|Engine||In-line 4-cylinder, 1496cc|
Rover’s 12 can trace its history back to the original P1 launched in August 1933, part of a new line-up of models announced by the Wilks brothers. Featuring a revamped “underslung” chassis and powered by an entirely new overhead-valve four-cylinder motor displacing 1496cc, the 12’s high efficiency engine featured three bearing counter-balanced crankshafts and flexible mountings for smoother, quieter operation. The original P1 was available with a range of saloon (both four and six light), coupe or open tourer bodies and enjoyed strong sales thanks to Rover’s well-founded reputation for combining build quality and strong performance at an affordable price. The revised P2 appeared in 1937, with a stiffer chassis, Girling rod brakes replacing the earlier hydraulics and updated styling, selling in both four-cylinder (10hp and 12hp) and six-cylinder (14hp, 16hp and 20hp) variants. Suspension was via semi-elliptic springs and hydraulic shock absorbers at both ends, while other features of note included worm and nut steering, automatic chassis lubrication and anti-roll stabilisers to the front and rear axles. A further improvement took place in 1939 with synchromesh added to third and top gears, while disc wheels were standardised when production resumed in 1945. Initially Rover concentrated on saloons and, in keeping with post-war period austerity, just one colour was available - black with brown upholstery – but gradually the range of coachwork and the colour palette expanded. Production of the P2 range lasted until the all-new P3 65 and 75 models appeared 1948, with around 16,627 examples produced all told, the majority with closed bodywork. Billed as “One of Britain’s Fine Cars”, a Rover 12hp is now a rare sight, with just a handful of roadworthy examples left in Australia.