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1950-1964 Rover P4 Series

1950 Rolls-Royce P4 Series sedan, part of the 1950-1964 Rover P4 Series
1950 Rolls-Royce P4 Series sedan

The 1950-1964 Rover P4 Series was one of postwar Britain's best known and longest running cars, and affectionately nicknamed "Aunty" Rover for its charming but dowdy appearance. It ran on a very strong separate chassis with rather heavy engines that meant a pronounced forward weight bias and consequently stodgy handling.

The slab-sided styling was reportedly influenced by Raymond Loewy's 1947 Studebaker -- even down to rear-hinged back doors. A characteristic square grille with vertical bars was flanked by headlamps set somewhat inboard of the fender edges. It saw various minor restyles over the years, mostly involving efforts to enlarge and smooth out the tail. The back window became progressively larger, too.

The Rover P4 Series was built with quality materials -- wood-faced dash and doors, leather upholstery, fine carpeting -- and built a well-deserved reputation for reliability and longevity. In fact, many are still in daily use. Offered with six different engines during its long life span, the P4 had model designations often (but not always) reflecting rated horsepower (most commonly 60, 75, 80, 90, and 100).

Automatic transmission became available in the 1950’s, and many cars were built with optional electric overdrive for the standard four-speed manual gearbox. In all, the Rover P4 Series was resolutely conservative and solid, but not widely sold or known outside the British Commonwealth.

In the end, it was replaced by the similarly styled, but more modern, P5 series.

Pluses of the 1950-1964 Rover P4 Series:

  • Cheap to buy
  • Many parts still available
  • Quality materials
  • Solid and durable
  • Strong chassis
  • Wide choice of engines

Minuses of the 1950-1964 Rover P4 Series:

  • Heavy steering, brakes, clutch
  • Large-engine models thirsty
  • Rare in U.S.
  • Small-engine models sluggish
  • Stodgy handling

Production of the 1950-1964 Rover P4 Series:

Specifications of the 1950-1964 Rover P4 Series:
Wheelbase, inches: 123.0
Length, inches: 178.0

Weight, pounds: 3,050-3,350
Price, new
: $2,296-$2,562 in U.S. in 1956

Engines for the 1950-1964 Rover P4 Series:

F I-4
1,997 cc (122 cid)
F I-6
2,103 cc (128 cid)
ohv I-6
2,230 cc (136 cid)
ohv I-4
2,286 cc (140 cid)
ohv I-6
2,638 cc (161 cid)
ohv I-6
2,625 cc (160 cid)


Want more information about classic cars? See: