1953 Rover P4 75
April 2019 - Front windshield and seat
The front windshield on this P4 when I got it was cracked in several places and had to be replaced. This was a rather agonizing problem because the great Atlantic Ocean separates this P4 from plentiful of replacement part sources in the UK. I researched options for shipping a replacement windshield from the UK and found an ebay auction for an original P4 windshield offered by RS Cars, Ltd in Bedfordshire, UK for $75. Of course shipping cost twice that much bringing the overall total to around $250, but the bigger problem is international carriers refuse to insure glass so the seller could not guarantee the windshield would arrive undamaged and the gamble was on me. Shortly afterward, I attended the 2019 Lone Star Roundup in Austin, Texas and talked to a couple guys who had modified or custom windshields for their customized vehicles to learn about sources and pricing. I learned that these options are much more expensive and typically in the thousand dollar range. It is ultimately cheaper in the long run to source and ship a windshield from the UK and try again if it arrived damaged. RS Cars, Ltd assured me their success rate with shippin glass was fairly high and they'd pack well. I decided to bite the bullet and proceed with the UK purchase.
The moment of truth, did the windshield arrive undamaged after its trip across the Atlantic?
Cutting back layer after layer of bubble wrap. I think I counted 30 layers!
Amazing! The windshield arrived in perfect condition! Kudos to RS Cars, Ltd. Now I have all the glass I need ready to go after the P4 is painted.
Finding original seat frames for the P4 was another agonizing problem since all the original seats were long gone when I bought this P4. Ultimately I gave up trying to source an original seat frame because shipping costs and logistics was going to be painful. I came across a 1967-72 Chevy or GMC truck bench seat at a local car swap meet for $75 that looked very similar in dimensions to the original P4 seat and a good donor for modification.
The original truck bench seat is about 57 inches long. The P4 service manual specifies the width of the front seat at the base is 55.5 inches. The top of the seat back is a few inches narrower because the P4 B pillars curve inward from the floor to ceiling.
Test fitting after I cut out 4 inches from the middle of the seat frame and welded the 2 end pieces back together down the center.
The front of the seat frame barely clears the transmission cover so I'll need to fabricate an arch here.
Fabricated an arch in the front to clear the transmission cover.
Steel bars were welded to the original Chevy seat brackets to realign the mounting holes to the original P4 mount locations that tie into the frame. I'm not doing what the previous owner did attaching the seat to the sheet metal of the floor!
I also cut out 4 inches down the center of the seat back, welded it up and mounted to the base to verify fitment.
Unfortunately, the seat back needs to taper inward to clear the B pillars.
I cut off 4 inches from the top (2 inches near each end) and pushed the frame inward to taper the width. Now the seat fits nicely.