Tintin and Captain Haddock reached Switzerland in search of Professor Calculus. In my last post they were on their way to Nyon in a Simca Aronde Taxi when the villains pushed them off the road using a Citroen 7CV Traction Avante. A crowd gathered at the accident spot. One of the cars in that crowd was a Chevrolet Bel Air. Luckily, all the occupants of the Simca Aronde survived. Not to be shaken by the turn of events, our duo pressed on to Nyon in a Rover 60.
The Rover 60 belonged to a series of mid-size luxury saloon cars manufactured by Rover under the family name P4. These cars covered a range of cars with varying engine sizes. The P4 were manufactured between 1949 and 1964 starting with the 75. These cars were designed by Gordon Bashford who worked with Rover from 1930 to 1981 and played a prominent role in the design of all post war Rovers, including the Land Rover and the Range Rover.
The Rover 60 was introduced in 1953 below the Rover 75 while a Rover 90 was introduced as top of the range car. Though all these cars had same body style and trim level offered, they differed only in the engines installed. They were the last British cars to offer a rear suicide door.
The Rover 60 was offered in only one body shape, a 4-door sedan. These cars were a major step away from the traditional British car design and the body shape was considered controversial when introduced. The car shape was heavily influenced by the 1947 Studebaker, which itself was considered a controversial design for its time.
The Rover 60 was powered by a 1,997 cc (121.864 Cu-inch) in-line four cylinder naturally aspirated petrol engine. These engines inhaled through an Overhead Valve while exhaled through a side valve on each of the four cylinders. In the process they burnt petrol to produce 60 BHP at 4,000 rpm. They also produced 137 N-m (101 ft-lb) of turning power at 2,000 rpm thus giving an excellent traction. All this power and torque was transferred to the rear wheel through a single dry plate clutch using a four speed manual gearbox which had synchromesh on all but the lowest gear. Overdrive was also provided on the top gear.
When the 60 was announced in 1953, Rover shifted the not so popular gear shift lever from the steering column to the floor. However, the gear lever design still allowed three people to sit abreast on the front seat. Though the 60 was also made available with separately adjustable separate front seats at an additional cost.
These cars were big, measuring 4.5 m (178″) in length, 1.7 m (66″) wide and 1.6 m (64″) tall. Though the four cylinder engine was smaller than the six cylinder engine of the 75, it was placed towards the rear of the engine bay, thus improving weight distribution and hence handling. These cars had a body on chassis design. They had independent front suspension comprising coil springs. The rear suspension comprised a live axle supported by semi-elliptical leaf springs. To reduce weight they had Aluminum/ Magnesium alloy doors, bonnet and boot lid. As a result, the 60 BHP engine could push this large car to a maximum speed of 122 km/h (76 mph). The 137 N-m torque allowed it to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph (0-96 km/h) in a leisurely 26.5 seconds.
Stopping power was provided by hydraulically operated drum brakes on all four wheels. Later disc brakes were provided on the front wheels to improve braking.
These cars became a part of British culture and were also known as the “Auntie Rovers”. They were extremely popular with the rich and famous in Britain. In 1952, Road and Track magazine declared that no better cat was built in the world than a Rover P4, barring, obviously the Rolls Royce.