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British Motor Heritage - Rover 2000: The P6 Story (1961)
Britain´s best value „Sports Saloon“?
The Rover factory (possibly at Solihull, Birmingham) and various European Locations.
Scientist / technician operating electronic paint spray machine. Scientist / technician looking at Rover 2000 car on quality control test rig. Various shots looking round interior of car showing leather seats and trimmings.
Various shots Rover cars on production line and in paint shop. Narrator talks about the ground breaking techniques and modern machines used in the Rover factory. We see rear axle, engines, gear sticks, radiators, wings and doors being fitted. Engine is tested. Completed car being driven off production line and through car wash.
Sequence showing new Rover 2000 being test driven around glamorous European locations. Car is driven around Trafalgar Square and past Houses of Parliament in London. Car drives past Atomium in Brussels, Belgium and through fishing port in Holland. Car passes windmill and over canal in Amsterdam. Car passes Segrada Familia (sp.?) cathedral in Barcelona, Spain and down Spanish motorways, CU map on dash board. Car passes through Oberammergau, Germany and Innsbruck, Austria. Car drives through French village, over bridge and down country road. The car then passes the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France. Car passes through French countryside and into Florence, Italy. Car passes Colosseum and other landmarks in Rome. Car passes through Italian countryside to Pizza and past famous leaning tower. Car drives along mountain roads in Switzerland.
Car driving along M1 motorway in UK. CU narrator standing in large empty warehouse / factory, he talks to camera and tells us it is our assignment make a film about Rover's past and future. Narrator walks away and we see ghost affect of Rover 2000 driving towards camera.
Note: colour print has faded.
It caused a sensation back in 1963. It was about as unimaginable as the Duke of Edinburgh becoming a long distance runner. It was a brand new luxury saloon with almost sporting aspirations, and yet it came from one of Britain´s least adventurous, most old fashioned luxury car manufacturers. It was the exciting new Rover 2000.
Previous Rovers had been wonderful in an old “English kind” of way. They were luxurious, beautifully built, almost majestic. But they most certainly were not aimed at people who wanted a sports car driving style combined with family car practicality. The P4 and P5 “Aunties” were the kind of Rovers you´d see a Prime Minister being chauffeured around in rather than driven enthusiastically by somebody of “middle management” status.
But the Rover 2000 was different. It had low, almost sporty (by saloon standards) styling, a radical new bodyshell structure, unconventional suspension design and absolutely brilliant handling and roadholding capabilities for the time. It set new standards to its class and it was the first Rover ever that could be sold to people who enjoyed driving hard and driving fast.
This upload contains three films in one file
1) The P6 story
2) Rally report
3) P6 safety features
Some traditional Rover buyers of old frowned upon the Solihull company´s fascinating change of direction. And Rover management knew that it had to retain the support of its existing customers. So it was perhaps rather clever forward thinking that saw the by then ancient P4 series soldier on another year after the P6´s launch, while the vastly larger P5 lived on right through to 1973 as the luxury Rover for those who appreciated the values of tradition and serenity.
Traditionalists may have disliked it back in 1963, but the P6 went on to become one of the most successful Rovers ever, enjoying a production run that ended in 1976, by which the even more outrageous Rover SD1 was effectively its replacement.
Those who were against the P6 from the outset said the car was far too small to be a proper Rover. And admittedly, its dimensions were unusually compact by Rover standards, leading to restricted space both for rear passengers and their luggage.
Rover pessimists feared that the Triumph 2000, launched within a matter of days of the P6´s arrival, would steal sales by attracting customers who wanted genuine family-size accomodation and who were frightened of the P6´s unusual structural design and all-new mechanicals. And bearing in mind the conservative nature of “old style” Rover buyers, such fears could well have come true. But in the event, nothing could have been further from reality, as history now proves.
Fourteen years and 327.000 cars later, the P6 was finally laid to rest, the Rover line being continued by the aesthetically advanced SD1. Ironically, the car that had been seen as far too adventurous and daring for Rover back in the early Sixties was being replaced by a model that was seen by many as far too adventurous and daring in the mid-Seventies. It was good to know that Rover´s new-found ability to shock potential buyers had not worn off during the life of the P6.
Looking back at the P6 series now, perhaps the most fascinating aspect of its life is how little is changed over the years. Fourteen years is a heck of a long lifespan for any car, and yet the P6 went from success to success with only relatively minor revisions.
The biggest break from the norm came with the introduction of the V8-angined 3500 (automatic) in 1968 and the 3500 S (manual) in 1971, fascinating for combining the ex-Buick 3.5-litre powerplant (that had seen good service elsewhere) with the P6´s relatively compact dimensions. The result was a real flier of a saloon car, and it is these V8-engined P6s that command such healthy prices nowadays, twenty years after the final P6 was produced.
There is perhaps little argument that the Rover 3500 and 3500 S are the P6 models to go for if there is no great monetary problem. But bear in mind that a fully sorted, pristine 3500 S can fetch as much as ₤1.500 more than a 2000 in similar condition and you begin to wonder whether the attraction of a V8 is that great after all.
So for this particular model guide, we´re going to ignore the V8-engined P6s completely – they´ll be saved for another day. In fact, we reckon that a four-cylinder P6 is probably the best value four-door classic saloon currently available – and by the end of this feature, you may well agree.
For the first three years of the Rover 2000´s life, virtually nothing was done in the way of model development. Why? Simply because there were no need for it. The 2000 was attracting so many potential customers that a waiting list had formed almost from day one, and the model´s novelty value showed little sign of subsiding for quite some time. If you weren´t prepared to wait for your new Rover 2000, you wouldn´t get one – it was as simple as that. Rover´s position between 1963 and ´66 was surely every car maker´s dream.
The gamble had paid off – and what a gamble it was. If nothing else, it was the P6´s structural design that set it apart from the crowd. It comprised a strong, sturdy “base unit” (or “inner skeleton”) from which were hung nineteen bolt-on, easily removable body panels.
Mechanically too, the P6 was new. Power came from a brand new four-cylinder, single chain-driven overhead-cam unit of 1978 cc capacity, fed via a single SU HS6 carburettor. A four-speed manual gearchange was the only transmission option.
Suspension was equally fresh, with a de Dion system at the rear, with fixed-length driveshafts similar to the earlier Rover T3 gas turbine experimental car. At the front, top wishbones acted through a cranked linkage onto horizontal coil springs braced against the scuttle; apart from uitlising the stiffest part of the P6´s “base unit” structure to absorb suspension loads, this layout also allowed room to install a planned gas turbine engine option. We all know, of course, that such an option never materialised.
By the autumn of 1966, UK-spec Rover 2000 TCs were available, featuring twin SU carburettors, a new cylinder head and an increased power output (up from 90 to 114 bhp). The difference in performance was startling, and an automatic transmission option was also introduced.
In the same year, the P6´s all-disc Dunlop braking system was replaced by a Girling design, offering more response and, as it turned out, improved realibility.
By 1970, with the Rover 2000 already seven years old, the range was treated to a range of revisions, these “Series IIs” featuring modified trim, a sportier front grille and more racy looking instrumentation (the old strip-type speedometer being replaced by round dials). Although the Series II was right for the time, bringing a touch of Seventies style to a Sixties design, many enthusiasts now look upon the Series I Rover 2000 as the purest, most appealing of the breed.
Not much else happened for a further three years, when the Rover 2200 replaced the 2000 in October 1973. The new model´s 2204 cc engine, simply a bigger bore version of the old 2000 unit, produced 98 and 115 bhp in single and twin carburettor forms respectively, and at lower revs than with the previous 2000. The driving experience was, most people agreed, better than ever.
By 1976, the brand new Rover SD1 was on the scene, albeit in limited numbers at first; the writing was finally on the wall for the P6, with the final examples being sold and registered by early ´77. Amazing to think that even the very last examples are now a full twenty years old.
AVI File Details
Name.........: Rover 2000 - The P6 Story.avi
Filesize.....: 463 MB (or 475,027 KB or 486,428,596 bytes)
Runtime......: 00:52:23 (78,583 fr)
Video Codec..: DivX 5.0
Video Bitrate: 1104 kb/s
Audio Codec..: 0x0055(MP3) ID'd as MPEG-1 Layer 3
Audio Bitrate: 128 kb/s (64/ch, stereo) CBR
Frame Size...: 680x496 (1.37:1) [~37:27]
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