by Tony "Tosh" Brooks
I’d like to say it has been a complete pleasure to restore this unique and interesting vehicle, but it was a summer of hard work and vast expense that caused a few arguments and lots of heartache along the way!
We all love it (despite what Alison may say from time to time!), and can’t wait to get back out on the classic car show circuit in 2017, starting of course at the NEC at the beginning of April. I don’t think Apollo will ever be totally finished; as with all classics it’s an ongoing project, but we’re happy with where we are now and will continue to improve and change things as we go.
I apologise if I’ve gone on a bit, but I can assure you I have condensed a lot of the work involved in getting it this far, and I apologise if I’ve missed anyone or any parts of the restoration out. Your help and hard work was much appreciated and I hope we all get to enjoy using Apollo for many years to come.
History before our ownership
First registered in 1969 this Rover P5 Camper was sold to it’s second of 4 registered keepers in 1971, and he took the unusual decision to mount a one off hand built caravanette frame on to the chassis. So the original car was just two years old and perfectly straight when it was cut in half! The conversion was obviously a success as he enjoyed many years of touring in the West Country and extensively on the continent with his family.
History is lost for a while, and it’s believed the car fell into disrepair and was off road for quite a while, before it was discovered by a Rover enthusiast and his life long friend decades later.
Sadly however, having purchased the vehicle in 1996, after finding it dumped and forlorn in a sand quarry, the current owner quickly established that the caravanette structure had succumbed to the rigours of corrosion and wood worm and needed to be rebuilt. The gearbox was missing too, so maybe this is why it ended up where it did for so long.
The framework, ceiling and most of the cladding was replaced and resprayed and it seemed an ideal time to modernise the interior and kitchen area. The wiring was also brought up to date, enabling the lighting to be run from a 12v or 240v supply. A new gearbox was sourced and fitted as well as complete restoration of the front bodywork and chrome.
Having owned the vehicle for 19 years, the interior has since been redecorated a couple more times, but as the owner got to an age where maintaining the vehicle no longer possible, he decided to sell it on at the Silverstone auction at the NEC Classic and Restoration Show in 2015.
During his ownership he enjoyed many years showing the car and attending the London to Brighton Classic runs from 1999 to 2014! It was a well known and well respected vehicle on the show circuit, and is believed to be the only surviving camper based on a Rover P5.
If anyone needs any further information, or has any ideas or advice on further improvements we could make, or shows and events we could attend, we are open to any suggestions.
Any readers who would like to know more about Apollo may enjoy our Facebook page here: www.facebook.com/RoverP5Camper
I hope you enjoyed reading my account of the Apollo journey to date - do come and say hello if you visit the NEC this April.
Tony "Tosh" Brooks
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