Rover 75 Series P4 Saloon was introduced in
September 1949, replacing the Series P3. It have completely
restyled bodywork, mounted on a new full-length chassis with
improved (six-cylinder twin-carb) engine, transmission and
suspension. The traditional Rover appearance gave way to
full-width styling with an extended boot to balance the front end.
A cyclops type foglamp is mounted in the radiator grille.
Rover Gas Turbine Car is a much modified Rover 75 Saloon being
used as a "test bed" for the newly developed gas
turbine. Louvers at rear are for intake and exhaust gas passage.
Standing behind the car (left to right) are: M. C. Wilks. chief
engineer; S. B. Wilks, managing director; and F. R. Bell, engineer
in charge of Gas Turbine Project.
a typically British grey morning last month, an open sports car
whipped down the damp concrete runway of Silverstone airport at
Towcester, England. Altho the car resembled a Rover 75 sedan with
the top removed and rear deck closed in, the forward position of
the driver and the strange high-pitched whine gave notice that
here was something new and strange. As the driver slowed for the
end of the strip, a whisp of light smoke trailed from a vent in
the rear deck.
In the conservative terms of the Royal
Automobile Club official test report. the run of the Rover
"Whizzer" gas turbine powered car was described.
time taken to start the power unit and to run up to idle speed was
13 1/5 seconds.
No attempt was made to attain maximum speed,
but during the course of the Test a speed exceeding 85 mph was
readily attained, at which speed the compressor-turbine revolution
counter indicated 35,000 RPM. (Has since run 93 mph at 40,000
In a test of acceleration from a stand-still, the car
smoothly attained 60 mph in 14 seconds.”
newspapers at once seized the Rover press release and labelled the
story "Jet Propelled Car", the Rover people were
emphatic that the unit was a gas turbine, not a “jet”.
An interesting result of this confusion was an editorial in
Autonews which said, "American auto engineers scoff at
Jet-Autos ... will toast pedestrians". (Perhaps it is Detroit
you smell burning?)
The Rover turbine, mounted just forward of
the rear axle, uses kerosene to fire dual combustion chambers
which ram hot gases into two independent turbines. One of these
runs at a constant high speed to drive a centrifugal air
compressor supplying the combustion chambers. The other turbine
runs at variable speeds, determined by load, and connects with the
rear wheels thru 6 to 1 gears and a conventional drive
Exhaust gases aren't much hotter than
that of piston engines. Even without benefit of a muffler, noise
is not excessive nor unpleasant.
The present engine was
designed to include a heat exchanger which has not yet been
installed. When complete, the Rover unit fuel consumption will be
within range of a comparable conventional engine. Fuel may be
gasoline, kerosene, or diesel oil.
Only brake and accelerator
are necessary for control: starting is by pushbutton.
1940-3, Rover helped develop the pioneer Whittle gas turbine for
aircraft and built some of the first units. This valuable
experience led to the Whizzer gas turbine car project.
Rover's intention to mass produce this car if and when it become
practicable: i.e., as good or better than conventional car, in
respect to weight and performance. The next project will be an
improved version with the engine located at the front.
Whizzer will be on display in New York at the British Automobile
and Motorcycle Exhibition, Grand Central Palace, April 15-23.
& Track, April 1950
cyl, 1595cc, 50 bhp; wb: 80 in (2032 mm)
In 1950, the
lights moved from a position behind the grille to protruding
through the grille. During the year, the unusual semi-permanent
4WD system was replaced with a more conventional setup, with drive
to the front axle being taken through a simple dog clutch.
April Land Rover was shown for the first time in the USA at
British Automobile and Motorcycle show.