The Rover SD1 so. Designed and made by Rover.
Entirely in-house. In the aftermath of the British auto empire. Within the Austin Rover Group, part of the once infamous British Leyland, a successor was needed for the Rover P6 and the Triumph 2000/2500. The SD (Special Division) 1 was very nice and had a V8. What else do you want? Guaranteed success! However? And there should have been SD2s, SD3s and so on. Can come.
That Special Division event was the collaboration of Triumph and Rover within British Leyland.
The approach in 1971 was the design of a 'large' car with a large tailgate
The head of the design department, David Bache, was not inspired by a small example: The SD1 envisioned the Ferrari Daytona and a study model by Pininfarina. That study model would later also form the basis for the Citroën CX are, even though such a beautifully lined, stretched automobile.
Better be basic
The novice would, of course, have to compete, which is why the people in the design team refrained from being technical. Technically, the SD1 therefore became simpler than its complicated predecessor the Rover P6. This was mainly reflected in a fairly simple chassis. But whether a rigid rear axle and drum brakes were appropriate for such a chic car that had to make life difficult for BMWs and Mercedes? Smart: Because the rest of the world outside the United Kingdom continued to drive stubbornly on the wrong side of the road, the newcomer got a symmetrical dashboard where the steering wheel - and the controls in the footwell - could be mounted on the left or right as desired.
In 1976 I went into military service and the production-ready SD1 was presented
For both of them that was not the start of a successful process. The Rover had an 156 horsepower strong 3,5 liter V8 with an electronic Lucas ignition. What the Kiss of Death was for many cars also happened with the Rover SD1: The Rover was voted the car of the year in 1977. But the production quality at the factory in Solihull was of the level that our Eastern neighbors called 'British Leyland' as 'British Elend'. Misery so ... Everything you could think of was broken, wrong or wrong with the new Rovers. No matter how beautiful they were. The dream of recapturing the American market stopped under the 800 specimens. It may be said that later copies were (much) better. But then the reputation damage had already done its job ...,
From 1981, the SD1 was built in the Morris plant in Cowley
The home base Solihull was then used for the profitable production for Land Rover. In that year there was also a facelift. The car got some external adjustments and a different dashboard. In addition, the 2,0-liter four-cylinder with 101 hp and the 91 hp 2,4-liter turbo diesel from the Italian VM Motori, a company that supplied 'convection diesels' to many manufacturers, appeared. The sporty V8-S was replaced by the Vitesse with 190+ hp, the luxurious V8 variant was named 'Vandenplas EFi'. In the autumn of 1986, after production of approximately 1 units, the SD295.000 was succeeded by the Rover 800 series with subcutaneous Honda technology.
Fortunately, Rover SD1s have remained in the meantime
The cars that are still driving are usually much better than they ever came from the factory and have a circle of passionate enthusiasts. One of the driving forces in that world is René Winters, the man behind - among other things - the Dutch Rover SD1 Website. And www.roversd1.nl. Within the enthusiastic collective there is a lot of knowledge, components and shared passion.
A good Rover SD1 is a desirable classic
But only buy one that is really good. Preferably take a specialist with you and / or have a purchase inspection carried out. And of course an SD1 with a V8 is the best ...