Practical Classics (UK)
‘You’d be forgiven for not knowing my Rover P2 is a ground-up resto!’
1947 Rover P2, Vince Moore, Thurso
When will you be starting your restoration?
‘Cheeky! I’ve finished it! It’s what I’d call an ‘oily rag restoration’, but I can confidently say it has been rebuilt from the ground up. The car was in a truly terrible state when I bought it, but having spent many months working on it in my barn, she’s complete. I now drive the car regularly all year round without worrying about stone chips or parking knocks!’
What is it about the P2 you like?
‘I had a friend years ago whose dad had an immaculate P2 – and I remember being completely captivated by it. I was allowed to drive the car a few times and at that point, I was really sold on the idea of owning one myself some day. I loved the sheer quality of engineering Rover put into it back then. It was always suggested the Rover was a poor man’s Rolls-royce – and you can see why.’
What was it like to restore one? ‘As soon as you start analysing a car like the P2, it’s clear the engineering of that era was delightfully simple but beautifully done. That element of simplicity therefore makes the car very fixable. I do like a challenge, though – and luckily for me, this Rover presented me with a big one! It's also fortunate that I enjoy welding. I found it in Aberdeen, with all that salty sea air, so it wasn’t the recipe for a rust-free Rover.’
What needed to be done?
‘What didn’t, you mean! Both sills had gone, the floors, bottom of the doors, rear seat pan and lots more needed replacement. When I first got it home, it was just a pile of bits so I began by reassembling it in the garden to see what I had. The engine and gearbox were missing, so I sourced replacements and added them to my ‘mock-up’ arrangement outside. Once I’d made a list of missing parts and jobs to be done, I stripped it back down again and blasted the chassis, which I did myself.’
Had you restored your own car before? ‘I had a Capri in my early twenties, which
I kept going myself, and built a Marlin kit car at the age of 25, which looked a bit like an MG but was powered by a Marina TC engine. I went into the
Rover restoration confidently, though. I did an engineering foundation course as a youngster, and also worked as a mechanic at a Renault dealership before deciding I didn’t really want a job in the motor trade after all. Basically,
I think that when you’re passionate for a particular car, you make it work.’