The project “Gas Turbine Engine” found it's sporty climax at the 24 hours Le Mans Race of 1963 , together with BRM, which just had won the 1962 Formula 1 with the World Champion Graham Hill William Martin Hurst provided a sportscar with a 1,5 litre engine and 200 hp at 11.000 revs/min, the 8th place was a good introduction but due to the regulations of those days, the Rover-RM was not officially valued.
Two years later, Rover BRM started it's second attempt, this time as an official participant, at least nobody less than Jackie Stewart was sitting behind the steering wheel and occupied the 10th over all ranking.
Att all, it was great marketing campaign, the media was full of racing reports and Rover uprated it's image as an innovative auto manufacturer.
Model-variation - A Convertible from Hermann Graber
1965 Rover commissioned the Swiss body shell specialist Hermann Graber to make each two convertibles and two coupé s, from 4 P6 originals. Grabner was famous for his designs which he had already made for Rolls Royce, Bentley and Alvis. Therefore he began to convert those P6 with great success, but no series production was ever realised, because meanwhile Rover had bought Alvis and had other plans with this marque. However, these plans came to nothing either.
More informations to the Grabner Convertible in this pdf-document
The Takeover - Alvis GTS
In 1965 the still independent Rover Company swallowed it's market facilitator Alvis, this marque was even more British, more exclusive and had brought a series of beautiful vehicles on the market. Planned as a coupe' beside the P6, the Alvis GTS was brought into it's short lifed being by 1966, but the project failed during the chaotic around the takeover by British Leyland.
Rover P8 BS (- or nearly called Leyland 8 GE)
During the late 60ties many companies thought, that conceptions from Racing Sports could be adapted for common use. Interesting models like the Matra 530, the VW Porsche 914 or the Lotus Europe were (next to Ferrari and Maserati) under development or already on market.
Rover's Spen King designed the mid engined coupe' based on the Rover P6, with the great V8 lump infront of the rear axle. The car had even 3 seats, the third seat crosswise behind the front seats. Rover planned to sell 5000 units annually in the USA, the targeted price of $ 5.000 was clearly under the price of the E-Type or the Mercedes 230 SL.
What happened to the BS
On one side, the creators didn't even know if they could commercialize it as a Rover, or as a Leyland 8 GE (for Group Experimental – die Rover origin had to be hidden).
So the Rover P6BS fell to victim of the jealous anger of Sir William Lyons, the very influential Jaguar chief feared not without reason, that the BS could be faster, better and cheaper than the Jaguar E Type.
After two presentations at the Car Saloons of New York 1968 and Genevieve 1969 further development works were ceased.
So the Rover P6BS died from the awaitable success, that's why one can really say: British Leyland you have suffered bankruptcy to right. The real “English Illness” of that era.