RoverP5.com Review: Rover P5 and P5B The Complete Story. Thinking of buying a Rover P5 or P5B? Own one but you don’t know the full history of these cars? Have an in interest in British cars? If so, then this definitive book by James Taylor should be on your bookshelf. It is, in many ways, ‘the bible’ of the P5 and P5B.
This book is the culmination of James Taylors research and interest in Rover P5’s and P5B’s. Over these years James has interviewed many Rover employees who were directly involved in the development of the cars, from David Bache (Chief Stylist) and Gordon Bashford (Chief Engineer, Advanced Vehicles) to the any Engineers and Stylists who worked on the details. Many of these people people are no longer with us, so apart from archival records, its unlikely much new information will be uncovered that isn’t included in this book.
James’ profile on The Crowood Press website says “James Taylor is a distinguished motoring historian with more than fifty books to his credit. He also writes for specialist magazines both in Britain and overseas, covering the whole motoring spectrum from classics to current models. His specialist subject might be regarded as Rover, but he has contributed several titles to the Crowood AutoClassic series on subjects as diverse as Land Rovers and BMWs.”
Rover P5 and P5B The Complete Story covers the cars through their design, development and time on sale. It breaks things down chronologically and logically, with chapters on the 3-litre Mk I models (1958-1961), the Mk IA (1961-1962), Mk II Saloons (1962-1965), The Coupe (origins and Mk II), the Mk III saloons and Coupe (1965-1967), and then the development and lifecycle of the 3.5 litres P5B (1967-1973).
Each chapter has the specifications of each model, the paint and trim options that were available, detail and photos on the main differences each model introduced, a summary of press reaction, rivals that were available, how the cars fared in export markets and a detailed breakdown of sales data.
Additionally, and one of the most useful parts of each section, there is a great amount of detail on the revisions made to each model through the cars life. Again this is laid-out chronologically, and is invaluable in determining the correct details for a particular model and year/month.
There is also a surprising chapter on the cars competition history (yes, really!), and the last chapter is useful as a buyers guide, covering originality and what to look for when evaluating a car.
It is worth mentioning that there is an older version of this book, first published in 1997, which was published as a hardback. The version reviewed here is the latest version, published in 2007, and available only as a paperback version. This in no way detracts from the book, and I would always recommend buying the 2007 version.
It is difficult to find fault with this book, and it represents great value for money. As mentioned at the start, it should be considered essential whether you’re looking to buy one of these cars, you already own one, or you have a general interest.