Rover P6 2000
As many of you may have guessed by the silence over the past few days, I've been traveling and away from the blog. Happily, reader Al Johnson was moved to request a car for Car Lust--and his request was so good that it stands on its own as a worthy post.
"You're correct that the Brits managed to make an unreliable car out of a bulletproof one, though a lot of reviewers at the time thought the Sterling's handling and ride were superior to the Legend. But can I nominate another car for Car Lust? I owned a first-generation Rover 2000 for several troubled years. Absolutely brilliant engineering, near-perfect ergonomics, phenomenal handling; it was the ultimate stealth car in a world where no one knew what a sports sedan was.
al"I recall a review in which the 90-horsepower Rover beat a 265-horsepower Jaguar XK-E for elapsed time on a winding road, it handled so well. But the build quality was not even third-world. Brakes and rotors replaced every 5-10k miles, half-shafts every 15-20. Positive ground electrical system. Pirelli Cinturato tires, with tubes, that disintegrated at speed or in cold weather. The aluminum head corroded through about two years in; the company declined to compensate me for it.
"Being young and impetuous, I decided to drive the car on a trip across the U.S. The dealer advised me not to try this, and then sold me what the company euphemistically called a "touring kit"--a large box with one of every hose, gasket and belt, points, plugs and wires, fuses, and so on. I also bought a service manual, which remains one of the best I've ever used: clear line drawings, lists of required tools for each job. By the time I completed the trip, the box was virtually empty, but thanks to that manual I had become a pretty good mechanic.
"It had lots of then-revolutionary innovations: radial tires, 4-wheel disc brakes (inboard at the rear), deDion rear axle, cup-shaped piston tops to make an effectively hemi-shaped combustion chamber, crumple zones, shoulder belts, "Icelert" freeze warning, and more."
Chris here again. I'm not familiar with these cars, so thanks to Al for the heads-up and the great content. I was a little more familiar with the later SD1 Rovers, which I've vaguely planned for a future Car Lust, but these P6 Rovers are completely new to me.
These P6 Rovers were available with a engines of a few different displacements, which were reflected in their names---the 2000, the 2200, and the 3500 which used the ubiquitous Buick 3.5-liter V-8 that eventually wound up in, among other things, the Triumph TR-8. For the mid-1960s, this looked like a fun car, at least if you have the, um, touring kit. It's a bit of a looker, too.