One of Dundee’s finest exports, the Rover P5B Coupé, will be returning to the city as it enters its 50th year.
The Rover P5B, which spent its first 37 years in Dundee, will go on display this autumn at Dundee Museum of Transport until the spring.
A 50th anniversary booklet will also be released on January 1 to celebrate the milestone.
The Dundee Rover was very much a desired luxury car of its era and commands three times the price of a Rolls-Royce of the same vintage.
Not that owner Martin Robins would ever think of cashing in his chips.
He has no thoughts of selling and plans to take his final journey in the Dundee Rover!
“The Dundee Rover is priceless to ourselves and because of the scarcity of original models is probably worth up to £40,000,” he said.
“This car, however, is not a financial investment but a privilege to own.
“We certainly count our blessings.
“I could never imagine selling the car in my lifetime.
This was the last of the real British cars and a high water mark.”
“Some possessions are transitory but not the Dundee Rover.
“It would be wonderful if my last journey would be in the Dundee Rover!”
Martin, from Wiltshire, purchased the blue Rover P5B Coupé in 2009.
Martin’s was originally bought from Rover dealer Rossleigh of Yeaman Shore in 1972 by wholesale newsagent David Fairweather.
“Its owner never drove it in the rain and didn’t go outside Dundee with it,” said Martin.
“This was the last of the real British cars and a high water mark.”
Brian Clark, who worked at Rossleigh, carried out the pre-delivery check on the car.
He opened his own business and continued to look after the car for the next 37 years for Mr Fairweather, and following his death in 1992, his son-in-law, Sandy Yates.
Martin heard about the car through a third party and contacted Sandy to ask whether he would be prepared to sell it to him.
Sandy had a Porsche 356 Coupé from Stuttgart and the Rover P5B spent much of its time in his garage, although he did take part in a couple of Royal Scottish Automobile Club (RSAC) runs with fellow classic car enthusiasts.
Since Sandy used the car fairly infrequently, he agreed to the sale.
“We have never forgotten the kindness of Mr Yates in allowing us to own the car,” said Martin.
“We sent him a cheque but it had not arrived when the day came to bring the car south.
“He remarked he trusted us and so it proved.
“What an amazing gesture by Mr Yates.”
It never missed a beat on the trip to Martin’s home in Wiltshire, which is the longest journey it has ever made.
Martin said: “We speak to Brian, who carried out the PDI in September 1972, most weeks and the previous owner several times a year.
“Since our ownership in 2009 we have sent a Wiltshire Lardy cake to these gentlemen regularly – they have asked us to slow up because of the effect on their waistline!
“There is a very old bakery in Malmesbury who bake it on the premises.
“On a number of occasions when we have phoned Dundee to see if the parcel has arrived we have been told no.
“We then chase it up locally to be told the contents are being examined!
“When it does arrive the parcel has clearly been opened.
“The cake has been intercepted more than once with the authorities looking for drugs!”
Some years ago Martin arranged for Sandy and Brian to visit the Solihull works where the car was manufactured during “a grand reunion”.
The car bears a Dundee number plate and remains a well-oiled machine.
Martin said the Dundee Rover 2022 calendar has been distributed in the UK and overseas to considerable acclaim.
He said: “The plan is to have the Dundee Rover on display this autumn at the Dundee Motor Museum of Transport until the spring.
“The photographer will visit Dundee and photograph in various locations for the 2023 calendar, which we have already started shooting.”
What makes the Dundee Rover so special?
“Distinctiveness,” said Martin.
“This model is probably the most iconic Rover ever made – it served four premiers and royalty.
“My father had this model new on January 1 1973 and every time we look at the Dundee Rover memories flood back.”
Harold Wilson’s prime ministerial car, a Rover P5B Saloon, was fitted with a specially modified door armrest to accommodate his pipe and a box of matches.
Margaret Thatcher had a specially adapted rear headrest fitted to her Rover P5B so that she could rest her head and have a power nap.
The Queen’s Rover P5B Saloon was the very last off the production line, and was finished in a non-standard dark green.
This was her second P5B.
Her first P5 was a three-litre saloon and this particular car was reputed to have been her favourite.
Martin said the car evokes memories of days when British engineering was superlative.
“The fact that this car served four premiers – all of whom expressed huge admiration for the car – over 14 years is a feat that will be unequalled in our history,” he said.
“The ownership of this car has made my retirement the most wonderful of all times and we are very grateful to everyone in Dundee that looked after the car for 37 years – we have tried to follow in their footsteps.
“The other car we have is a 1966 Morris Minor convertible – the car Arthur Daley told his customers’ brings tears to a petrol salesmen’s heart.
“The Dundee Rover can pass any car on the motorway but not the petrol station!
“But wherever it goes the car brings happiness – presumably Ken Dodd had one!”