Regal looks, luscious interiors and V8 muscle – but buy wisely if you want to recoup your money when you sell...
Torque: 226lb ft@3000rpm
0-60 mph: 10.7sec
Fuel consumption: 17-22mpg
Transmission: RWD, three-speed automatic
A thumping great V8, lashings of wood and leather and imposing good looks, boosted by Rostyle wheels. The P5B is one of those classic saloons that has you hooked the moment its ex-Buick engine rumbles into life, and as a result it’s been commanding a premium over its straight-six siblings for the last few years. Flick though the classifieds and you’ll come across plenty of tired – but temptingly priced – examples, but the cost of bringing a poor example up to scratch is going to outweigh what a top-notch example is worth, so we’d always recommend waiting for the latter and spending the extra accordingly. That will mean ideally holding out for an example that’s already been restored by one of its previous owners and it’s these P5Bs that are fetching some of the highest prices.
Classic Car Auctions sold just such a car for a record £32,190 last December, but you don’t have to fork out that sort of money to land yourself a luxury Rover that’ll waft you from show to show without costing you a fortune. In fact, most of the decent examples we’ve seen heading to auctions, dealers and into CCW’s classifieds occupy a fairly broad middle ground, with solid ones costing £6k-20k, depending on the extent of previous repairs and supporting history. A ‘cash-free’ P5B, then, will have had any structural rot tackled during a previous resto and working engine and transmission. Don’t overlook a neglected-looking cabin, either. Our top tip is to sign up to the Rover P5 Club or the Rover Sports Register, do your homework and take your time to find the right example
What Should You Check?
1 - DON’T DISMISS TIRED TRIM
Wooden fascias and door cappings are prone to splitting due to ingress of moisture while wet carpets suggest that water is getting in through window seals, inner wings or the heating system. Replacement carpets are rarely up to the original’s standard.
2 - IS IT AS GOOD AS IT LOOKS?
Checking along the length of the body trim should reveal a steady downward curve. The outer sill is a structural part of the car and must be solid. The sill should fit level to the base of the front wing and the doors should not sag towards the middle of the car.
3 - TRY THE TRANSMISSION
Manual gearboxes should change gear effortlessly and the overdrive should still work as intended. Keep an eye on gearbox oil levels and check that the fluid isn’t dirty, brown or smelling of rotten eggs, otherwise it could be an indicator of an expensive rebuild ahead.
4 - HAS IT BEEN STANDING?
Owners often save their cars for special occasions, so make sure that any car that has experienced long periods of inactivity doesn’t have perished seals or seized brakes. Check that it starts easily and stops in a straight line, and check for any hydraulic leaks
5 - ASK FOR OLD BILLS
For a truly ‘cash-free’ P5B that isn’t going to drain your wallet it’s likely you’ll be looking at a previously restored example – and the key here is to go after as much detail as possible. Photos of the car mid-resto, stacks of old bills, and handwritten notes are all good signs – this sort of information will often add 10-20 per cent to the car’s value.