Orchard Garage Ltd first tested Paul Smith’s production prototype Rover P6 in 1984 and issued its latest MOT four decades later

Images: Pam Manwaring

Paul Smith, former chairman of the P6 Rover Owners Club, is the proud owner of 145 FLK, one of two FLK-registered Rover P6 2000 models from a pool of 40 that were used for press duties around the time of the car’s launch in 1963. The second FLK car is also owned by Smith. 

Essentially a pre-production car, 145 FLK is an important piece of British motoring history preserved under Smith’s stewardship – with help from the same MOT centre since 1984.

Smith first took his P6 to Orchard Garage Ltd in Dartford on April 16, 1984, as confirmed by the original certificate which still sits in the car’s history file. In April this year, the car received its 40th certificate at the very same garage where the first was issued. 

“Since the age of 18 I have owned Rover cars,” Smith told Kent Online. “I take them apart and do the mechanical work needed to put them back together then I get a garage to weld and paint and restore them to new.”

Smith hasn’t shied away from using his special P6, instead taking to the road on European and UK-based rallies. The car was also displayed on the P6ROC stand at the NEC Classic Motor Show in celebration of the model’s anniversary in 2023.

Clearly a man with discerning taste in Rovers, Smith’s more modern daily runabout is a Rover 75, purchased from Orchard Garage Ltd proprietors Pam and Geoff Manwaring.

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