“…Shone Like A Meteor Streaming To The Wind.” (Rover 3 ½ Litre Brochure, 1968).
About BGU 122G-Rover 3.5 Litre P5B Coupe. My Rover P5B Coupe, registration BGU 122G, was manufactured 0n 22 August 1968 and despatched from the Solihull factory on 3 September 1968. The car has a Silver Birch roof over Admiralty Blue bodywork, with Buckskin (cream) leather and Mortlake Brown (fawn) carpets.
It’s history is a mystery until 1986, when it was first registered in the UK – 18 years after being made. The car is verified as RHD Home Market Specification, so it could have been registered to an embassy, the MoD or Government, registered in the Isle of Mann or Guernsey/Jersey, or even overseas (that seems unlikely as it’s a UK-spec car). It’s also highly unlikely an embassy, the MoD or Government would keep a car for 18 years, and most, if not all, of the Government cars were saloons, not Coupes. The car was delivered and distributed to Henlys Limited, London, who were distributors that handled a great many of Rover’s cars and also had some dealer premises, so that doesn’t really help explain things either.
It would be lovely to find out what happened to the car in this mysterious 18 year gap, but it’s likely to remain a mystery unless a small miracle occurs.
The car was manufactured just after Rover became part of BLMC (British Leyland Motor Corporation Ltd). Rover had joined the successful Leyland Motor Corporation (LMC) in 1967, sitting alongside Triumph, as part of the ongoing rationalisation and restructuring of the British motor industry. Then in 1968 LMC merged with the failing British Motor Corporation (BMC) to create BLMC. The hope was that LMC would rescue BMC. The reality was that BMC dragged-down LMC, until the government had to rescue the whole lot in 1974 and create the nationalised British Leyland. When Rover became part of BLMC alongside Jaguar in 1968, it’s fate was basically sealed, as new Rover models being worked on (the P8, which was due to replace the P5 in 1972) were cancelled apparently so they didn’t compete with Jaguar models, which makes sense in many ways but was a tragedy for Rover.