The Rover P5B Coupe is personally one of our favourite Classic Cars. Having watched The Petrol Age with Paul McGann recently and watched him cruise about in his white one we started to ask how many of these cars are out there being used and kept going.
Enter Kevin and his fab P5b Coupe rolling restoration. Ok so that might not be the most flattering picture of Kevin but the car is what we are after.
This Rover P5B Coupe is kept outside in all weathers and is in no way a garage queen. Kevin does all the work himself and is testament to the “get off the couch and do it” philosophy.
Here at We Are Classic Cars we love to inspire our readers to do the same so if you are sitting at your nice warm desk reading this but feel you don’t have the skill or confidence to get started then read on.
Some quick questions we asked Kevin:1) How often / Far do you drive her? I haven’t gone far recently I have been busy moving house and business but I normally do a few hundred a year. I also have an ex london taxi and that does thousands of miles. 2) Do you use her in all weather? I don’t use the Rover in the wet if I can help it but it does live outside. 3) How would you rate using her in all weather given the lack of anti lock brakes etc? ( I know my answer to this with my Jag would be bloody scary!) I have no problems driving it in traffic, in fact I think old classics are safer than many modern cars as you tend to drive them carefully. 4) Compared to a more modern car how much general maintenance is needed to keep her on the road (not resto work but general wear and tear) It needs a reasonable amount of maintenance although I’d have thought no more than a modern. 5) What advice would you have for someone else looking to buy a P5B or indeed any classic car to use on a regular basis? I’d recommend an old car to anyone, however the big rovers and jags tend to rot badly and I’m glad I like welding as I’ve found plenty to do on all my old cars 6) Knowing what you know now would you do it again? Yes I’d do it again, I wish I had a bigger drive way!.
We have listed below a small snippet of the work that Kevin has done. Remember all this work is carried out in the road with no fancy workshop. Click Here to see Kevins site in full.
One of the best aspects of this rolling restoration in the sheer ingenuity that Kevin shows when needing to replace or find a new part. As these cars or indeed all classic cars get older it will become more important to think outside the box as Kevin does.
Rear spring mounting rot.
A prod underneath revealed a spring hanger section held together by the original factory applied underseal at the rear. This was the rear shackle on the near side,my thumb pushed through the crumbling metal in front of and behind it.
The corrosion was localised and hidden by the original factory applied sealer which was thick and very hard.Removing the exhaust (which was relatively new and easy to remove) and the spare wheel carrier for access the chassis section was cut out and a new section welded in.
I have seen much worse on cars even with full MOTs.
The heater hoses are short right angled and seemingly difficult to obtain. I used 5/8 heater hose and inserted 15mm domestic hot water plastic pipe cut as above that stops the hose kinking when bent sharply.
The hose can be bent without collapsing.other people have made the same hoses using standard plumbers bends in copper with short connecting pipes. I found filling the cooling system via these pipes goes a long way to curing air locks.
Replacing Door Rubbers
A new door seal was made for the trailing part on the drivers door.The original had perished although the rest seem in reasonable order.
The replacement seal was made by bonding two commercially available sections together (as at bottom of picture) to achieve the required shape.I found the secret to gluing rubber door seals etc is to roughen then slightly with sandpaper and then clean them with thinners and use a decent contact adhesive.
New Anti Roll Bar Bushes
New ones are available but I was quoted over £25 for what are only a couple of small bits of rubber.
After some searching I found some for a modern vehicle that are heavy duty and fit after a bit of modification. They seem to work as well,if anything better than the originals and only cost £3.
The original pattern parts could still be fitted if required.
The interior was tatty but nothing was missing and new carpets had been fitted.The door cards were poor,like most old cars they’d been affected by damp but they were repairable,the seats were cracked and the stitching had come away.Some of the seams had opened but the seats were still repairable,considering the cars age they had survived quite well.
The foam in the drivers seat had disintegrated.The leather was wrinkled and seams were splitting.Considering their age and the length of time the car had been stored they had survived reasonably well.
The vehicle came with some rough spare seats and some odd trim parts and I bought two more front seats from Ebay.These were dismantled and some of the leather panels swapped over.The seats are surprisingly heavy.
The reclining mechanism in the seats from Ebay was broken and the seats had been welded in a fixed position.The reclining mechanism was repaired using parts from another seat.
The seat had a few odd creases but is more comfortable than before.It still needed the leather softening and feeding.
I replaced the carpet on the console which fitted badly and repaired the switches,the soundproofing over the transmission tunnel was replaced and the vinyl cleaned up.The gear lever brush type draught excluder was also replaced with a cut down domestic seal.The passengers seat stitching broke as can be seen in the corner.
After repeated cleaning,then treating with a leather cream and waxing and polishing the interior started to look a lot better.The leather is still slightly stiff I think the previous owner had effectively sealed it and that makes any treatments used slow to penetrate the leather.
I removed the leather seat pad which was in good condition from the new passengers seat and repaired the sewing by turning the cover upside down and sewing with a very srong needle but using the original holes.I replaced the foam although with hind sight wadding and stuffing would have made a better job.
Have a read of Kevin’s work in all its glory and detail. Click Here to visit his main site.
What we take away from Kevin’s great work is the ability to look at a problem and find alternative solutions. Take the heater hoses for example. This is an example of how you can simply try something.
You do not have to worry if it works as you can always try something else. The feeling of satisfaction when you do find something that works cannot be under estimated.
We would like to thank Kevin for being a part of this and we hope this might just give you some inspiration to get your spanners out and get on with those jobs you have been putting off.
So is the Rover P5B Coupe a true classic car? Without doubt it is and one of the best.