Useful information on the Rover P5 (3 Litre) and P5B (3.5 Litre)...

Rover P5 (3 Litre) and P5B (3.5 Litre) Data. Here’s some hopefully useful information that I’ll keep updating over time. Key information from blog posts will also be added here so it doesn’t get buried in the blog itself. I’ve had such difficulty finding information, good garages and other resources for classic Rovers that I thought it would be useful for me to list everything in one place, eve if only for my own use!

If you want to add something just let me know and I’ll be happy to add it, including overseas companies.

Rover P5 and Rover P5B Basic Data

Production (Saloon)  
Production (Coupe)
0-60 mph12.4 seconds
Top Speed108 mph
Power151 BHP
Torque201 lb/ft
General ConfigurationFront-engine RWD
EngineV8 ohv
Capacity215.3 cu in3500 cc
FuelPetrol (5*)
Fuel DeliveryTwin SU Carburettors
Suspension FrontIndependent, torsion spring
Suspension RearLive axle, semi-elliptical leaf springs
SteeringHydrosteer variable ratio
BodySteel monocoque
Gearbox3-speed automatic, Borg-Warner Type 35
Length186.5 in4737 mm
Width70 in1778 mm
Height (Coupe)58 in1473 mm
Height (Saloon)61 in1549 mm
Wheelbase110.5 in2807 mm
Weight3,498 lb1587 kg

Rover P5 and Rover P5B Service Items

Engine OilPenrite Classic LightHigh Zinc content good for classic engines.
Auto Transmission FluidCastrol TQFConforms to Type G Ford Spec M2C-33G. Avoid any Dexron types.
Power Steering FluidCastrol TQF
Brake FluidAny DOT4 fluid
Clutch FluidAny DOT4 fluid
SU Damper OilAny SAE20 Oil or Comma ATFSAE20 but no thicker.
Anti-freezeStandard Bluecol BlueMixed 50:50. Avoid modern Organic Additive Technology (OAT) antifreezes. You want a traditional Inorganic Additive Technology (IAT), ethylene glycol based anti-freeze with inhibitors for alloy engines.
Spark PlugsChampion L87YC / L92YC
Contact Breakerspre 72: Lucas DSB 111 / Internotor 23420 / Unipart GCS 108
Post 72: Lucas DBS 117 / Intermotor 23430 / Unipart GCS 2117
Fan Belttbd
Power Steering Belttbd
Air FilterUnipart GFE 1111 / Fram CA2634 / Crossland 806
Oil FilterUnipart GFE 145 / Fram PH25 / Crossland 313

Engine Oil

The manual suggests any 20W50 oil, but here’s a very useful thread on the P5 Club Forum. Seems there’s concern over the amount (or lack of) Zinc in modern oils, and that may be causing wear to classic engines.

Automatic Transmission & Power Steering

On to another can of worms. The P5 Club Forum has this handy thread. Seems there’s concern over ‘Dexron’ type fluids that were specified by GM, as they contain friction modifiers which help to smooth out the changes on boxes that were designed to be used with it. The P5B Borg-Warner 35 that the P5B uses wasn’t designed to use it, and it can cause slip and changing problems apparently. You need an oil that conforms to Type G Ford Spec M2C-33G.

Rover P5 and Rover P5B Service Data

Firing Order1-8-4-3-6-5-7-2Left F-R: 1-3-5-7
Right F-R: 2-4-6-8
Spark Plug Gap0.7mm / 0.025in
Contact Breaker GapDwell Angle 26 - 28 degrees0.35 - 0.40mm / 0,014 - 0,016 as initial setting.
Ignition Timing6 degree BTDC mark on crankshaft pulley
Dynamic setting 5-600 rpm.
Oil Pressure30-40 lb/sq in at 2,400rpm
Fan Belt Adjustment11-14mm movement
Power Steering Belt Adjustment6-9mm movement
Antifreeze33-50% concentration

Rover P5 and Rover P5B Wheels & Tyres

Wheels are 5 x 5in PCD pattern (5 x 127mm), 15 inch diameter. They were popularly called Magnum style (as in Magnesium style) but now are better known as Rostyle wheels. The R and O of Rostyle not being from ROver, but from Rubery Owen, the British company that produced them.

The original tyres were cross-ply Avon Turbospeed or Dunlop Roadspeed, 6.70 x 15. Cross-ply tyres were much ‘taller’ than radial-ply tyres, with a standard profile of 100%. So, 6.70 inch width at 100 profile is 6.70 inch sidewall height, or 171mm. To have that sidewall height a modern 70-profile tyre would need to be 243 mm wide (171/0.7), the nearest standard size tyre to that being 245/70 15 – much too wide for a standard P5B wheel and arch, and much too much stress on the steering components.

So, we need to make some compromises. The tallest radial-ply tyre is 80-profile. That would equate to 214mm wide (171/0.8), the nearest standard size tyre being 215/80 15. That may fit, but is still generally considered too wide – 205 width is about as far as most people go. Also, 80-profile tyres are only really available for vans (unsuitable) or 4x4 vehicles (SUV’s or off-roaders), some of which are either too coarse for on-road car use or don’t have sufficient speed rating. There are a few that may be suitable though, and when you consider the weight and suspension layout of a P5, it’s not too dissimilar to a 4x4 vehicle (a P5B having a solid rear axle, rear elliptical springs and weighing 1,600Kg, whereas a typical 4x4 is around 2000kg).

A 195/80 or 205/80 4x4 tyre with a tread pattern for mainly on-road usage still has a lower sidewall than the original 171 mm (156mm and 164mm respectively). If you want to use a car tyre, it seems the only real options are 70-profile tyres, and you’ll just need to live with the lower-profile look of the tyre (205/70 is a 144mm sidewall height), the inaccuracy of the speedometer / odometer and the increased engine speed for a given road speed.

A great generic resource on tyres and wheels is The Wheel And Tyre Bible.

SizeTypeWidthSidewall HeightCircumference% DifferenceIndicated 70mph Is ActuallyNotes
6.70 x 15Original Equipment: Avon Turbospeed or Dunlop Roadspeed6.70 inches / 170 mm6.70 inches / 170 mm2265 mm-70 mphOriginal factory-fitted tyre, crossply.
195/80 154x4 tyre195 mm156 mm2176 mm-4%67.2 mph
205/70 15Car tyre205 mm144 mm2097 mm-7%64.8 mph
205/80 154x4 tyre205 mm164 mm2226 mm-2%68.8 mph

Cross Ply tyres recommended to be inflated to 26 psi.

Radial tyres are recommended to be inflated to 30 psi.

Rover P5 and Rover P5B Paint Codes

ColourICI CodeMix
Admiralty BlueP030-6856Indigo Blue (P030-9932) 40%
Blue Lake (P030-9930) 27%
Black (P030-9929) 26%
White (P030-9901) 7%
Silver BirchP030-4891White (P030-9901) 89%
Reduced Yellow Oxide (P062-9911) 6%
Black (P030-9929) 4%
Reduced Permanent Green (P062-9905) 1%
Bordeaux RedP030-4890Garnet Maroon (P030-9923) 55%
Black (P030-9929) 28%
Turkey Red Oxide (P030-9915) 15%
White (P030-9901) 2%
Zircon BueP030-4508Permanent Blue (P030-9904) 41%
Permanent Green (P030-9905) 27%
White (P030-9901) 20%
Black (P030-9929) 10%
Arden GreenP030-4881Black (P030-9929) 47%
Fast Yellow (P030-9970) 30%
Permanent Green (P030-9905) 19%
Turkey Red Oxide (P030-9915) 3%
White (P030-9901) 1%
Burnt GreyP030-4888Black (P030-9929) 48%
White (P030-9901) 36%
Yellow Oxide (P030-9911) 9%
Turkey Red Oxide (P030-9915) 7%

Rover P5 and Rover P5B Parts Suppliers

J R Wadhams LtdUK - West Midlands+44 (0) 1384 and manufacturer most parts for P4, P5/P5B and P6/P6B.
David of many second-hand and occasionally NOS parts.
Burlen LtdUK - Wiltshire+44 (0) 1722 Manufacturer of Genuine SU Carburettors, Fuel Pumps and Spares.

Rover P5 and Rover P5B Cleaning & Care

GliptoneLeather Cleaner and Leather ConditionerWorks really well, smells good!

Vehicle Registration Plates

Data is included only for the years the P5B was in production.

Registration LetterDatesNotes
-Pre February 1963Not year-related.
AFebruary 1963 - 31 December 1963
B1 January 1964 - 31 December 1964
C1 January 1965 - 31 December 1965
D1 January 1966 - 31 December 1966
E1 January 1967 – 31 July 1967Although pre-P5B commercial launch, some brochures show E-registered cars.
F1 August 1967 – 31 July 1968Rover P5B introduced in September 1967.
G1 August 1968 – 31 July 1969
H1 August 1969 – 31 July 1970
J1 August 1970 – 31 July 1971
K1 August 1971 – 31 July 1972
L1 August 1972 – 31 July 1973
M1 August 1973 – 31 July 1974Rover P5B ceased production in 1973.

Black number plates with white or silver characters are permitted on vehicles registered before 1 January 1973.

The ‘year identifier’ is a handy way to know the age of the vehicle (at leafs when it was first registered). Until 1967 the year letter changed on 1 January each year, but car buyers would then wait until the New Year for the new letter to be issued so they could get a “newer” car. This led to major peaks and troughs in sales over the year. To help flatten this out, in 1967 the change of year letter occurred on 1 August rather than 1 January. So “E” suffixes ran only from 1 January to 31 July, before “F” suffixes commenced on 1 August.

Rover P5 and Rover P5B Garage Services

Beech Hill GarageUK - Berkshire+44 (0) 118 988 4774www.beechhillgarage.comMG specialists who are very knowledgeable on any MG-Rover, Austin-Rover, British Leyland, or BMC car (plus many other classics).
AJF Motor Engineers LtdUK - BuckinghamshiredeleteddeletedNot recommended. Slow, failed to fix the fuel leak, left car filthy inside and damaged the paintwork whilst replacing screen rubbers.

Rover P5 and Rover P5B General Services & Suppliers

Tex AutomotiveUK - Oxfordshire+44 (0) 1993 893500www.texautomotive.comGeneral car accessories made in UK since 1947.
Old School Windscreen ServicesUK - Surrey+44 (0) 1932 family run business gathering expertise and knowledge since the 1950's.
Vehicle Wiring ProductsUK - Derbyshire+44 (0) 115 thousands of cables, terminals, connectors, crimp tools, switches, fuse boxes, brake pipe and fittings etc.

Rover P5 and Rover P5B Web Resources

Rover P5 ClubOwners
Rover P5 Club

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