1939 Rover 12
Home Up Feedback Contents Search



The Rover 12 was powered by a four cylinder 1496cc overhead valve engine.The vehicle was fitted with a four speed gearbox, with synchromesh on 3rd and 4th gears. The gearbox incorporated a Rover-type freewheel controlled from the dashboard. The underslung chassis was fitted with front beam axle and live rear axle, both with semi-elliptic leaf springs. Brakes were mechanical type, requiring considerable effort on the part of the driver to stop the car.  The body design dated from 1938 and was conventional steel construction, bolted to the ladder chassis

1933 was a year of fundamental change for Rover. The company came under new management from the Wilks Brothers - Spencer as managing director, Maurice in charge of engineering and design. Between them, they formulated a new product philosophy aimed at turning Rover into "One of Britain’s Fine Cars"- as it said on their print advertisements, with the understated image of “typical British” quality.

In 1934 the company introduced new 10 and 12 hp four cylinder models, while the six cylinder 14 was developed from the old Pilot. It was later followed by similar 16 and 20 hp models, which gave Rover extensive market coverage. Between 1933 and 1939, annual production increased from 5,000 to 11,000 cars and net profits soared from £7,500 to £200,000.

 At the end of the 1930s the British government,  realising that a new war was inevitable, forced all car manufacturers to build shadow factories. These factories were placed close to airplane factories. Rover's first shadow factory was opened in 1937 at Acocks Green in Birmingham. A second factory was located at Solihull in 1939 with its main product being engines for Bristol Hercules aircraft.
During the war, from 1940 to 1945, there was no civilian production at the Rover factories. Rover built engines for Hercules aircraft, many different parts for Pegasus, Cheetah and Centaurus aircraft engines, as well as various parts for other aircraft. Rover also produced the V 12 (Meteor) and V 8 (Meteorite) engines used in Centurion and Conquerer tanks.
 The model names used for Rover cars immediately pre-and post-war are a matter of some confusion. Some say that the “P2” designation was “post war Model 2”. However the Rover 12 6-light (meaning 3 windows on each side) saloon was in production immediately pre-war, and when car manufacture recommenced in 1945, the pre-war design was manufactured without significant specification changes.

P2 Cutaway.jpg (94642 bytes)

Rover Review 1946 P1.JPG (1623086 bytes) Rover Review 1946 P2.JPG (1747299 bytes) Rover Review 1946 P3.JPG (1636793 bytes) Rover Review 1946 P4.JPG (1753505 bytes)