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Car numbering

Posted: Sun Dec 01, 2013 9:40 am
by lakesrally
Most of us who have had pre-war Rovers for a few years know about the numbering scheme used on the models we refer to as P2 from 1934 whereby the first number signifies the year, second the model/engine size and the final 4 four digits the actual car number, starting at 1000. The system continued, with some modifications, in the 1940s up to the end of production of the P3. I have recently discovered an Australian publication from the time which states that a similar system was actually introduced in 1933. The first digit is the year, the second digit is the model and the rest is the car number. This helps to explains a couple of anomalies with the numbering of my 1933 14hp Pilot Saloon but does not totally resolve the number code. The car, serial number 33545, has an early 14hp engine which is basically a bored out 1932 12hp Pilot engine, engine number is 3329. I have obtained a 14hp Rover Pilot owners manual that states it covers cars from number 371 onwards but it actually shows the later 14hp engine as fitted to Speed Pilots etc., I also have scans of a 14hp Pilot owners manual showing the earlier engine. On the assumption that my car number decodes as 1st 3=1933, 2nd 3=14 Pilot, 545=car number then it should have the later engine. The coding would work if it applied to the engine number only rather than the car number, or if the third digit signified something else. Does anyone else have further information on the numbering scheme used in 1933?

Re: Car numbering

Posted: Thu May 29, 2014 11:33 am
by p2roverman
You may have all the info now, but for 1933 it was the first two digits that give the model, eg
31 10 Special, series TR
32 Family 10, series T4 (the last version of the 10/25)
33 14 Pilot, series RS1
34 Meteor 16, series MG
35 Meteor 20, series G4
36 Speed Pilot, series SS
37 14 Pilot, series RS2
38 Speed Meteor, series S ??
330 Speed Twenty, series S ??
Info from Rover data compiled post war and subject to errors.

The actual sequence number of manufacture then started with '1', as opposed to '1001' in 1934. The result is a confusion of numbers as the car number can be as few as 3 digits and as many as 5 digits. Unless one knows the systwm it seems to not make sense.

Returning to your engine, the 33 RS1 cars had the early engine, the 37 RS2 cars had the later engine. Both are very similar to 1934-36 14 hp engines, the most obvious visible difference being the head and manifolds on the early engine being totally different.
Mike Evans

Re: Car numbering

Posted: Thu May 29, 2014 12:15 pm
by lakesrally
Hi Mike,

Thanks for that, though, as you know, I've got the Pilot numbering sorted out now. Now that I have a 1934 engine alongside the RS1 engines it is obvious that there are differences on the cylinder block too, the 1934 head will not go on the RS1 blocks. Push rods etc that belong to the 1934 engine are on their way shortly so I should be able to make it up. Just need the 3-carb manifolds and carbs to go with it next.