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1959 ROVER P4 100

I have always wanted a Rover P4. So when the opportunity came up I took it. They were expensive cars in their day. If you were in the Upper Class English Gentry then this was the car for you. The stuff of tweed jackets and the rest.

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I contacted the Natal Rover Owner's Association and they, through their membership, found me this car. It is a 1959 Rover P4 100 with a genuine mileage of 54000 miles or 86 400 km. My thanks to the Rover Association for helping me find this car.

Natal Rover Owner's Association

My thanks also go to Paul Deglon for all the hard work he did on this car to get it up and running.

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The history of this car is as follows:

In 1959 a young lady by the name of Betty Staniland walked into the Maxwell Campbell Rover Dealership which was in Smith Street Durban and bought this car brand new. Her family had owned the Hawthorn Hotel which was situated on the corner of Gillespie and Smith Street Durban.

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In 1961 Betty got married and shipped the car to Venice where she and her husband toured Europe for their honeymoon. On the back of the car are still the original stickers of the countries that they visited. Their tour ended in England and the car was shipped back to Durban via South Hampton where it remains today.
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I will do a running restoration on this car as the body and mechanics are in a very good condition. I will post photos as steady progress is made.

The paint on parts of the aluminium bonnet and doors was flaking off. Some parts were so bad that you could use your nail to remover the paint.

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So I decided it would be better to use paint stripper to take all the paint off the aluminuim panels and apply a new primer.

I used a wooden scraper so as not to damage the soft aluminium skin. The steel sections looked solid so these will be flatted down.

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When the paint came off the doors there appears to be a two tone section which should not be there.
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This pattern is repeated on this side as well. Not sure why this is perhaps some Rover experts can give the answer.

Normally the two tone colours were split under the beading. Perhaps it was done to protect the lower body against stone chips.

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Once the original paint is off I will spray on an aluminium etch primer which will provide good adhesion to the aluminium.
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I took the inner door panels off and overall everything looks good.
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The door panels have seen better days so I will cut out new masonite panels and use the originals as a pattern.
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The front drivers door had sagged quite badly and would drop when it was opened. I loosened the 6 bolts and with an assistant I lifted the whole door parallel to the ground. This sorted out this problem.
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Nice door gap and door opens and closes as it should.
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The boot lid also got the paint stripper treatment. There was some minor damage to the RHS bottom corner but will sort this out. Overall not to much damage on the body.
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When I was taking off the rear number plate I dropped a washer into the boot aperture so I got a magnet and placed up against the boot outer skin. I heard the washer ping against the magnet.I dragged the washer along until I could reach in and pull it out. The washer had locked in to this piece of sand paper and pulled it along. Must have been left by worker when he repaired the boot lid. Pity it was not a treasure map.
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The RHS passenger door was not flush with the body and also the door gap was out. so I made up some 3mm thick spacers to move the door out. These I drilled and cut as per the originals.
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The door moved out and I reset the door to give a nice even gap.
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The rear passenger side fender had some rust. I never like to take a flame to a car. The dangers of fire, burning off any protective paint on the inside of a panel and warping the panel with heat are some of the reasons.
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I applied some derust solution to the rust. I then painted the inside area as best I could with some etch primer. I then cut a steel plate to go over a much bigger area than the rust.
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I rough sanded the steel plate and used some Sika Power 4720 body panel apoxy.
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I mixed this on the steel plate.
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This was clamped into place and allowed to set.
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Some body filler and because the plate covers an area much bigger than the original rust, it will be many years before it comes back.
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With the wheels removed the car was up on jack stands
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The body was flatted down.
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All minor dents were filled.
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Ready for masking up.
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I painted the bare aluminuim with a grey aluminuim etch primer.
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The whole car was then painted with this pale yellow NS primer. I used more of this primer on the aluminuim sections as they had been taken down to bare metal. This will give me more build to flat down the car later.
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I used a smaller amount of the NS primer on the steel sections. These had already paint on them and I did not want to overload these panels with too much paint. One thing, never underestimate the size of these cars. They are with out doubt big cars to paint!
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So the night before the big respray I got to thinking 'what if old Auntie does not like the colour of the paint and I get kicked up the proverbial'.
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I did not like the original beige colour of the car.
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I looked at all the colours used on the Rover P4 and none of them leaped out and said this is the one.
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So I took the original Rover Grey and matched as best as I could with an equivalent in Metallic.
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I painted on the base coat. These are very big cars, with lots of curves, so no easy task to spray but wow that colour.
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I let the base coat flash off before the clear coat is painted on. Spraying a metallic is in itself not easy compared to a solid colour.
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Incomparison to painting the metallic the clear coat is very basic...
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...and the shine started coming through.
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Not to shabby. Auntie well pleased.
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All masking off.
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Tyres cleaned up. Hub caps polished.
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Windows polished. Important step this, if you want to make your car look good then polish the windows.
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Ready for all the chrome work.
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The back bumper went on fine. Just needed a few spacer washers to get some clearance when the boot opened.
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Lights and the number plate assembly fitted in well.
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Door handles went in.
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Mirror on and the wipers.
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Front looking good with the lights, beading and Viking badge.
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I decided to replace the door panels.
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Over the years, the sun and water damage have taken their toll. So I cut new masonite panels.
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I used the old panels as a template but will keep the existing trim for now.
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The door panel looks straight and is now much more robust.
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The local Bridal Gallery were having an open day and they asked me to put the car on show.
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So Auntie was all dressed up to look the part.
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Flowers and all.
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Star attraction.
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Good display.
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Nice ovehead view.
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I took the Rover to the VCC car show held at Hillcrest High School. I told Betty (the first owner of this car) that it would be there. She made the effort to come along. Here she is, this great lady, that bought this Rover brand new way back in 1959.
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Two Great Ladies.
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