The 1959-1973 Rover P5/P5B Series was the second-generation postwar design from the British Rover company. All were four-door sedans featuring semi-unitized construction. A massive front subframe attached to the welded main body/floorpan structure carried the engine and transmission.

Originally known as the 3-Litre, the P5 was powered by Rover's trusty F-head inline six. Rover acquired the tooling and production rights for the aluminum small-block V-8 engine first seen in the 1961 Buick Special. This engine was substituted for the 1967 model year, and the factory code designation changed to P5B.

Automatic transmission was optional in all years, and power steering was made standard with the engine swap. Styling of the Rover P5/P5B was rounded, staid, and conservative. A large square grille with vertical bars and rounded corners, split by a heavy chrome divider bearing the Rover emblem, dominated the front end.

A low-roof four-door sedan -- oddly called "Coupe"-- was also offered, and continued after introduction of the P6 series, when the standard-roof P5 models disappeared. Interiors featured lots of real wood, leather, fine-quality carpet, and traditional British fittings. More agile than its P4 predecessor, the P5/P5B had better brakes and considerably more performance.

The six-cylinder cars could reach 105 mph; with V-8, the top end was around 115 mph despite the bluff shape. A good many of these Rovers survive in their homeland today, and the model is reasonably available in the U.S. as well.

Pluses of the 1959-1973 Rover P5/P5B Series:

  • Durable
  • Engineering integrity
  • Fine furnishings
  • Power steering, automatic on many examples
  • Well-built

Minuses of the 1959-1973 Rover P5/P5B Series:

  • Dubious parts supplies
  • Heavy and gas-hungry
  • Ponderous handling

Specifications of the 1959-1973 Rover P5/P5B Series:
Wheelbase, inches: 110.5
Length, inches: 186.0

Weight, pounds
: 3,500-3,610
Price, new: NA

Engines for the 959-1973 Rover P5/P5B Series:

TypeSize
Horsepower
Years
F I-6
2,995 cc (183 cid)
105/121
1959-1967
ohv V-8
3,528 cc (215 cid)
161
1967-1973

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