Rover P5B Coupe In The Nude [Part 1]: Introduction
This Rover P5B was dismantled by Cyrille, who owns several Rovers and Land Rovers and is active on the Rover P5 Club Forum. Cyrille’s photos provide an invaluable reference for anyone wanting to understand these cars ‘under the skin’. I am thankful to him for allowing me to host his photos and present them here. Cyrille’s original thread is here on the Rover P5 Club Forum.
Sharing Cyrille’s photos was partly prompted when the PhotoBucket website changed their terms for posting images on third-party sites during 2017, demanding a (significant) payment to continue sharing photos in this way. Many forums lost access to photos, and some of these were invaluable resources. I suggested to Cyrille that as his thread was so useful, I could host his photos and share them via this site to avoid any future issues with third-party hosting. So consider this a kind-of backup of the original thread that’s still available on the Rover P5 Club Forum. Hopefully this provides a useful and interesting series.
The thread created by Cyrille has grown over time as other people have requested specific photos, so I’ve taken the opportunity to re-order and group the photos to (hopefully) make this more useful as a reference. There will be be 9 parts to this series, as follows:
- The Interior
- The Doors
- Front Bodywork
- The Engine
- The Brakes
- Rear Bodywork
- Rear Suspension
- Glass & Exterior Trim
Cyrille bought this Rover P5B Coupe to restore, but it soon became clear it was so rotten it was only good for parts, so Cyrille set-to to begin the dismantling. Before he bought the car it had been sitting on grass under a tree for many years, and obviously that contributed to its condition here. In itself this is worth noting – as you’ll see as the series progresses, the car in the photos below doesn’t look to be in a terrible condition, but these cars are very good at hiding quite severe corrosion behind seemingly good exterior panels. I don’t believe the Rover P5 or P5B is any worse for corrosion than most other cars of their period, they’re just very good at hiding it!
Partly that is down to the construction – the P5 was a bit of a hybrid, and showed Rover starting to push the boundaries of car body engineering in the 1950’s (which would culminate with the P6 launch in 1963). The Rover P5 and P5B is primarily Rover’s first unitary or monocoque design (i.e. it doesn’t have a separate chassis, although it does still have ‘chassis rails’ as part of the monocoque at the rear and a substantial subframe at the front), and also Rover’s first attempt at a ‘base unit’ car, where some of the exterior panels are not load-bearing.
As you can see, the car is a left-hand drive export model. The great majority of the car is identical to a right-hand drive model. It doesn’t look too bad from outside, but as mentioned above, it’s successfully hiding some pretty-bad corrosion.
It’s also worth mentioning that the bodyshell of the Rover P5 and P5B changed very little through it’s lifetime. There were detail changes such as to the front wings when the P5B was introduced and the B-pillars when inertia-reel seatbelts were introduced in the late 1960’s, but most of these photos are relevant to all cars (except the engine, obviously).
Much of the body engineering of the Rover P5 and P5B was handled by Pressed Steel of Cowley, Oxford, England, who also produced the bodies for the Rover P4 and many other British car companies. Pressed Steel both engineered and manufactured the body for the Rover P5 and P5B, an arrangement that was quite common in the UK at the time. Eventually the largest companies were bought by car manufacturers in the 1950’s and ’60’s to achieve greater ‘vertical integration’ in the British car industry. In 1953 Ford acquired Briggs Motor Bodies and the British Motor Corporation (BMC) acquired Fisher & Ludlow, then in 1965 BMC also acquired Pressed Steel, combining them to create Pressed Steel-Fisher (PS-F).
Here’s the Pressed Steel-Fisher plate that’s attached to the body of Cyrille’s car:
Jumping ahead for a moment so you know where this series will end, here’s the bodyshell once most of the dismantling work was completed:
And here’s Cyrille taking-away the last remains of the P5 in his Land Rover, once the dismantling was completed (very nice Land Rover, by the way):
The next instalment will be looking at the interior of the car, stripping most of the trim. Subscribe to be notified of updates!