Ads on Test: 1972 Rover 3500S

£12,750

Classic Cars magazine

by Chris Hope |

It may not be quite to factory-original spec, but Chris Hope reckons that this freshly repainted P6 is hard to fault

With its manual transmission, the 3500 S is the one that P6 fans often covet the most, and this is one of the better ones that we’ve driven. It has had eight former owners, the most recent since November 2015, and the history file is stuffed with invoices for work and parts, including from marque specialists Wins International and RPS. There are also MoT certificates dating back to 2005 and details of a speedometer change in July 2014.

Time behind the wheel is characterised by the V8’s huge reserves of torque. It never feels overwhelmed and delivers strong acceleration when prompted. Gear selection is tight and positive and the assisted steering light but precise with a good amount of feedback. It rides well too and the brakes are strong.

This P6 was resprayed recently from its previous Tobacco Leaf yellow. As such the paint looks fantastic, with only a small area of mottling below both C-pillars. Panels are straight with uniform gaps, there’s not a spec of corrosion to report and the vinyl on the roof and C-pillars is taut and unmarked. There’s minor pitting to both bumpers but the rest of the brightwork (door handles, hub caps and so on) looks fine and none of the window rubbers are cracked. This car is fitted with Lucas quartz halogen headlights and a tow bar. We did note moisture within the nearside tail lamp.

Classic Cars magazine
Little to fault in period-correct cabin ©Classic Cars magazine

Inside, the sculpted seats stand out for their faultless appearance and well-defined ribbing that’s free from wear, creasing or cracks. The door cards and wood effect veneers are similarly presentable and even the sill covers that endure endless abuse from front occupants entering and exiting the car aren’t overly scuffed.

The carpets are pristine, having long been protected by rubber overmats, and the headlining is immaculate. All of the gauges, including the characteristic Kienzle clock, function as they should. Large aftermarket Pioneer speakers fitted to the rear shelf are connected to a period-looking Radiomobile radio. If there is anything for the pedant to fault it’s that the felt edging surrounding the nearside rear door aperture would benefit from being tided a little, but many owners wouldn’t even notice. That really is about it.

Classic Cars magazine
V8 sports electronic ignition and a recored radiator ©Classic Cars magazine

The under-bonnet sound deadening material is collapsing and there’s slight corrosion evident on both exhaust manifolds. Those minor points aside, this is a very presentable engine bay. Wiring is tidy, there are no visible oil or other fluid leaks from the top of the engine or underneath and nor could we find any flaking paint or rust bubbles to the structure surrounding the V8. This area benefits greatly from major work carried out in 2018 that comprised a recored radiator plus fitment of Lumenition electronic ignition. Factor in the new springs and dampers and this work totalled £3400. There’s also an invoice dated November 2019 for installation of a new fuel tank in the large history folder.

This Rover 3500S is one of four Ads on Test in the latest issue of Classic Cars.

Engine 3528cc V8, ohv, two SU HIF6 carburettors Power 143bhp @ 5200rpm Torque 197lb ft @ 3000rpm Performance Top speed: 115mph. 0-60mph: 9sec Fuel consumption 24-27mpg Length 4572mm Width 1676mm

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