Could this restored P4 be the best Rover ever?
One of just 268 surviving Rover 95s is heading to auction at Buxton on July 19 with H&H Classics – and it holds a backstory destined to pull on your heart strings
Sometimes, money is no object when preserving a loved one’s vehicle. We all know that emotion when a family member departs, leaving behind their classic car; their automotive representation. For that reason, this Rover 95 holds an emotional background rivalled by few other auction lots.
Brian Griffiths, son of the original owner, spent more than £120,000 back in 2003 to restore his beloved father’s pride and joy. Every component and body panel was subjected to intricate attention, the Rover having resided in the family since new in 1963 – at a cost of £1373.
Now, the cosseted Rover 95 is heading to auction with H&H Classics, passing over the block during the Buxton sale on July 19.
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Damian Jones of H&H Classics commented: ‘One can only surmise that he felt a great deal of sentimental attachment to the car and was in the fortunate position of being able to spend that sort of money on its refurbishment.’
‘Thankfully, people undertake uneconomic restorations the whole time. If they did not I might well be out of a job. For some enthusiasts the value of their car is measured in things other than money.’
Supplied new to insurance firm Griffiths & Armour of Liverpool on 8 April 1963, Brian Griffiths bought the car in 1986, some 23 years since his father Kenneth used the car during his tenure as the firm's founding partner.
The ‘Auntie’ Rover – as P4 models were fondly nicknamed – was restored by Specialised Automotive Services in 2002-3 with bills exceeding £120,000; yet it wasn’t all for body welding and engine tuning…
There’s an uprated overdrive alongside cruise control and ZF power assisted steering; arguably making it a contender as the best example of a Rover P4 95 still in existence. The MOT even runs until April 2019.
A total of £2500 was spent on parts for the engine alone, while the interior retrim in tan leather cost nearly £3000. As well as having attention paid to its electrics, brakes, suspension, clutch and clock, the 95 benefited from a bare-metal respray. Look for rust all your like – you won’t find any!
Why do we love the Rover 95?
Rover’s final incarnation of the P4 range, the 95 remains one of the most sought after by collectors and enthusiasts alike. Introduced in 1962, the 95 was based upon a sturdy box-section chassis equipped with independent coil and wishbone front suspension, a Panhard rod located 'live' rear axle and hydraulic disc and drum brakes.
Boasting a seven-bearing crankshaft, its refined 2625cc straight-six engine churned out 102bhp and 140lb ft of torque. Mated to a four-speed manual gearbox, powering the rear wheels via a 3.9:1 final drive ratio, you could push the speedometer needle well beyond 90mph – rather impressive for the time.
Production ended in May 1964 with 3680 examples sold. Sadly, despite the classic show scene worshipping the hunched curves and Viking badge, only 28 surviving models are known to the DVLA. This surely makes chassis 76001071A unique among the remaining examples.
Still highly impressive some fifteen years and 25,000 miles after its rejuvenation was completed, this amazing P4 remained in Mr Griffiths' care until 2016 and is worthy of being preserved further with time’s onward march.
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