THE ROVER P6 STORY

Classics Monthly - - Reader Resto Rover P6 2000 -

The P6 was launched in Oc­to­ber 1963 pow­ered by a new four-cylin­der, over­head cam 2.0 litre en­gine and the new Rover be­came an im­me­di­ate hit. Its light­weight and ad­vanced en­gi­neer­ing pro­vided bet­ter per­for­mance, econ­omy, han­dling and ride com­fort than the tra­di­tional cars that oc­cu­pied this sec­tor of the mar­ket.

At the time of its launch, the new P6 was recog­nised as Rover’s fi­nal all new ‘P’ des­ig­nated model. The 2000 had been de­signed to fill a gap in the mar­ket place and was po­si­tioned be­tween cars such as the Austin Cam­bridge and larger and the more lux­u­ri­ously equipped 3.0 litre sa­loons that were avail­able at the time

By 1964 the Rover fac­tory was at full stretch and a waiting list had emerged for the car. In 1966 the 2000TC was added to the range, boast­ing some 124bhp and giv­ing the car a top speed of 112mph. The same year saw Rover swal­lowed by Ley­land, it­self merged with Bri­tish Mo­tor Hold­ings the fol­low­ing year to pro­duce Bri­tish Ley­land. In the same year, the Rover 3500 emerged, the re­sult of in­stalling the 3.5-litre Buick-sourced V8 into the P6. Ini­tially an au­to­matic only, the V8 pow­ered P6 was later of­fered as a man­ual from 1971 badged as the 3500S.

In 1970 the P6 was facelifted to be­come the MkII, with cos­metic changes in­clud­ing the adop­tion of the V8’s power bulge bon­net for all mod­els, plus the hon­ey­comb black plas­tic grille, vinyl cov­ered D-pil­lars and ‘spoked’ wheel trims. The 2.0 litre en­gine was en­larged in 1973 to be­come a 2.2 litre unit, the four-cylin­der cars be­ing re­named 2200 and 2200TC. The P6 was still sell­ing strongly into the mid-‘Seven­ties but in 1976 the wraps came off the rad­i­cally dif­fer­ent look­ing SD1 which al­though it ap­peared fu­tur­is­tic and mod­ern next to the P6 was in fact tech­ni­cally far less ad­ven­tur­ous.

The SD1 was launched ini­tially only with the V8, leav­ing the P6 to take up the de­mand for smaller-en­gined cars un­til the four-cylin­der SD1 mod­els be­came avail­able. P6 pro­duc­tion even­tu­ally ended in 1977, with some 327,000 ex­am­ples pro­duced.

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