com­pany to suc­cess since the Thir­ties, SB Wilks over­saw the in­no­va­tive P5 project from its be­gin­nings in the early Fifties.

The P5 Club then went to Leamington Spa and nearby Black­down House, which be­longed to Wilks’ younger brother Mau­rice. Rover’s then tech­ni­cal chief – and most fa­mously the creator of the Land Rover - lived in the prop­erty which is now a Sikh Gur­d­wara (tem­ple). Its long drive is still lined by trees, and when fallen ones

blocked that drive in 1947, Wilks bor­rowed a Jeep to clear them. The in­ci­dent sparked the train of thought that led to the Land Rover.

Fi­nally, mem­bers of club vis­ited the home of leg­endary stylist David Bache, who is said to have de­signed the grand stair­case in the large mod­ern house close to Solihull – as well as styling the im­pos­ing shape of the P5. He also kept sev­eral in­ter­est­ing Rovers there over the years, in­clud­ing the

one-off P6-based Alvis GTS pro­to­type.

The vis­its were agreed in ad­vance, and the own­ers of all three prop­er­ties were said to be de­lighted to learn of the great sig­nif­i­cance their homes had in lo­cal his­tory.

David Bache’s im­pos­ing and svelte P5 de­sign goes home.

P5 out­side SB Wilks’ home.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.