Why we love the… Rover Sterling

James-Copp Taylor loves the Sterling for its speed, style and value for money…

People are often asking me that very question, why oh why do you choose to drive that!! In relation to my Mk1 Rover Sterling. A car that has achieved a slightly dubious reputation for electrical, and mechanical reliability.

It all started back in 1997, I was 17 and I was looking for my first car. I’d always had a liking for large cars, and fancied something both large and interesting. I went to look at a Rover 820e, but on discovering the price of insurance, I had to wait till I was 19 and my 820Si. That and an 820e saw me through till I was 21, then the fun started.

I’d been saving for some time and fancied upgrading. I bought a 1989 Rover Vitesse Manual, and enjoyed it immensely, but, since I started driving I had always been hankering after a Rover Sterling. The combination of sleek 1980’s lines, Honda V6 and leather seemed quite appealing. The Vitesse was swapped for a Rover Sterling.

People will ask why? People will say ‘they’re unreliable’. Yes, they may well be if you don’t service them.

…the long flowing lines, aerodynamic
and as ‘eighties as Spandau Ballet,
the factory option body kit, designed
by TWR and supplied with the world’s
most extreme ‘discreet’ spoiler!

I drive them because in my eyes, the shape is very sexy, the long flowing lines, aerodynamic and as 80’s as Spandau Ballet, the factory option body kit, designed by TWR and supplied with the worlds most extreme ‘discreet’ spoiler!! The wonderful interior, the swooping dash raises into almost an arch in front of the driver, housing comprehensive instrumentation, and going back towards the bulkhead in front of the passenger, capped with some stylish looking wood, compare the interior to that of the P6, and you can see the Rover lineage is obvious. Rover originally described the 800 series as a latter day P6. I like the drive, it’s certainly not the best handling, or riding car in the world, but the Honda V6 makes for rapid progress, and can shock a few people in far newer metal, at the traffic light Grand Prix. A potential top speed of 150MPH, leather trim and a distinct Jekyll and Hyde character make for an interesting motor car.

Why else? For the 1980’s the Rover Sterling was the best equipped car in its price range, a feat that I don’t think has been suppassed on a standard executive class motor.

Electric seats –front and rear, with 4 memory positions for the driver, variable intermittency for the wipers, electric windows for each passenger, air con, climate on later models, electric sunroof, memory electric mirrors, cruise, the list is almost endless, and all for standard!!! At £25,000 – 30,000 you couldn’t get a more loaded car. And for my £175 in 2000, I couldn’t get a more loaded car for the money!

So, we have prices that are dirt cheap, do we have a worn smooth old nail? Oohh no. This is where the 800 wins again. It’s the motoring industries best kept secret. Power, reliability, comfort, slightly tarnished 80’s flash and 350,000 mile potential, all that and more for under a grand!

Definitely a car of its times, but unique and classy with it, that’s what lights my fire, and that’s why I choose the Rover Sterling.

Keith Adams

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