By Ken Newton
Around three weeks ago I received information about a P4 100 buried in a garage Bristol.
I rang the number I was given and spoke to a lady called Emma,who turned out to be the granddaughter of the owner. She told me her grandad had recently passed away and she had been asked by the family to dispose of the much loved Rover. I made arrangements to meet her at grandma’s house to look at the car.
On arriving at the address I was shown to the rear of the house where the car was garaged (although garaged is a bit of an overstatement as half of the roof was badly holed!) Emma told me that the car had been parked in the garage for around 22 to 25 years,so it was with some trepidation we struggled to open the doors. There it was, 885 GWP, a two tone blue Rover P4 100 in what turned out to a very sorry state. I could only see the offside of the car because the garage was so full of rubbish accumulated over many years.
I also couldn’t get to the rear of the car for the same reason. The o/s doors were so stiff it was difficult to see inside so again I was only able make a cursory check on its condition.
Luckily the bonnet was only on the safety catch so I was able to look inside the engine bay which was as you would expect it to be after twenty odd years of standing in a leaking garage. I found the starting handle fastened to the inner wing,so I put it in and tried to turn the engine but it was seized solid.
I was getting more and more disillusioned with idea of getting involved with the car but was wondering how Emma would react to the bad news. I could see that she was visibly upset about what I was telling her but felt it was “a bit far gone for me to tackle”.
On my way back down the M5 I thought about the look on Emma’s face,it was almost like she had lost another member of the family,and by the time I got home I decided to ring her and tell her I would like try to restore the car or if the car was stripped,that the parts would be used in a sympathetic way by members of the Guild.
So, on Sunday 11th Sept Harry, my bosses son, and myself set off back up to Bristol armed with four wheels (borrowed from Tony Brewster)a box of tools and a trailer to collect the aforementioned P4.
Fortunately the weather smiled on us which was lucky because the car, as you can imagine, was most reluctant to move. The brakes were stuck on, the tyes were flat(we couldn’t get to change them at first due to lack of space) and there was very little room to maneuver car out of the garage. Slowly but surely 885 GWP emerged out into the sunlight and inched its way onto the trailer to begin its journey to Devon.
Once on the trailer we could see more clearly what state the car was in and it wasn’t good but “hayho” in for a penny in for a pound.When we had secured the car on the trailer Emma said her grandma wanted to come out and watch the car go, and by this time so did a few curious neighbours who had gathered,a nd as we left it was nice to think that she knew it would someday be returned to its former glory.
At this time the car is in the yard where I work with no front end on it and is ready to be cleaned off in preparation for the restoration.I will update you from time to time and post some photo’s of the progress.
p.s Not one five bar gate was damaged during the recovery of the car!!!!!!!!