Rover P5 Coupe restoration

Yesterday I visited a friend’s workshop where he is restoring three Rover P5 Coupes.   He is a real P5 enthusiast having owned a number of the models over the years.   There are three cars under restoration, supported by two parts cars.

The first car under restoration is a 1964 MKIIA model.    It was originally delivered 26/6/1964.  Unusually for a car delivered in Australia, it is equipped with a manual transmission and overdrive.   Most cars sold here came with the Borg Warner DG automatic gearbox.   The current owner purchased the car in 1971.

The manual/overdrive ‘export’ P5 MKII Coupe is relatively rare, with only 67 RHD models being produced at the factory, this car being #23.   Overall, including home market (1956) and LHD export (312) there were 2335 manual cars in total.

I don’t know the full details of the difference between home market and export cars, but one obvious difference is the engine compression.   The original engine for this car was an 8:1 compression model vs the 8:75 compression for the home market cars.

Rover P5 MKIIA Coupe

The car was originally white, but is now painted Admiralty Blue on the lower half and Slate Grey for the roof.   It is equipped with a Webasto sunroof and will have a grey leather interior with dark blue carpets.

I really like the colour combination of this car.   In the image above, the fuel tank for the car can also be seen.    Eagle eyed viewers will see that while the car is a MKII, it has P5B side trim.   This is because the owner prefers it.   The intention of this car was to build his vision of the ideal Rover P5.  Another change is the colour matched hubcaps.   Originally the Rover P5 (MKII) was to have painted hubcaps like a Mercedes-Benz, but that was cancelled at the last minute.  The reason was probably cost.

P5 HubcapsAs part of the restoration, the engine has been swapped for one from the same year.   This presumably came from the P5 MKIIA Saloon that provided parts for the restoration (77600154A).

While there were running changes throughout P5 MKII production, the biggest changes came with the introduction of the MKIIC cars.

MKIIC cars included engine improvements (larger crankshaft mains, oil drain at the rear of the head and more), speedometer/tachometer with a larger font, two speed wipers, a better fuse box, improvements to suspension, exhaust, fuel tank and many more.    This car has the improved gauge faces as part of the restoration:

P5 Coupe Instruments

In addition, the tachometer has been rebuilt by a qualified electrical engineer to be far more accurate than original.    The main work to be done on the car now is the assembly.

1964 Rover P5 Coupe interior

Accompanying the MKIIA is a 1965 MKIIC.  The C suffix model have all the improvements listed above.    This car started out life with a Borg Warner DG gearbox but has been converted to manual/overdrive.

The MKIIC car is Admiralty blue on the body and the roof and is not equipped with a webasto sunroof.   It has a cream leather interior and has air conditioning.   To fit the massive York compressor, part of the inner wing needed to be cut out!

MKIIC Restoration

As with the MKIIA, this car also has v8 side trim.

MKIIC Coupe Restoration

Of the three cars, this car is the furthest along with the final assembly.

The final car is the MKIII model.   As with the car above, it started its life as an automatic.   In this case, being a MKIII a Borg Warner 35.  It now has a manual/overdrive transmission.  The owner of these cars is not a fan of the BW35 in the P5.   The MKIII had a taller rear end ratio, so combined with the BW35 was a more relaxed performer.

Where the MKIIA is the owners idea of the ideal Rover P5 in a more traditional way, the MKIII has been built in a more brash style.   It is sporting the Rostyle wheels from a V8 and a custom Cream/Almond colour combination.   It is a very striking car.    This car also has a Webasto sunroof.    It has been in the current owner’s care since the 80s.


The MKIII will have a tan leather interior.   The interior is the biggest difference between the MKII cars, with something more like the P5B.   The front seats are more like armchairs and there is a rear heater control.

I really enjoyed going to look at the Rover P5 Coupe restoration.  It is amazing to see the marked differences between three cars of consecutive years.

My favorite is the earlier car, then the MKIII, then the all blue car.   But all of them are lovely and I am looking forward to dropping by in a couple more months to see the progress of the Rover P5 coupe restoration project.

Update:  Restoration Progress – December 2019.

Update:  Restoration Progress – May 2020.

7 comments to Rover P5 Coupe restoration

  • Richard Barca

    I think the end result will be stunning. I’m hoping to restore a Mk111 3 litre coup in early 2020. My major concern is upholstery/seats. Cost and type of fabric most practicle, leather or vinyl. I hope we can converse as I go down the restoring project.
    Richard Barca

  • Paul

    How’s it going so far?

  • admin

    last I heard the electrics were finished so the interiors could start going in.

  • Paul

    Will look forward to seeing the Mk111 as I have one with Oder restoration and would like at some stage to take it to the next level.

  • Dawid Falck

    Hello matge.

    I have just started the same journey. I have a 1973 pb5 coupe. Would really appreciate as much help as I can get. For example, The Tachnodted housing rebuild. Looks amazing. Where was this done? Any chance you are willing to swap contact details with your mate doing the restaurations?

    I live in scone in the upper hunter valley.

    My Phone number is XXXXXXXX.

    Thanks mate. Much appreciated.

  • Simon

    Hi I have a 1965 Coupe rover I would much appreciated if you could guide me in the way of getting parts for this beautiful old car I live in the Penrith New South Wales area
    Thanks Simon

  • […] following.    For those who are not regular readers, I sold my old Rover P5 to a gentleman who is restoring three Rover P5 Coupes and I have been calling in to see the restorations every couple of […]

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