THE ROVER P6 STORY
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.