1938 Rover 12 Sportsman saloon –
A opportunity to obtain a VERY rare pre-war Rover.
The new 12 was launched in 1934 and was part of the new range introduced by the Wilks brothers. It had a new 1496 cc, four-cylinder engine producing 53 bhp. The chassis was also new but based on the one seen on the 1933 Speed Pilot and was “underslung” going under the rear axle. The four-speed transmission featured a freewheel mechanism. The suspension was conventional with rigid axles and half elliptic leaf springs all round. The early cars had a 112 in (2,845 mm) wheelbase but this was stretched by 3 in (76 mm) for 1935 with the extra space giving the rear passengers more leg room. A top speed of 70 mph and economy of 24 mpg was claimed in contemporary advertisements. The bodies were traditionally built with steel panels fitted to a wooden frame. A six light Saloon (£278), four light Sports Saloon with small external boot (£298) and four-seat tourer (£288) bodies were available. Only 5775 of the “sportsman” saloon were built.7
This 1938 model is to be regarded a quite remarkable. Having been subjected to a full ‘Nut and bolt’ restoration in the early 1980’s by the last owner before competing in local rover ‘concours’ competitions where it either won or ended up in the top 3 in several occasions. The exterior is beautifully finished in a two tone grey which also complements the seemingly unrestored and unmolested blue hide interior. The vehicle was last on the road in 1990 when the owner sadly passed away subsequently leaving the car to his family. The vehicle was then bought by a classic car collector (he did not register the vehicle in his name) who went on to store the vehicle until 2014 while still maintaining the vehicle by starting it regularly and changing the fluid’s/keeping the brakes in a serviceable condition before contacting us and subsequently selling it.
All the chrome work on the vehicle is to be considered as outstanding with no pitting whatsoever. The engine bay is also beautifully detailed and oozes quality and properness. It retains all of the standard supplied equipment (including a full and complete tool kit and cranking handle) fully operational ‘free wheel2 mechanism and factory fitted sunroof. Still fitted with cross-ply tyres mounted on the original, unmarked ‘wire’ spoke wheels (also with a matching unused spare).
This vehicle is just enchanting – A real example of British craftsmanship at its best.