If David Bache was still alive, I’m sure he would respond to criticism of the so-called ‘Skeletal’ badge on the front of the first Rover SD1s. When I interviewed him to write the press kit for the original launch back in 1976, he laid some emphasis on the inspiration behind this, which was contemporary Scandinavian jewellery (Vikings, see?).
If you look closely at the badge, especially off the car, you’ll see that it is quite exquisitely detailed and, far from being a ‘cheap’ substitute, was in fact very expensive to make! However, the subtlety of it was lost on the general public, so customer pressure caused the reversion to the old-style acrylic badge on the late 1970s cars.
In a similar way, David Bache was pushed into bringing a smattering of wood veneer back into the interiors on the Series 2 SD1s when they were launched in 1982. I was quite shocked when I saw the very first pre-production SD1 cars in the Solihull Press Garage in early 1976, because the interiors were so purist and minimalist compared with the preceding Rover P6 and P5B cars – there wasn’t even a Rover badge visible inside, yet alone any wood!
With the perspective of more than four decades, was DEB right to move things on?