1906 Rover

A guide to 6HP Rover cars


Five Rover 6HPs go Creepy Crawly

Friday, May 14th, 2010

Robin Morrison’s account of the performance of these cars on the 2010 VCC Creepy Crawly Rally.

No fewer than five 1905-6 single cylinder 6HP Rovers attended the Veteran Car Club Mid East section’s ‘Bryan Firth Creepy Crawly Rally’ in Huntingdon at the end of April.  The rally is for the very old – pre 1900, or very small cars – with one or two cylinder engines.  Rover made its first car in 1904 – the single cylinder 8HP, followed in 1905 by the popular, smaller 6HP.  The majority were made in 1906, but Rover continued selling single cylinder cars until 1912.

Five Sixes

Carol and Rachel Morrison make it up the hill

The 65-mile Saturday route through the villages and lanes of the old county of Huntingdonshire was very suitable for the Rovers – all of which were successful finishers. I had thought that this part of the country would be flat and had used this argument to persuade my daughter, Carol, to drive our family 1906 Rover, P 3192, for her first time on a club event.  As it happens there are a good few serious hills in the area and these had been included in the rally route to provide a test for the old cars – with a few 4x4s on hand to tow any that needed help.  The Rovers, endowed with three forward gears and an eager little engine, climbed the ascents under their own steam with some nifty double‐declutching and column gear change.

Winter testing

For Robin and Cheryl Wilson’s car, BS 9980, brought back to good working condition, by Robin in its centenary year, 2006, there was a different approach.  He took the steepest hill in reverse gear due to the minimal difference in height between the fuel tank, under the seat and his carburetor.  Being a Rover engineer, he has been heard talking of how to pressurize the tank to avoid the problem; but Robin, now you know why the original design was to mount the carburetor under the floor.  Back to the original, I say!  The rest of us managed just fine – even though I admit that we do need to move the throttle lever about 10 seconds before any intended change takes effect.

David Bliss’s car, DL 126. is a very regular entrant for this annual event, and their beautifully restored and cared for vehicle showed how Rover engineering of over 100 years ago can still perform at its best today. As usual, the rest of us picked his brains about the odd niggle on our cars.  Many future generations, will no doubt be doing the same by using the website that Elaine Bliss has published: www.1906rover.co.uk.

Paul and Gayle's 6HP

Paul Noon, AJ 498, and Chris Berridge, KT 9114, had both acquired 6HP cars within the last year and showed great determination bringing them back to life and proving their capabilities on the Creepy Crawly.  Paul’s car had not run for nearly 60 years and was still displaying a 1950’s tax disc.  Experienced with other veteran cars, his run in the Rover was not trouble‐free: starting with rebuilding the throttle linkage in the Marriott car park late into Friday evening – but he got great support from his fellow Rover owners along the way and, with a few ‘running repairs’, proved he has acquired a really good runner.

Chris’s car came into its own on Sunday when we awoke to see rain falling and a very grey sky.  Whilst Rover were innovators of a number of features of early motorcars, offering a windscreen as an option to the purchaser was not one of them!  We had thought that Chris had bought his Rover because of its pretty red paintwork, rather than the traditional dark green, or because of its lightweight wire wheels, rather than the wooden artillery wheels.  Or, maybe it was because, as a 1905 car, it had a year’s more experience than ours?  Now we know that he made a great choice of car because it has a windscreen – perhaps modeled on that made for the 8HP car.  As it happened, the rain stopped as we pulled away from the start line and after another 35 successful miles, we all packed up, tired and happy and returned home to clean our cars and think about the next event  …  perhaps the get-together in Worcestershire at the end of June that Robin Wilson has organised for the 6 and 8HP Rovers, or ‘Thumpers’ as he calls them.

Several of these cars will be at the Rover meeting in Warwick.  Come along if you want to see these early examples of Rover engineering and catch the unmistakable sound of a single cylinder engined car.

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