The 2000 was advanced for the time with a de Dion tube suspension at the rear, four-wheel disc brakes (inboard on the rear), and a fully synchromesh transmission. The unibody design featured non-stressed panels bolted to a unit frame, inspired by the Citroën DS. The de Dion set-up was unique in that the “tube” was in two parts that could telescope, thereby avoiding the need for sliding splines in the drive shafts, with consequent stiction under drive or braking torque, while still keeping the wheels vertical and parallel in relation to the body.
The Rover 2000 won industry awards for safety when it was introduced and included a carefully designed “safety” interior. One innovative feature was the prism of plastic on the top of the front side lights. This allowed the driver to see the front corner of the car in low light conditions, and also confirmed that they were operative. The relatively sharp plastic projections did not meet homologation standards in some export markets, including Germany, however and so a lens with a smooth top was substituted where the law demanded.
One unique feature of the Rover 2000 was the design of the front suspension system, in which a bell crank (an L-shaped rotating bracket trailing the upper hub carrier joint) conveyed the vertical motion of the wheel to a fore-and-aft-horizontally mounted spring fastened to the rear wall of the engine compartment. A single hydraulically damped arm was mounted on the bulkhead for the steering. The front suspension was designed to allow as much width for the engine compartment as possible so that Rover’s gas turbine engine could be fitted. The styling outline was first seen in the 1961 prototype T4, a front-engined front-wheel-drive gas turbine saloon, one of a line of gas turbine prototypes built by Rover in the 1950s and 1960s. T4 survives today and can be seen at the British Motor Museum.
The first P6 used a 2.0 L (1,978 cc or 120.7 cu in) engine designed specifically for the P6. Although it was announced towards the end of 1963, the car had been in “pilot production” since the beginning of the year, therefore deliveries were able to begin immediately. Original output was in the order of 104 bhp (78 kW). At the time the engine was unusual in having an overhead camshaft layout. The cylinder head had a perfectly flat surface, and the combustion chambers were cast into the piston crowns (sometimes known as a Heron head).
Cars that were built until 1966 are referred to as early cars. The Rover 2000 had many detailed differences that changed over the first 3 years of production. Items such as exhaust systems, gear linkages and most visibly the front valance. It had vertical slats and was curved with no extra bumps which gave the car the nick name “sharks tooth”. Also on these cars the boot-shuts and the door-shuts of the base unit were painted body colour. The cars varied very slightly in appearance because radio aerials, a heated rear window and a locking fuel cap were optional extras. Early instrument panels were not made of plastic. The speedometer only went up to 110mph and the centre console and pedals were different on later cars.
This car in specific is a very well preserved example of a series I Rover 2000 manual. Still in it’s original paint and interior, matching numbers. Runs and drives very well. A car for the connaisseur.