Blog : SOS – or Save Our Sterling

Craig Cheetham

If I had the space, the time, the money… and I’m probably not the only one, but having recently acquired a Mk 1 800 (watch this space…) I can’t justify another.

Tidy-looking Mk 1 Sterling needs saving in Wiltshire
Tidy-looking Mk 1 Sterling needs saving in Wiltshire

Any takers, then, for this poorly but lovely looking F-plater, for sale at Country Classics in Pewsey, Wilts?

Bodily, it looks excellent, and I’ve always loved ’em in Black. The major issue is that apparently it’s showing signs of head gasket failure, although the dealer doesn’t really describe how bad it might be.

Some fine cracks to the leather, but with just 53k on the clock the interior is excellent
Some fine cracks to the leather, but with just 53k on the clock the interior is excellent

At £500 and with a valid MoT, though, it has to be worth a punt.

Can somebody please save this car before I put my marriage on the line over it? Please...
Can somebody please save this car before I put my marriage on the line over it? Please…

If I had the space, the time, the money etc… However, if you’re interested, you can view it here.

Craig Cheetham


  1. A very nice looking example and fairly rare in a single-tone colour. This example will also still be ‘old enough’ to feature electrically adjustable rear seat squabs.

  2. Is it not worth the garage fixing it and selling it for 3 or 4 times the price? I often wonder why they don’t bother. It’s like people who say ‘could do with a clean inside and out’.

    This example looks gorgeous but I’m more keen on a 200 series of the same vintage (SD3) so can’t justify it.

    • From my experience, dealers wont bother with a big petrol saloon car needing work, and will just try and shift them on.

      Usually PXs that have came in against something like a Kia Sportage diesel, and are just taking room up on the forecourt.

    • Most of this dealer’s stock is older and more established BL classics. They have a nice P6 in “Advocado” green, and an interesting US-spec SD1.

      If they’re advertising it for £500, they probably only paid £200 for it as a PX and it would have been a tricky decision whether to keep it for retail or eBay a few parts off it and weigh in the rest for scrap. Their loyalty to BL/Rover products might be what tipped the balance in favour of keeping the car in one piece.

      • I’ve browsed their site and there’s some cracking cars on there, especially under the Sold section. A Met Police SD1 and a mint Sierra estate. Haven’t seen one of the latter for years.

        • If you lived near me there’s no problem with seeing a Sierra estate. Chap up the road has a dark metallic green Chassure(?) which is his daily drive. It’s not a rag bag either, it’s in really good nick.

  3. Be shame to see this broken up for spares, hopefully someone will save.

    Maybe Wheeler Dealers can step in, head gasket change and clean up would surely means it worth a few times the current price?

    • “‘Old out yer ‘and!”

      How much does a good condition Sterling sell for? Sadly, I can’t imagine the profit would be worth Edd and Fat Mike’s time.

      • I don’t think they’d ever make any profit anyway on any of their cars if they paid for Edd’s time! At least the dreadful but somehow compelling ‘Classic Car Rescue’ takes into account labour costs.

  4. And I quote from elsewhere on the link to the Country Classics website, “1989 Rover 827SLi Saloon Spares car with a good engine available for £200 if required”.

    • With that in mind, it’s really not a lot of money for a very nice car if you’re handy enough with the spanners. Sadly, I’m not, but what a cracking project for somebody.

  5. Signs of HGF aside, it looks very tidy. I like early, pre-facelift examples of almost any car. Somehow, in hindsight anyway, they often look better than later, tweaked versions.

    Unfortunately, my rescue of such cars will have to wait until next year. I should then have the funds to better realise my interest in all things BL>MG Rover. Can’t wait!!!

  6. Not worth the time diagnosing and effort to take apart let alone hoping it will be ok once fixed. The V6 engine was a nightmare then in the 80s if you had problems [which were rare]let alone cost effective for parts not forgetting skimming etc if the head is warped or corroded.

  7. I have the money, but not the time. Mrs E would kill me if I came home with a non-runner although I’d be more than happy to fix it up.

    I’ve been thinking of another [classic] car as I’m looking to shift the Disco2 in the next few months.

    Soooooo tempting at £500

  8. I’ve tried to buy this car, emailed texted phoned, spoke to someone, never got back to me, phoned left message, never got back to me, id buy this car for the right money and save it, but they don’t seem to want me to.

  9. So, it looks as if this car has been bought by an enthusiast which is nice, hopefully it’ll give good service for a few more years.

    I’d have had it myself but sadly at the time due to impending loss of storage and no spare money plus having several other 800s to contend with I simply couldn’t justify it. Seems to be the way things are going these days with a lot of people.

  10. The MoT expired in March 2015, so although it’s marked as “SOLD”, it doesn’t look like it survived.

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