Reviving the Rover

Mike Humble cracks on with the Rover’s ever growing list of jobs

Don’t you just love these warm, light evenings? While others nearby are busy poisoning themselves with half-cooked sausages on the barbecue, other people are having much more fun, namely me, spending my spare time after work rootling under the bonnet of Keith Adams’ glorious SD1

I’ve been using the car on my commute to work which is a 22 mile round trip using dual carriageways and country A roads and it’s been a joy. Having driven the car a few miles, it’s become obvious that it can run much better owing to the pinking, hesitation at low revs and a really unstable tickover.

After spending a few hours last Sunday afternoon, I had managed to deal with the fuelling issues. It was noted that the idle speed was set up wrong, the throttle cable was too tight, the advance vacuum pipe was not connected and four out the total of eight nuts securing the brace of SU HIF carbs were loose to the point that you could see the washers joggling around on tick over – not good!

The CO2 mixture was also very weak but, thanks to a slight tweaking, the engine now has a wonderful smooth idle with fantastic burble from the stainless steel tailpipe. Virtually all of its low speed hesitation has now gone – I simply can’t wait for Keith to return and feel the difference. Some other under-bonnet items also gave cause for concern, including loose low tension spindle nuts on the coil and a very bad fitting ignition amplifier plug connector.

The spark plugs were removed and found to be in good shape with only a good clean up being required. Driving the car now is, without doubt, an absolute joy. Admiring glances and smiles of approval when sitting at pedestrian crossings just add to the experience of the SD1 – a head turning car back in the 70s and still commanding the same response from the public some 34 years later. Even if you cryogenically froze Jack Carter, the SD1 3500 is still a whole lot cooler!

I’m just waiting for the radiator from Rimmer Bros to arrive, then I’m off to the breaker’s yard to source a suitable donor car for a decent electric cooling fan.

Watch this space…

Mike Humble


  1. A great looking machine. I had one of those back in the mid-1980s but ours was a manual 2.6 on a B plate.

    Please tell me, are you the same Mike who worked for a Rover Dealer in the South Midlands some years back and drove an immaculate red Montego? If so, you may remember me.

    Brilliant website – totally addictive stuff to read and stunningly researched.

  2. Well, hello Peter! Long time no see. I do remember you well. It would be great to speak to you. Go to the “Contact us” section, scroll down and you can click on the link to e-mail and get in touch if you feel the urge.

  3. If the SD1’s carbs were loose, one wonders what else is only finger tight! Definitely a case for a full nut and bolt session. Could save a lot of anguish in future.

  4. @Ian Elliott
    Had a similar case on my MG Maestro 1600 – but in my case it was a set of loose bolts on the inner drive shaft coupling! Let’s say I managed to find enough of them scattered over 1km of road to continue driving after re-attaching the LH drive shaft…

    Mike, I suspected badly setup carbs after some things Keith wrote on the forum, but thought these had long been dealt with. Setting up double carbs is always something that needs patience but, with missing vacuum links and loose nuts, there is no way this will lead to success.

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