incorporating Wessex Wheels, the regional motoring magazine

Home Page
Features Index
Making Tracks
Quay Railway
Marwyn Racer
Airfield Racing
Flying Boats
Car Review
Your Letters
Garage Tales
Query Page
Wheels Diary
Out of Town
Dealer Locator
About Us
Search the Site


Archive 24
Rover P4 Series

Few cars were as finely engineered, or as well
appointed, as the stately P4 Series that were built at
Rover's Solihull factory between 1949 and 1964.

These cars were as staid and conventional as the upper middle class who were the main customers at the time, although some people considered the design controversial in those early post-war years. Undoubtedly British to the core with their regal appearance and lots of polished walnut, Wilton carpets, leather covered seats, etc., the range was, nevertheless, closer in styling to some American autos of the mid 1940s.

   In fact, rumour at the time of the launch, was that Rover's technical director, Maurice Wilks, had brought two Studebakers over from the States and used these to help develop and loosely base their new saloon around. Certainly, the resemblance between the two marques were similar, with very few characteristics of the P3 (which itself perpetuated the body shape of the pre-war P2 model) introduced a year or so earlier.

   The pre-production P4 prototype even became known as the 'Roverbaker' to those in the know at the time. But without visible running boards its design was very different to most other British cars of the era, although the generous full width body did reveal a narrow step when the doors were opened.

   It also differed from most of its contemporaries by using a light-weight alloy known as Birmabright for the construction of the bonnet, doors and boot lid, although some later models in the early Sixties used pressed steel for these panels.

   A distinctive feature of the    early P4s was undoubtedly    the centrally-mounted fog    light, generally referred to as    the 'Cyclops eye', but this    concession to Americian    tastes was soon done away    with, as were the square-
   shaped instruments in favour    of round ones as shown.

   Over the next decade a number of fundamental changes were incorporated, including a wrap-round rear window, restyled boot and a floor mounted gear change lever to replace the steering column shift-change. At the same time new models sported different type designations, although the basic P4 shape remained true to the original. When the car finally bowed out in 1964 its ancestory to the early 75 was still clearly visible.

   In all some eight different versions were produced over the years ranging from a four-cylinder 60 to the powerful 1963 six-pot 110, although if you take account of the marginally different body shapes, then the number of variants are well over a dozen and this can be increased still further if account is taken of a few low volume models, such as the 1950 Cyclops-based 75 Drophead (of which only one remains), the 100 Woody Estate of 1960 or the P4-derived Marauder built by a company affiliated to Rover.

   Interestingly, Rover's experimental gas-turbined car JET 1, first seen by the public in 1950, was based on the model. This was the first attempt world-wide to use a gas-turbine power unit to propel the motor car, testomy, if it's needed, to the strength and structure of the P4 chassis and running gear.

   Affectionately known as 'Aunty' from an early age - its general air of respectability and gentility afflicted it with that nickname - over 130,000 examples were manufactured with a good few still going strong to this day, some as everyday transport.. Obviously quality construction, allied to an extremely robust chassis, contributed to their longevity. They just seem go on and on, like most old aunts!

   The P4 is extremely well catered for by enthusiasts such as members of the Rover P4 Drivers Guild. Formed in 1977, the organisation caters for all variants including the 60, 75, 80, 90, 95, 100, 105 and 110. Visit website  

If these adverts are too small for you to view, 'right click' mouse with the curser positioned over the appropriate ad. and select Zoom In.
By 'left clicking' and holding you can now move through the enlarged image. Return to normal by selecting Zoom Out


  Back to Current Features

Hayball Compact Car Centre
Brunel Road
Wiltshire  SP2 7PU
Tel: 01722 322796
Fax: 01722 324067
Visit website

Olds Casterbridge
London Road
Dorset  DT1 1NE
Tel: 01305 250650
Fax: 01305 257050
Visit website

Westover Alfa Romeo
676-680 Wimborne Road
Dorset  BH9 2EG
Tel: 01202 522225
Fax: 01202 546029
Visit Website

Grange of Exeter
Marsh Barton Road
Marsh Barton
Devon  EX2 8NT
Tel: 01392 202202
Visit website

Poole Audi
582-600 Ringwood Road
Dorset  BH12 4LW
Tel: 01202 775050
Fax: 01202 722350
Visit website

Tice Dorchester
Prince of Wales Road
Dorset  DT1 1PR
Tel: 01305 267411
Fax: 01305 267153
Visit website  

CW Motorcycles
Great Western Centre
Dorset  DT1 1QW
Tel: 01305 269370
Fax: 01305 267262
Visit website

Millwood Motor Co
Mill Garage, Cam
Glos.  GL11 5DH
Tel: 01453 544321
Visit website

Olds St Martins
55 Bridport Road
Dorset  DT1 2NQ
Tel: 01305 265555
Fax: 01305 260732
Visit website

Olds Marston Magna
nr Yeovil
Somerset  BA22 8DT
Tel: 01935 850202
Fax: 01935 850738
Visit website

Olds Citroen
Millers Close
Dorset  DT1 1SS
Tel: 01305 751444
Fax: 01305 751422
Visit website

Wyatts of Poole Ltd
490 Blandford Road
Dorset  BH16 5BN
Tel: 01202 623636
Fax: 01202 624973
Visit website

Daewoo Cars Ltd
5441 Wimborne Road
Dorset  BH22 9NA
Tel: 01202 893987
Fax: 01202 893665
Visit website

Tincknell Daihatsu
Warminster Road
nr Salisbury
Wiltshire SP2 0AT
Tel: 01722 744060 or 01722 743722
Visit website

Westover Sports Cars
Salisbury Road
Dorset  DT11 8UB
Tel: 01258 451211
Fax: 01258 451143
Visit website