[ROVERNET - UK] P6 Design & Rear Suspension Function

phing phing at videotron.ca
Mon Apr 7 19:38:08 BST 2008

Wow , I managed to put the cat amongst the pigeons. One last thought ,William Lyons created a well designed ,cheap IRS system for 
his Jaguars ,with no worries about either road holding or sliding joints locking up. . .An E type had much more power to transmit 
than a P6 four cylinder or the P6B . In fairness to Rover E type back brakes were just as difficult to service .  Jags tended not to 
corner on their door handles , unlike hard driven P6s
40 years on the E type is a bottomless money pit in waiting , which is why I sold mine and bought a P6. However the P6 serves as  a 
mechanical  toy for my engineering dotage , it is  not intended as a serious method of daily transport.
 One final thought ;the 1948 P3 is about the same overall size and weight as the P6. The P3 has much more passenger space and nearly 
as much luggage space . The P6 is vastly more complex .
Progress ??
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Glen Wilson" <rovercar at comcast.net>
To: <rovernet at lyris.ccdata.com>
Sent: Monday, April 07, 2008 1:50 PM
Subject: Re: [ROVERNET - UK] P6 Design & Rear Suspension Function

> Vern Klukas wrote:
>> As for the effectiveness of the P6 vs SD1, on a smooth surfaced road there is probably not much between them, but introduce a 
>> rough road with potholes, undulations and camber changes and the P6's rear wheels will stay planted while the SD1 rear axle will 
>> be dancing about.
> I wonder if that was more of an advantage in 1960's Britain (no offense) because roads in the USA (PA, NJ, MD, DE, at least) are 
> not that rough. One thing I can tell you is that my SD1 would (and did) leave P6's in the dust when it came to freeway on/off 
> ramps and other corners where absolute cornering power was involved, and body lean was not an issue. I'm sure the SD1 had wider 
> tires, but the P6 was heeling over like it was about to leave the road and had to slow down while the SD1 was perfectly stable.
> So, I'm not knocking the P6 suspension, but I'm not sure that all of the complexity bought you all that much for all of the 
> expense and service hassles. The SD1 had a well-located live axle that wasn't all that different from what was installed under 
> Volvo sedans up into the 90's.  If the people at Triumph/Jaguar would have let Rover put some disks on the rear axle they would 
> have had something. Not that disks were needed because the SD1 back wheels are proportioned to do almost no braking at all, but 
> the SD1 drums were no fun to service, either. (I prefer disks when they are in a place where they can be serviced.)
> All of the engineering oddities add to the charm of the P6, but mostly they contributed to difficulty and added expense in 
> servicing for very little gain in performance. The expense of these oddball designs apparently hurt sales since the car was 
> overpriced for its niche. The complexity made it more difficult and expensive to service due to the time it took to do things like 
> setting the valve clearances (on the 4-cyl) or servicing the rear brakes, to say nothing of having to source front shocks that are 
> valved in reverse to every other car on the road.
> The P4 and P5 were fine automobiles that were fairly conventional in design while still being ahead of the competition in some 
> engineering areas. What was it that led Rover to jump off the deep end when it came to designing the P6 and approving it for 
> production? It seems like they were trying to make some sort of statement about their engineering prowess and ingenuity rather 
> than just make an excellent car that would sell. Were they trying to move upmarket with this display of engineering creativeness? 
> The P6 wasn't really an upmarket car. Was the P6 just a stepping stone to the P8 which would move them upmarket? The P8 would have 
> dumped the oddball front suspension for wishbones but retained a modified version of the DeDion rear end incorporating hydraulic 
> leveling.
> Maybe it was overreaching to attempt to battle Mercedes and other companies with deep pockets and an established market share 
> world wide.
> It also sounds like Spen King (engineering) and David Bache (styling) were not always on the same page about the intended market 
> for the cars. Wonder who was really running the show?
> Glen
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