1982 Rover - Austin SD1 SE 3.5


Beauty and the Beast, but beauty wins


The front suspension struts needed replacing, as did the ball joints. The water pump went. Then there were 5 dashboard switches, the radiator, the cylinder head was getting rattly. Mainly it was silly things; like the sunroof that wouldn't close one day when it started to rain, but just before I had a heart attack, it closed. Or the rear wiper that sometimes wouldn't work when I was reversing, but by the time I was about to drive forward & wasn't bothered, it wiped... Plus small trim irritations. It was in the garage at least once a month.

General Comments:

I loved this car & despite the fact that I could barely afford to run it & cycled most places to save it the short journeys, it was the only car (out of 9) that I actually loved. It was a dream to have one as a boy & even toward the end of the 2 years I had her, I would still look at her from my windows at night. She was a dream to drive, except for spongy brakes, endemic tothe SD1. On rainy nights, it felt like I was driving in the dry. All in all, a beautiful car & I want another, especially as now I can put an SD1 to reserve car duty as I already have a disposable Japanese hatchback. I highly recommend an SD1 if you can run it as a second car & pamper it.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 11th May, 2005

1984 Rover - Austin SD1 Van Den Plas 3.5 V8


A large smooth powerful car, comfortable and roomy


Nothing has gone wrong yet as I have only had it for 1 month.

Faults that have come with the car are,

Loose Drivers exterior handle.

A couple of broken dash switches.

Loose head lining.

General Comments:

This car is so smooth for a 20 year old car. Just pulls away from the traffic and leaves them well behind.

Has a stainless steel exhaust system and very quiet. I will change that as I want to hear the V8 rumble.

The large hatch area is great. Plenty of room for anything, even for sleeping in if away from home.And still has room for 5 people.

I have had other Rovers before, all V8's, but this is the best so far.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 22nd August, 2004

1985 Rover - Austin SD1 3500SE EFi 3.5


The best vehicle I have ever owned


At the time of acquisition, the vehicle was suffering from a strange intermittent electrical 'gremlin'. After much investigation and experimentation, the E.C.U.was replaced and presto! problem solved!.

The instrument cluster required the fitment of a few new bulbs, other than this minor fix, everything else functions perfectly well.

General Comments:

The vehicle was in sound condition for its' age, although has incredibly low mileage for its' age. I am only the second owner, the first being an elderly chap whom treated the vehicle with kid gloves.

The interior is absolutely immaculate with all vinyl and timber as good as new. The rear seats appear to never have been used!.

The paintwork is also a joy to behold, the Moon-Raker blue still retaining its original luster, despite years of driving under the harsh Australian sun.

The vehicle is dead straight with no sign of rust and the bumpers, notorious for cracking, are perfect.

The rims are also as new and the centre caps have been detailed in with the Rover emblem, which is a very striking feature.

Mechanically the vehicle is A1, and runs harder than any other vehicle of similar capacity I have driven. The Transmission is seamless and overall the vehicle is a real pleasure to drive and to own.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 3rd August, 2004

3rd Aug 2004, 18:05

Very eloquently written. I am currently considering purchasing such a vehicle and sites / comments such as these are exceptionally handy. Very nicely crafted piece.

1985 Rover - Austin SD1 Vanden Plas EFi 3.5 V8


Great bang for your buck


Chronic starter motor problems which were eventually fixed by splashing out and buying a brand new starter.

A few electrical niggles, but nothing too bad.

General Comments:

I love these cars (I have another) and would not drive anything else. They are comfortable, stylish (even 15 years down the track) and the simplicity of the engine and running gear means anyone can work on it themselves.

It's just a pleasure to own.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 24th July, 2000

3rd Mar 2004, 04:36

Does anyone have a review for a 1985 rover sd1 2300 's' if so could you e-mail me one thanks my e-mail address is aftershock300_6@hotmail.com.

15th Dec 2004, 06:10

I owned a 1985 Vanden Plas for two years (1995-97). I had a great experience with a Rover P6B 3500 which I owned for 11 years and when I sold it at the age of 19 it owed me nothing! The Rover SE was a disaster! During my ownership:

1. I had to replace the Boge dampers with conventional ones (new springs made to allow this)

2. McPherson strut discovered to be bent, replaced - could be attributed to abuse by previous owner, but what in blazes could bend it?

3. Fuel consumption improved from 12mpg to a best ever recorded 16mpg (!) after cleaning injectors, new plugs and tune up, etc.

4. Despite cooling system flush and checking of head gaskets, compression, water pump and thermostat, engine still ran warm to hot in anything approaching mild weather. Radiator expansion tank absurdly small. On one occasion I drove in city traffic on a warm day with the temp gauge stable and reading normal. I had inadvertently left the cap off the expansion tank and for better or worse I drove the car without a hassle with an unpressurised cooling system for the following year.

5. Needlessly complex exhaust system corroded throughout (admittedly wear & tear), replaced by a simple (why didn't Rover do it?) direct pipe from Y-pipe to rear with one large, universal muffler. This also cured the problem of exhaust fumes entering the cabin - I never discovered the reason for it happening.

Once the car was sorted out, cruising on the freeway with the roof open and reclining in that leather armchair with my long-suffering girlfriend (now wife) was the best ride of my life.