Rover vs Rover: what's more trouble, a P5 or a dog?

Man’s best friend? Roll over Beethoven; the P5 is far cheaper than a purebred Schnoodle or designer Heinz 57. Here’s our £5k Rover head-to-head. Lead on…

Thoroughbred dogs are expensive. A well bred Labrador can cost quadruple figures yet isn’t very suitable for the daily commute or honing your mechanical skills. A canine also offers very little in the way of horsepower, and probably won’t carry you up the motorway without attention from animal-welfare groups or the police.

Owning a Rover P5 is much like being a custodian of man’s four-legged friend. You must remember to fuel your charge and ensure there is regular movement, alongside arranging methodical inspection from industry professionals who can highlight problems that may have slipped under your radar – such as a weak damper or the reason behind all that blood on the lounge carpet.

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Alongside scheduled visits to the garage or vet – or perhaps the local constabulary, depending on your dog’s conduct in public – it is important that you undertake a series of basic checks. Such procedures are unquestionably calmer with the P5 than they are with a dog. No thermometers and loss of dignity here, no sir.

Basic checks to carry out on Rover

  • Signs of overheating
  • ‘For goodness sake, not again!’
  • Leaks from the underside
  • Frenzied screaming from next door
  • Running issues
  • Sudden whiffs of excrement
  • Fluid levels
  • Being offered a divorce
  • Urges to strangle the previous owner

In many ways, the P5 is less multifaceted than the canine, for it can be left by itself for several weeks yet still function when you next spend some time with it. This is something the average dog cannot do – and attempting to put it to the test will probably result in the RSPCA taking the owner to court.

When you suffer a bump with the P5, you can easily find spare parts and undertake a DIY repair job.

Should you bump the dog, chances are you’ll need to frantically dig a hole in the back yard – before your family returns from Sainsbury’s. You must then convincingly tell them that their pet ran away – probably never to return – and that they must not play in the fresh soil at the bottom of the garden.

If something falls off the P5, it should be comparatively easy to reattach and relatively mess free under care. This can also be something your small children can witness without screaming uncontrollably for the next fortnight.

When it boils down to practicality, the car can accommodate an amazing number of shopping bags and four people in comfort, and take you from 0-60mph in very little time at all. This is particularly true of the P5B V8, which is good for 115mph, 158bhp and 0-60mph in 12.1 seconds.

It would be criminal to ask your dog to do any of these things, let alone fatal for all involved.

The V8 may be thirsty, but the mutt’s running costs will cripple you. Dog food bills can soar past hundreds of pounds, vet bills could heat your house for a year, de-worming tablets will dissolve your pub money, dog toys cost more than an Austin Allegro and taking your hound for a walk in a public place can often result in a lawsuit.

Claiming that ‘the pensioner should have remained still’ or ‘the young family were asking for trouble having a picnic there’ will not hold up in a court of law.

A dog also requires space to run about, and a grassy area in which to fertilise the undergrowth with olfactory ramifications for miles around. The P5 won’t require either, as the open road is its playground. Something can also be done about the smell of an automobile without drawing scowls from animal-rights activists…

Furthermore, the P5 won’t leave hair all over the house, ‘presents’ inside your best work shoes, gnaw marks on the priceless heirloom furniture, or mental scars after your mother-in-law and the local vicar come for tea.

What the car will do is offer dashing 1960s design paired with sublime period looks, smooth speed and outstanding comfort. It might not bring you your slippers, but it won’t defecate all over your brand-new flooring in front of your boss, either.

Let’s not cry wolf on the P5’s merits, however, as the model does have a few downsides. It will require engine maintenance from time to time, above and beyond the call of a simple service. At least operating on the brains of the car won’t result in the cross-eyed, staggering or vegetative state it would with the beloved family canine.

You’ll also need to ensure the vehicle isn’t left open to vandals and is correctly insured for a fair price. Should you come to sell the car – or accidentally use the local WH Smith rather than your brakes to stop – while it may hurt to watch your pride and joy being carted away, it never compares with the empty void left in your heart after clocking the now-unneeded bowl and lead once the inevitable day arrives to say farewell to man’s best friend.

To sum up then, why have an expensive, heart-wrenching and time-consuming dog when you could have a sedate, fast and comfortable old Rover P5?

You’d be barking mad to choose anything else. Release the hounds.

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