Car of the Month : October 2002

In the course of this website, I have described the Rover SD1 as the finest car to emerge from the BL stable during the 1970s.

I do not apologise for taking this standpoint; given the car’s mix of smart David Bache design and Spen King inspired practical packaging. At the time of its launch in 1976, the hatchback was considered new and quite novel, so for the company to adopt the format on an executive car was quite simply, daring in the extreme. It is my deep-seated admiration of the concept and the style (not to mention the delicious V8 power unit) that led me to buy one of the finest remaining examples of a series one SD1.

This particular car was registered in 1978 and has covered a mere 64,000 miles during its life – and having spent most of the 1990s in storage, it survived its midlife crisis with considerable aplomb. Following its re-commissioning a couple of years ago, it looks today almost as good as it did when it rolled off the Solihull production line.

Front view shows perfectly the low and aggressive nose and side swage lines; classic David Bache signatures… That bonnet badge was disparaged by Rover traditionalists, but in retrospect, it matches the minimalist elements of the rest of the design perfectly.

Uncluttered by those stick on strips of chrome that ‘graced” the series two SD1, the purity of the shape is most evident in this version of the car. That high tail does prove disadvantageous in one respect: rearward visibility, which is quite simply, awful!

Apologies for my self-indulgence in choosing this car for October’s car of the month, but given the condition, which is a credit to its former owner, David Price, it would have been chosen anyway. The fact that I now own it simply makes it all the more pleasurable for me.

Keith Adams

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