FvHPt0tg 1968 Rover 2000
1968 Rover 2000

Best of British — Rover’s P6 and the flashy Triumph 2000

Another milestone to ponder. 

It is 60 years since the Triumph 2000 and Rover P6 appeared in the UK. 

Both used 2.0-litre engines.

The Rover went with a four-cylinder engine, while the folks at Triumph used a six.

Four speed gearboxes transferred power to the rear wheels.

Both cars were aimed at the same buyer: the so-called middle manger and aspiring younger executives.

Make no mistake, this duo made an impact on release.

They certainly called time on several venerable and sloppy old British luxo barges, such as the Austin A110 Westminster, Humber’s Hawk and Super Snipe and Wolseley 6/110. 

And, they relegated Ford’s up market Zodiac and Vauxhall’s Cresta to also ran status.

Not only that, the duo put the wind-up Jaguar, who could see their market segment being eroded by appealing and cheaper new comers.

Hence, the program to develop what became the XJ6.

But that is another story.

Although the Rover was priced 20 per cent above the Triumph, both sold around 330,00 units over their life spans.

The P6 was a deliberate attempt by Rover to get away from its image as a maker of ponderously styled and engineered cars for a rapidly ageing buyer group.

Its styling was purposely edgy and its engineering embraced innovation.

Its safety cell construction was at the forefront of passive safety.

The independent rear suspension ensured smooth progress on newly built motorways and great handling on narrow winding B roads.

Indeed, the entire suspension system was set up to accommodate radial ply tyres, then a new idea for a road car.

Trouble was, the 2.0-litre engine’s power was only adequate for the car, but the performance issue was fixed some years later with the addition of a V8.

Meanwhile, the Triumph was a new body draped over older Vanguard running gear.

The styling was by Giovanni Michelotti, a designer favoured by Triumph’s engineering boss, Harry Webster.

You might like the Triumphs’ shape, but I think it is a confusing amalgamation of themes.

Give me the Rover any day.

Through mergers and buyouts, both ended up being stablemates when BMC and Leyland merged in 1968.

Both were axed in 1977 to make way for the Rover SD1. 

So, what to make of these two?

A UK car enthusiast friend of mine has a unique test to help us here.

He reckons that if it looks good in the forecourt of the Savoy Hotel on the Strand in London, then it is okay. 

I asked him for his thoughts about Triumph and Rover.

His immediate response was that the Rover would look right at home but the Triumph was too flashy.

So, there you have it.

David Burrell is the editor of retroautos

Rover P6 3500 V8 1
1971 Rover P6 3500 V8


Triumph 2000 3
1969 Triumph 2000


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