The Rover P6B & The New Zealand Australia Free Trade Agreement

Rover P6 Logo 1Rover P6 Logo 2

During the 1970’s, Rover 3500 P6B Automatics were shipped to the New Zealand Motor Corporation Nelson Assembly Plant as CKD units. Official production figures from the New Zealand Motor Corporation and provided by John Miller, author & publisher of the book From Cotton to Cars reveal that 1,345 CKD Rover 3500 P6B Automatics were assembled for the New Zealand market between May 1971 and April 1975. Concurrently, 1,806* CKD Rover 3500 P6B Automatics were assembled for the Australian market between June 1972 and October 1976 and exported under the New Zealand Australia Free Trade Agreement.

*The NZMC magazine Torque quotes more than 2,400 NAFTA P6B cars being produced for the Australian market.

Grateful acknowledgement is given to John Miller and Honda New Zealand Ltd Archives for permission to reproduce the following images.
For further recommended reading, refer to ‘From Cotton to Cars’,  © John Miller, Nelson, New Zealand, 2009.

• Download press release | Leyland Merger NZ MAY 1972 PDF

 Click on to the thumbnails to view larger on-screen images.

Associated Motor Industries Ltd newspaper advertisement 9 May 1974
Motor Assemblies Ltd Ad 9-5-1974

The car in the photo below may look a little unusual but is easily explained. The construction of the Rover P6 is based around a base unit with bolt on exterior panels. It is a very strong structure. To reduce freight costs, the roof was cut off before shipment and re-attached (in a jig) at Nelson. Photo circa March 1974.
Rover 002 circa Mar 1974

Underbody preparations being made and some of the rear suspension being fitted. Note that the car has none of its exterior panels fitted. Circa May 1974.
Rover 005 Rover 3500 P6B assembly Nelson NZMC May 1974

Final detailing work is taking place, May 1974.
Rover 007 circa May 1974

Awaiting despatch from Nelson. Look closely at the bumpers. They are covered in thick underfelt. Circa May 1974.
Rover 7c circa May 1974

The end of the NAFTA deal with Australia. The final shipment of Rover 3500 P6B cars awaiting loading on the docks at Nelson. This picture would have been taken about October 1976. NZMC magazine Torque.
Rover 7d Nelson New Zealand late 1976
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The NAFTA Rovers | Magazine Article
With acknowledgement to the Rover Car Club of Queensland magazine Queensland Rover, June 1993, and to John Miller for the supply of the copy.
 Click on to the thumbnails to view larger on-screen images.

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Examples of NZMC Rover 3500 P6B Colours

DSC_0001a-1975-Rover-3500-1975 Leyland Mini S & Leyland Force 7 Oran Park Raceway NSW 2-12-1975

Above: Honeysuckle 1975 Rover 3500, Oran Park Raceway, NSW, 2/12/1975.

DSC_0001 1976 Rover 3500 Weston Park Yarralumla ACT 26-11-1986 Ice Blue

Above: Ice Blue 1976 Rover 3500, Weston Park, Yarralumla, A.C.T., 28/11/1986.

DSC_0010 1974 Rover 3500 Cataract Dam NSW 15-2-2012 Ice Blue

Above: Ice Blue 1974 Rover 3500, Cataract Dam, NSW, 15/2/2012.

DSC_0121 Rover 3500 Bowral NSW 29-3-2009 Tumeric

Above: Tumeric Rover 3500, Bowral, NSW, 29/3/2009.

DSC_0503 1976 Rover 3500 Gold Creek Village ACT 30-9-2006 Turquoise

Above: Tourquise 1976 Rover 3500, Gold Creek Village, A.C.T., 30/9/2006.

IMG_0197 1976 Rover 3500 Montrose Berry Farm Sutton Forest 15-12-2010

Above: Spanish Olive 1976 Rover 3500, Sutton Forest, NSW, 15/12/2010
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DSC_0542 1976 Rover 3500 Black Mountain Peninsula ACT 1-10-2006 Bitter Apricot

Above: Bitter Apricot 1976 Rover 3500, Black Mountain Peninsula, A.C.T., 1/10/2006.

DSC_0005 1974 Rover 3500 Goulburn 24-3-2001 Honeysuckle

Above: Honeysuckle 1974 Rover 3500, Goulburn, NSW, 24/3/2001.

DSC_0247 Rover 3500 Mittagong 27-4-2013 Saffron

Above: Saffron 1975 Rover 3500, Mittagong, NSW, 27/4/2013.

DSC_0001 1974 Rover 3500 Melbourne Vic 13-5-2012 Country Cream

Above: Country Cream 1974 Rover 3500, Melbourne, Victoria, 13/5/2012; photo courtesy Rover Car Club of Australia.

DSC_0002 1976 Rover 3500 Tasmania 11-2013  DSC_0003 1976 Rover 3500 Tasmania 11-2013

Above: French Blue 1976 Rover 3500, Tasmania, December 2013. This car was supplied by Regent Motors, South Melbourne, Victoria and delivered new by Fiske Bros. Motors, Box Hill, Victoria on 12 May 1981. This would have been among the very last batch of NZMC assembled Rover 3500 P6B cars to be sold new in Australia. Paperwork with the car shows the purchase price was A$16,525 which included A$950 for air conditioning & A$200 for accessories. Photos and information courtesy of the Webmaster of the Rover Car Club of Australia & the car owner.

1976 Rover 3500 Pimento Red

Above: Pimento Red 1976 Rover 3500, Victoria, photographed in 2014.

Rover 3500 British Racing Green

Above: Cameron Green Rover 3500, Tasmania.
Photos courtesy of the Rover Car Club of Australia.

IMG_2248 1974 Rover 3500 Melbourne Vic

Above: Country Cream 1974 Rover 3500, Melbourne, Victoria.
Photo courtesy of the Rover Car Club of Australia.

DSC_0061 1974 Rover 3500 Sydney 6-3-2011 Arden Green

Above: Arden Green 1974 Rover 3500, photographed in Sydney, NSW, 6/3/2011.

DSC_0189 1974 Rover 3500 Newcastle 31-7-2010 Arden Green

Above: Arden Green 1974 Rover 3500 photographed in Newcastle, NSW, 31/7/2010.
Note that the wheels are non-standard, being from a Series 1 Rover SD1. Photos courtesy the owner & the Rover Owners Club Inc. NSW & ACT.

DSC_0002 1976 Rover 3500 Victoria 2015

Above: Maple 1976 Rover 3500, photographed in Victoria.

Australian Market P6 Compendium