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    Man & machine - Richard Zahra’s 1969 Rover P6 2000TC was bought new by his father

    Posted in Cars on Friday, July 26 2019

    The Roving heirloom Richard Zahra’s 1969 2000 TC was bought new by his father. Words and photography James Elliott.

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    Adam Towler
    Adam Towler posted a new blog post, How to modify Rover P6

    How to modify Rover P6

    Posted in Cars on Friday, December 29 2017

    More bark for Rover. The P6 was ahead of its time but now you can take things further. Fast Rover P6 How to modify... Stately, robust, well-appointed and affordable – Rover’s pioneering P6 was a staple of Britain’s roads for an impressively long time. Of course, they don’t necessarily have to remain sensible.

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    Mission accomplished #1968 / #Rally #Rover-2000TC / by Mark Dixon / #Rover-2000 / #Rover / #Rally-Rover-2000TC / #1968-Rover-2000TC / #Rover-P6

    Selling a car at auction can be a slightly scary experience. The thrill of watching bidders compete for something of yours is tempered by the anxiety that they may not value it nearly as highly as you do. And when the vehicle in question is a competition car – notoriously difficult to put a price on – then nerves really are set on edge. The Rover, of course, was not actually mine to sell. As described in, I built it as an endurance rally car in the early 1990s, had modest success and then sold it to a chap called Jan Pearce in 1999. Jan passed away two years ago, and I volunteered to help his widow, Jenny, dispose of the car at Silverstone Auctions’ sale at Race Retro.

    The Rover has done very few miles in recent years, so it was with slight trepidation that I set off to drive it up to Warwickshire from Jenny’s home in Bucks. The only practical route was via the M40 motorway – what could possibly go wrong? But I stuck to an easy 65mph and the Rover obliged by performing faultlessly. The engine held a constant 60psi oil pressure and the temperature needle stayed reassuringly just below the midpoint on the gauge.

    The Rover had been slated as Lot 1 in the auction, which wasn’t ideal; buyers often need a little time to warm up. But auctioneer Jonathan Humbert did a sterling job of chivvying them along, and the result was a satisfying £6000 hammer price. The buyer turned out to be a Scottish farmer who had flown down from Aberdeen specially to bid on the car. He used to rally a Rover P6 V8 in the 1970s and was looking to relive his youth – ‘and I have my own three-mile farm track “special stage” to practise on,’ he told me after the sale. It’s good to hear that the Rover will see a third generation of drivers take it rallying.

    All this sale action reminded me that it’s probably time to dispose of my 2001 Honda Insight. Much as I love it, I’ve hardly used it since I inherited my late father’s Volvo XC70. The Honda has 230,000 miles on the clock and a ding in the driver’s door – but it had a new battery at 189,000, runs like a Swiss watch and is as reliable as a Japanese one. I reckon it’s worth around two grand – so, ladies and gentlemen, what am I bid for this undoubted future classic?

    Clockwise from above Mark’s old Rover rally car makes £6000 at auction; Honda’s Back To The Future-style technology exposed during battery change; meeting a trio of VW XL1s three years ago.
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    Price watch #Rover-P6 / #Rover / #1971

    “We’ve seen prices rise about a third in the past two years,” says Nick Dunning of the Rover P6 Club (www.p6club.com). “Even a nice 2000 auto will be £3000. It’s a seismic change, but there are very few quality, low-mileage cars on the market. You won’t find a decent V8 for less than £4000 and values can be as high as £12,000 for V8 show-winners. A nice V8 is around £6000.”

    The earliest cars still have a lot of appeal, especially in this anniversary year. Those built between 1963 and 1966 have a design purity lost with later models and use Dunlop rather than Girling brakes. “An early one is £4k against £3500 for a post-’66 model.” Of the V8s, the SI and SII both have their fans.

    “Some like the ’70s feel of later ones, and the 3500S commands a premium,” reckons Dunning, “probably 15% over an automatic. They’re very quick, even today. Do be careful, though. There’s a lot of tat out there and quite a few ringers where IDs have been changed to get free tax. The moving of the Historic Vehicle cut-off date is likely to have a small impact on 1973 models.”

    The least desirable P6 at the moment seems to be the 2200 automatic. “They’re as thirsty as a V8, but don’t have the performance,” according to Dunning. The rare, FLM Panelcraft-converted estates can fetch similar money to the best saloons: “A really nice one is £11-12,000, but project cars are rarely viable. The conversion hacked them about a bit.” Many, including Dunning, feel that the climbing P6 values are well overdue: “They’re still cheaper than the P5. It has taken a long time for prices to start rising.”

    ‘Be careful: there’s a lot of tat out there, and quite a few ringers where IDs have been changed to qualify for free road tax’

    Four-cylinder prices tend to lag behind those of the powerful V8s, particularly manuals.

    1971 #Rover-P6-2000TC £300 Mather, Worcester, April 2013
    1974 #Rover-P6-2200SC auto £1355 ACA, King’s Lynn, April 2013
    1974 #Rover-P6-3500 £1650 DVCA, Somerset, December 2012
    1969 Rover 3500 £1540 Brightwells, Leominster, Nov 2012

    1972 3500S £3750, resprayed, tan vinyl roof, original wheels 07741275425(P)
    1977 3500S £5450, clean car that drives well, power steering 07879498715(T)
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    Why is the owner of this #Rover 2000 smiling? / JUNE #1966 / #Rover-P6 / #Rover-P6-2000

    Because he's alive.

    This #1966 #Rover-2000-Sports-Sedan / #Rover-P6 was photographed just after a head-on collision with a truck.

    With virtually any other make of car, certain things tend to happen in these dire circumstances, among them: a) The engine tries to join you in the front seat; b) The steering column, which on most cars begins near the front wheels, competes with your chest.

    Neither of these happened to the driver of this #Rover-2000 . (If you are wondering what did happen, lie cracked a collar bone and two ribs because his safety harness was carelessly loose.)

    Luck Had Little To Do

    Luck had very little to do with it; the answer is in the car itself.

    First off, the Rover 2000 is designed with the thought that, on collision, an engine ought to go down under a car rather than up into your lap.

    Also, the forward section of the body is designed to crumple defensively; an expensive shock-absorber, but well worth it. Note that although the front lost 18 inches, the passenger compartment is intact.

    Steering Column Has To Go

    As to the lost 18 inches; in the ordinary car a foot- and-a-half of steering column has to go somewhere. The 2000s steering column begins behind the engine, and thus is not accident-prone. Moreover, the steering wheel is flexible and shock-absorbent.

    The seats, front and back, are bucket scats of molded steel covered by fine padded leather. The tops of the front seats are padded, as well, to protect them from the faces of the rear passengers.

    The top of the dash and the storage bins in front of your knees are also padded. Objects that are necessarily hard are carefully located and inoffensively shaped.

    The Rover 2000 Sports Sedan is thought by many authorities to be the safest car in the world. Happily, it is also among the best handling, so that the likelihood of accident is far less to begin with, and it is fun to drive.

    In addition to a revolutionary suspension system which makes for fantastic maneuverability, the 2000 also has disc brakes all around.

    Heartless To Pretend...

    In conclusion, may we apologize for mentioning such unpleasant possibilities? However, it is even more heartless to pretend that they don’t exist — and neglect to provide for them.
    The stern fact is that very few cars have any of the safety features we have mentioned; and only the 2000 has all of them — and a good many more besides.

    Oh, yes, the price: $3998 (1966). Or you can buy it for delivery in Europe and save enough to pay for your passage. If you write, we’ll tell you about that, too. Thank you.

    The Rover Motor Co. of N. America Ltd.. Chrysler Bldg., New York
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