[ROVERNET - UK] Is Bill Osmond a Rovernetter? Nice article about him
agale at iinet.net.au
Tue Feb 5 13:15:19 GMT 2008
>From the Peterborough Examiner, Ontario CA
Place of honour reserved for '59 Rover P4 105; Time machines - Rover
Posted By GLEN WOODCOCK
Posted 3 days ago
Just up the road from my place north of Warkworth there's a log house with a
fairly modern horse barn. I drive past it every time I go in and out of
town, but it wasn't until recently that I learned what was tucked away
Instead of horses, hay and saddles, the barn is a treasure trove of cars and
parts from Great Britain's old Rover brand. The stalls are occupied by
vehicles such as a post-war P2 that's all there but in need of restoration
and a rust-free V8-powered 3500 from 1982 that requires minor mechanical
Doors from various Rover models hang from the loft walls and the tack room
is a warehouse/museum dedicated to bits of chrome trim.
But the place of honour is reserved for a 1959 Rover P4 105 - one of only
114 built with left-hand drive for export to North America and, owner Bill
Osmond believes, one of only two or three to survive.
Often called "the poor man's Rolls-Royce," the P4 was manufactured from
Osmond has had the car for 15 years and is only the third owner. Originally,
it was presented to the managing director of a British firm's Canadian
branch as a retirement gift.
When Osmond discovered the 105 it was "a basket case" in Port Credit, Ont.
The body was taken off the frame and restored by Dwight Auer of Just Metals
in Aurora, Ont. A complete leather interior, other than the headliner, was
taken from a donor car found in Montreal. The remarkably pristine bumpers
and other chrome pieces were removed from various other 105s located with
the assistance of the Toronto Area Rover Club.
Osmond stripped layers of shellac from the African mahogany wood trim,
sanded them smooth and then applied two coats of tongue oil followed by a
hard wax coat. The wood's beautiful grain is now much more visible than when
the car was new.
The 105 is powered by Rover's own 2638 cc inline six that is fitted with
dual SU carburetors and puts out 108 hp. Equipped with electric overdrive,
it cruises comfortably all day at 55 mph, delivering 29 to 30 mpg, and, as
Osmond says, is "Just a really nice car to drive."
The ride is quite smooth on its radial tires, and the back seat, while
appearing tight, is really comfortable. Because you sit way back, there's
lots of legroom.
When driving into the sun, driver and front passenger can view the way ahead
through the tinted Perspex sun visors.
By the way, if you're wondering about that licence plate, "MY ONTY," it was
inspired by an old review in Britain's Motor Sport magazine by Denis
Jenkinson, who described the P4 as the perfect car in which to take your
aunty to tea.
Osmond tried to get a licence with all kinds of variations of "AUNTY" but
all were taken, so he settled for the plate now on the car.
Besides, if read aloud, Osmond thinks "MY ONTY" has more of a British flare.
He drives the car "as much as I can," which means about twice a month in
nice weather. Next June, however, he plans to take the 105 to the North
American Rover meet in Massachusetts.
Rover began life as a sewing machine company in 1869, then produced the
"Safety Cycle" in 1886 which revolutionized the bicycle industry. It built
its first car in 1888 - an electric - and merged with British Leyland in
1966. Sold to BMW in 1994, Rover's Longbridge factory was closed by the
German automaker in 2005. The rights to build Rover in the U.K. and China
have been acquired by the Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp. (SAIC),
although new models will be made under the name "Roewe" because Ford, having
acquired the Land Rover division from BMW in 2000, exercised its right to
also buy the Rover name for 6 million pounds in 2006.
SAIC exhibited a Roewe 750 based on the Rover 75 at the Shanghai motor show
this spring. SAIC hopes to export Roewe 750s to Europe beginning next year.
Glen Woodcock is a former Sun Media corporate automotive editor. For
Woodcock, who lives in this area, writing about cars is a dream job - and
something he has done on a regular basis for more than a dozen years. He is
also a former Examiner wire editor.
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