Son's tribute to his late father - £120,000 restoration of their Rover 95

09/07/2018     Cars

For some car enthusiasts only the best is good enough and when you truly love a car and its former owner money is no object.

This is the story of a humble Rover 95 given just that treatment, having cost £1,373 in 1963. Brian Griffiths, the son of the original owner, spent over £120,000 restoring his father’s car during 2002-2003.

Damian Jones of H&H classics comments: “One can only surmise that he felt a great deal of sentimental attachment to the car and was in the fortunate position of being able to spend that sort of money on its refurbishment. Thankfully, people undertake uneconomic restorations the whole time. If they did not I might well be out of a job. For some enthusiasts the value of their car is measured in things other than money.”

Supplied new to Griffiths & Armour of Liverpool and bought by Brian Griffiths in 1986, the ‘Auntie’ Rover (as P4 models were fondly nicknamed) was restored by Specialised Automotive Services in 2002-3 with bills for over £120,000! Uprated with overdrive, cruise control and PAS, it is MOT'd till April 2019. One could argue that it is today the best example of a Rover P4 95 in existence.

The car represents the final flowering of the Rover P4 range, the 95 and 110 models were introduced in 1962. The more popular of the two, the Rover 95 was based around a sturdy box-section chassis equipped with independent coil and wishbone front suspension, a Panhard rod located 'live' rear axle and hydraulic disc / drum brakes. Boasting a seven-bearing crankshaft, its smooth 2625cc oise straight-six engine was rated at 102bhp and 140lbft of torque. Allied to a four-speed manual gearbox and powering the rear wheels via a 3.9:1 final drive ratio, it reputedly endowed the dignified-looking saloon with a 93mph top speed. Exchanging its aluminium bonnet, boot and door skins for less dent-prone steel ones during 1964, the Rover 95 was phased out of production in May of that year (though, not before some 3,680 had been sold).

One of just 268 surviving Rover 95 cars currently known to the DVLA, chassis 76001071A must be unique among its siblings. Supplied new to the insurance firm Griffiths & Armour of Liverpool on 8th April 1963, it was bought some twenty-three years later by Brian Griffiths (whose father Kenneth had been one of the founding partners). The younger Mr Griffiths entrusted the Rover to Specialised Automotive Services of Clitheroe in 2002-2003 for an extensive 'bare metal, chassis up' restoration. 

Bills on file for the work and subsequent fine tuning / fettling total in excess of £120,000! (though, the cost would be considerably more in 2018 given the increase in labour rates). Some £2,500 was spent on parts for the engine (and its ancillaries) alone, while the interior re-trim in Tan leather cost £2,680.77. As well as having attention paid to its electrics, brakes, suspension, clutch and clock, the 95 benefited from the addition of overdrive, cruise control and ZF power steering. Still highly impressive some fifteen years and 25,000 miles after its rejuvenation was completed, this amazing P4 remained in Mr Griffiths' care until 2016 and is worthy of close inspection.