Pass The Petrol: 60k-mile 1980 Rover 3500 5-Speed

Here's something you don't see everyday. Only about 1,200 units were made for North America for one model year only. This one features the sunroof delete option.

The SD1 was the flagship Rover passenger car from 1976-1986. Over 300,000 were made. The stats are pretty impressive: four doors, rear hatchback, rear-wheel drive, and four, six, and eight cylinder engines.

By the time Rover was clear to import these to America, however, some changes were made. Larger and heavier bumpers as well as quad round fixed sealed-beam headlights were added to meet U.S. safety regulations (that apparently trumped even those of the socialist British state of the '70s). Fortunately, the only SD1 made for North America was essentially the top-of-the-line model in Europe, featuring a slightly detuned version of the V8. It produced only about 133 horsepower, astonishingly small for eight cylinders.

Thankfully, power was directed to the rear wheels, and manual transmissions were standard equipment.

Rover pulled the SD1 from North America in 1981 following weak sales.

The seller of this example seems to be an adoring fanatic and say they purchased it in 1993 with only 50k miles and have since put on only an additional 10k in the past 19 years. They say it has been meticulously maintained in that time period. Mechanically, they say the engine starts and runs fine with no vibrations or leaks.

Cosmetically, they say it received new paint from the previous owner, and has no rust except for one spot of bubbling near the window.

Although it was never a terribly fast or even overall impressive car at the time and is certainly not fast anymore, if you're looking for an SD1 already in the U.S. this could be the one to have, if the owner is as thorough as they claim. There just can't be many left, and surely very very few in this good shape.

Find it here on ebay in Lenexa, Kansas

1 comment:

  1. Very unusual to see an SD1, let alone one in such good condition! Rovers in the rust belt disappeared years ago.

    With the repaint, you might want to ask why and how much rust was repaired at the time. Still, this seller seems straight up with information about the car, so I'd be a bit less concerned.

    Unfortunately, these weren't very good cars in general. Not for power, or handling, or comfort, or reliability, or whatever. And the round headlight conversion on such and angular sedan was a design miss. The white-over-beige on this one isn't helping matters either.

    However, at less than $2400 so far, and with no reserve, this could be a great opportunity. And how many other V8/5-speed manual, family-size hatchback sedans are out there? Uh, none.

    Just don't drive it home to the rust belt.