The Rover P5B was the car of choice for Ministers and officials of the British Government throughout the 1970s, long after official production ended. The P5B was available in two version, a saloon and coupe, and was a development of the P5. Some 69,000 examples were sold during fifteen years of production. The P5 was unveiled at the 1958 Earls Court Motor Show in London. Four production series were manufactured by Rover until 1973. The coupe version, introduced in 1962, in the later P5B 3.5 litre-specification is a very stylish car, and is one of the Rover Company's most iconic vehicles. The Rover P5B was used in the film The Man Who Haunted Himself, starring Roger Moore as Harold Pelham.
The P5 was originally envisaged as a high-volume, cost-effective, economical, successor to the P4. As development for the P5 continued, the original concept was viewed less favourably, resulting in a decision to develop a larger prestige saloon car, selling in smaller volumes.
The P5 went on sale in the autumn of 1958. The P5 inherited the P4's 3-litre straight-6 engine. With the P5's higher kerb weight, the car's performance suffered. Within a year, disc brakes and an up-rated engine improved matters. The 1962 Mark II, which saw the introduction of the coupe version, included further improvements to the engine.
The more luxurious Mark III arrived in 1965, producing 134 bhp, an increase of 19 bhp over the original car. The 1967 P5B introduced the Buick-derived 3.5 litre V8 engine. The engine's lower weight, combined with 'Hydrosteer' power steering and a new automatic gearbox transformed the handling of the car.
Production ended in 1973 when Rover was adsorbed into British Leyland Motor Corporation. The P5B remained in Government service for many years.