Rover P2 Sports Saloon 1947 16 HP.

In 1947 you did not buy cars from showrooms, you put your name on a waiting list, and 3 to 5 years later you took delivery. The new Holden cost 480 pounds and the Rover cost 1,000 pounds. You got what you paid for. Known as the Rover Sixteen Sports Saloon, this was the top of the Rover Range in 1947.

Six cylinder 2147cc, RAC rated 16.9hp, dual down-draft carburettor, four bearing crankshaft, freewheel operated from the dash board, turning circle 40ft, wheelbase 9'7", length 14ft 41/2", weight 27 3/4 cwt. Fitted with Luvax-Bijur Automatic Chassis Lubrication and features Freewheel, electric clock, adjustable steering wheel and foot pedals, adjustable height and tilt for front seats, gauge for sump oil level, reversing lights, choke warning light, reserve petrol tank, rear window blind (for following headlights), passing/driving light and heater with window demister.

Colour is Volvo – “Red Wine” interior is mid grey, seats with dark grey carpets. Purchased May 1988 by Maureen & Kevin Sadler. Chassis Number 7430537 History since 1972 only is known. There are 49,000 miles on the odometer (they did 10,000 miles). It is thought the odometer was zeroed when the motor was changed over.

In 1972-74 the car was restored in an enthusiastic, but amateur, manner by Barry Lees (Maureen's words). He was a mechanic by trade and the mechanicals were very well done. The body was another matter. By May 1988 the car was almost the proverbial bucket of bolts, but not quite. Since its purchase almost everything has been replaced/repaired except for the diff and the steering box, both of which did not need attention. The engine had a major rebuild in 1972-74, and apart from general servicing, carburettor overhaul and new water pump, it was in very good condition. From information available it is thought that this overhaul was at change of engine. The shock absorbers have been rebuilt and the king pins replaced.

In 1993 the car was repainted in the same Maroon colour. All window rubbers were replaced. The bright work was re-chromed. The Bijur-Luvax is in position and can be made to work. The previous owners partially dismantled it as it was over-oiling the garage floor. Some of the oil joints were replaced with BSF grease nipples. Considering the car was driven only 1,000 miles a year it was considered preferable to grease it annually and not by Bijur. The freewheel is fully operational and wonderful to drive with. In about 1993 another gearbox was obtained from Scott's Old Auto Rubber. This gearbox has done only about 30,000 miles. There was really nothing wrong with the original gearbox other than it occasionally came out of top gear when running on down the local mountain. Subsequently they found the trouble was flex in the gearbox mounting, not the old gearbox. There was also a copy of the driver’s handbook, service updates from Rover, repair manual from Rover Sports Register, copy of the parts manual.

The radiator was rodded out and the instruments refurbished, except for the petrol/sump level indicator. The temperature gauge is accurate and the car runs at 70 deg in normal running. A new battery was fitted about June 2002 and a new exhaust system about 2 months before that.

In the run to the Melbourne Rove in 1996, 24 mpg on the highway was obtained, and 16 mpg in the city. That run was 2,000 miles and it was all in top gear and freewheel. Hills, mountains on the freeway are not a problem in top gear. The torque is excellent in keeping the car at a good speed down steep mountain grades.

The dashboard is of South African Walnut veneer (original colour) but has been cut to accommodate a radio, as for a P3. Radios were optional in 1947, but a 1950’s style radio has been fitted with a central front folding antennae in keeping with original equipment available.

The wood has been French polished. The car has four almost new Firestone tyres. The windscreen wipers, horn and trafficators have been refurbished. A pair of round motorbike amber lights have been fitted to the rear bumper bar to act as flashing indicators while the trafficators are constantly lit.

I first saw this car and met the Sadlers at the first Sydney National Rov back in the eighties, and it was the first time I had laid eyes on a 16. It was quite an eyeful then, very different to the P3's I was accustomed to. Much longer, lower and sportier looking. I next saw the car at the second Victorian Rove in Melbourne in 1996 after it's repaint, and since I had bought a partially hot rodded 16, and the spare  parts of 3 wrecked ones intending to restore them, Maureen let me drive it. In her words, Margaret Rutherford (the cars nickname) had won me that day, but I had to wait several years until it was for sale, and my new family was established before I could even think of purchasing this car, I knew it was for sale for some time before I even mentioned it to my wife, who simply said "why don't we buy it"! Up to that time I had "lusted" after the car, but had not even considered making an offer for it.

So, after not a lot of prodding, a deal was struck, and the 16 now sits in pride of place next to my P6B Estate.

Collecting the car was a lot of fun, the registration ran out within a week of the deal being struck, so speed was of the essence! Maureen suggested meeting at Lakes Entrance to do the change over, which seemed ideal, as I could pop over and back on the same day, and still have a couple of hundred kilometres of country driving for me and Margaret Rutherford to become acquainted. I really enjoyed going for a nice country run in our then car, a Vanden Plas to meet the Sadlers, as I had never driven it outside Melbourne. It was a fantastic motorway vehicle, and the run down the highway was a great deal of fun.

We packed the Vanden Plas up with all the spares and books etc. that came with the car and set off for home. As we stopped around the corner to get some lunch, I put my foot on the clutch and heard a loud bang, and the car stalled. Maureen said that the car talks to you, but I never expected it to use that sort of language!! Obviously the car was missing Maureen already. So we had several hundred kilometres to go, with no clutch in a pre-war designed car with a nervous new owner. Great!!

Lunch out of the way, car put in 1st and the starter engaged lurching the car into motion and away, thank god for freewheel and clutchless gear changes! 2nd, 3rd, 4th and pulling away strongly through town, and up the hill and out onto the open road. The first thing I notice is the exceptionally long bonnet, as the car soaked up the miles, with the bonnet rising and falling as though it were a ship through a big swell. The steering is very pre-war, wandering about with the changing road surface and camber, plus cross plies. What a car, I was in love all over again. There was not a lot of stopping all the way home, except the occasional lights at towns and the road crews digging up the road again, simply having to stop, turn off the motor, put it in first and press the starter. This was not a problem until we got to Dandenong at 5.30pm for peak-hour with a multiple pile up. I knew this was it, the car was not able to do stop-start traffic. Fortunately the driver of the Vanden Plas, the inimitable Mr Denis Yates who accompanied me, knew the streets far better than I, guiding the clutch-less car and temper-less driver through the back streets of Doveton with no traffic, so we reached the freeway without stopping!! Thankyou, Denis! Once on the freeway it was a simple matter of rolling down the highway to home.

What a drive, what an experience. Driving almost non-stop from 8.30 am until 6.00 pm that night. I was spent, but happy to be home. Now the fun begins, I have to pull the gearbox out and modify the pressure plate, as I am sure the pivot on the pressure plate where one of the clutch lever rods pivot had snapped, something I have seen many times with P3's.

Scott Richmond. November 2002. 

All British Display Day 2003

 The gear box came out over Christmas, and my diagnosis was confirmed, one of the clutch lever pivot plates had snapped, so the pressure plate was not being lifted from the driven plate enough to let the clutch slip.

The plan was to pull the gearbox out over the Christmas Holidays, as the lever plates were going to be ready at that time, so it would all be put back together over the Christmas Holidays, but as usual, things went pear shaped, and they were not ready until late January. Pulling the gearbox out, was a lot tougher than the old P3's I used to work on, it was like working in a tunnel 4' deep, 3' wide, 1' high and 45 degrees, as the gearbox meets the engine well into the engine bay, instead of inside the car as in the P3. While the gearbox was out, the chassis rails in the area were cleaned of 56 years of dirt, grease and road grime, as the underside of the car should look as good as the outside and inside of the car, otherwise it is not restored! Many thanks to Bruce Nicholson for the clutch pivot plates he made out of stronger materials than available in 1947, and a bit of redesign, to remove a lot of the stress from the plates, so they should last a bit longer than 56 years! 

Now the gearbox is back in, and after some teething problems, working beautifully. We displayed the car at the All British Display Day in Melbourne a few weeks ago, where we all enjoyed showing it off. There were several P3's and the P2 giving a very good display with all the more modern Rovers. We look forward to using it more often at the next Club outings.

April 2003.

Since then, my business partner left the business so my workload doubled overnight, any time I had was taken up with work, bookwork, computer work, and more work, so that there has not been much time to drive the car, so it has not been driven for 2 years!! Then in October last year we moved the business 3 doors up the road, so settling in and renovations have meant even less time! Hopefully there will be time to drive Margaret later this year, or there better be!!

May 2006.

Well that did not happen, here it is 2016 and now business has moved and is now Online only, so less time and even less space so car reluctantly has to go as I need all the room to house the business. 


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