Restoring the Rover P5B Interior

Restoring the Rover P5B Interior. Things have been pretty quiet on here recently, but there’s been no lack of progress on the car. I haven’t been using it much as there’s a small fuel leak from the left carburettor which, given the cars history, I’m going to get sorted next week. So, in terms of where we’re at:

1. The interior is stripped (seats, console, carpet, seatbelts, rear shelf all removed). No nasty surprises, in fact it all looks remarkably solid. Door trims will be removed one door at a time so I can keep driving the car in relative comfort, as they need a good clean, some stitching fixing and the moquette replacing on the door pockets.

2. Seats and all leather parts have been cleaned. Quite a transformation! I don’t even want to think about how the front seats we’re so dirty and what I was cleaning off.

3. Centre console completely disassembled and stripped (quite an elaborate thing with many parts that screw and rivet together), and either leather parts cleaned, the outer carpet replaced (not the easiest thing) and vinyl replaced. New Lucas pull switches bought to replace the naff Halfords toggle switch for the fuel pump. New cigarette lighter bought to replace the broken old one, and drilled/filed to take the old illumination bulb.

4. Inertia real seatbelts from Securon not fitted. This has been quite a trial to be honest, despite having the right items. Seems later P5B’s were modified to make fitting inertia seatbelts easier – lower B-post mounts were made vertical (mine lean over at 30 degrees) and the rear shelf mountings were moved (mine are too near to the rear seat backrest). So, after much head-scratching I decided to get some mounts made. Two brackets for the B-posts with a 30 degree bend, and a box section (aka ‘the beam’) that will sit behind the rear seats on the rear shelf, providing new mounting points and raising the reels up 50mm so they don’t rub on the seats as much. All being made in 3.5mm steel, so very strong.

The beam will be covered in matching vinyl and will sit only slightly higher than the rear shelf, so will barely be noticeable. Photos and full details will follow.

On a happier note, I contacted Securon as the rear belt reels didn’t have any covers. I bought the same belts 10 years ago for my Alfa and they had covers. A very nice lady at Securon said she would see if they have any left. I didn’t hold out much hope, but a few days later a package arrived with two covers. Very good service.

5. Aforementioned fuel leak from the Jet Pipe will be sorted next week. New jets and pipes/seals ordered from SU (Burlen).

6. Temperature Sender (Temperature Transmitter in Rover speak) stopped working, so new one ordered from JR Wadhams. The temperature gauge seems to have 3 positions that it cycles through randomly – reading low when I know the engine is warm, quickly rising to high when I know the engine isn’t that warm, and normal. I suspect the Voltage Stabiliser (the gauge runs on 10V) although it could be the sender. I’ll work through in that order and see what happens.

7. New front and rear screen seals ordered. I knew these were ropey (cracked and brittle), but I’d hoped they were watertight for now. The car was out in a really heavy storm and a little water got past the seals, so I decided that theres no point putting new carpets etc in for them to get damp. So a local  garage that specialise in old British cars are aware what a pig these are to fit but can do it next week. I bit the bullet and booked the car in.

8. Keys! Ah, keys. The car came with a single set of keys. I got an ignition and boot key cut locally, but it seems the door key is a rare beast, and Mister Minit still have one on order. So I Googled and there’s a chap on Amazon selling the right blanks. So I ordered two to be sure. Got them cut and I now have spare keys.

9. Wheels. I’ve resprayed the two spare ‘good’ wheels using etch primer and Hammerite satin black. They need a bit of a clean-up but look good. I’ll get these put on the front then respray those and put them on the rear. Haven’t actually inspected the spare yet – very bad of me.

10. I’m waiting for delivery of a new steering wheel from David Green. It seems these Rover wheels have a tendency to crack the plastic – mine’s cracked in 4 or 5 places. Not that noticeable but not the best thing really. Will swap the new one when it arrives (and also straighten it up – drives me mad that the wheel is about 20 degrees off when driving straight).

11. Bought a new choke (Cold Start in Rover-ese) cable with the correct T-handle. The one fitted looks like the one in my Fathers Austin 1300 in 1973, and it doesn’t match the Fuel Reserve or Bonnet Latch levers. Will fit this when I get a chance.

I think that’s it. Not too shabby for 4 weeks work, but I want to start bringing the car back together so I can enjoy it. I’ve been out on a few short runs and driving it is still a delight, even with no carpets, console etc etc etc…

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