[ROVERNET - UK] 1951 Rover P4 Cyclops

Hank and Sally Manwell hdmanwell at alumni.bates.edu
Tue Jul 11 15:08:19 BST 2006

Yes, the freewheel has some scary features - and an added one for absent 
minded people (like me).  I remember seeing a brand new SAAB w/freewheel 
that had been out on a test drive from the dealer in Salida, Colorado.  It 
was driven to the top of Monarch Pass, 11,000 or so feet, and parked at the 
observation center - and left in gear.  As soon as the driver walked away 
from it, it rolled off the edge and found a tree a few hundred feet down the 
mountain and hit dead center condensing the grill into the dashboard.

With that memory I was never willing to use the freewheel either in my SAAB 
or the various Freewheeling Rovers we had.  I ran down the street as fast as 
I could once to catch my Father's Rover 90 after my wife left it only in 
gear at the curb in front of the house.

We do have a lot of P4 parts around here in Central New York including doors 
with trim (same as cyclops, I think) and hoods (which I think are somewhat 
different in the front than 1952 and later cars.

And we've got a solid 1960 100 project car that's up for grabs.


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "S Manwell" <s_manwell at alum.swarthmore.edu>
To: "Steve Smith" <ltsmiths at peoplepc.com>; <rovernet at lyris.ccdata.com>
Sent: Monday, July 10, 2006 11:10 PM
Subject: Re: [ROVERNET - UK] 1951 Rover P4 Cyclops

> Steve,
> One feature of the freewheel is quite "memorable" to me...
> I found myself headed down a long hill in the 1953 P4 75 that I had over 
> 20 years ago with freewheel engaged and a stop sign and crossroad at the 
> bottom of the hill.  The drum brakes had faded by the bottom of hill and 
> it was fortunate that the road I was on merged into the road at the bottom 
> (rather than meeting at right angles) and that there wasn't much traffic 
> around.
> The moral of the story is that the same feature that lets the car coast 
> downhill with the engine at idle also gives no engine braking on a steep 
> downhill.  In the wrong circumstances its dangerous, but the clutchless up 
> shifts are fun and its economical and quieter to let the engine rev's die 
> down to idle on a long drive with gentle downhill stretches along the way.
> Similarly, its not a good idea to leave a Rover parked in freewheel with 
> its nose aimed downhill -- my father has a story related to this.
> There are only one or two restored Cyclops' (what's the plural?) in North 
> America, but its hard to say what the restored value would be.  There are 
> probably at least another five to ten un-restored Cyclops in North America 
> including a pretty complete parts car in Maine.  New parts are readily 
> available from England and there are a few collections of used early P4 
> parts on this side of the Atlantic too.  I have some mid '50's parts and 
> some are useable on early '50's cars.
> James Taylor's book "Classic Rovers 1945 - 1986" says that 2,542 LHD 
> export P4's were made in 1951 and does not show separate export numbers 
> for 1950.  I don't know what proportion would have come to the US market; 
> maybe one of the P4 books has more specific info.
> --Steve

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