1977 Rover - Austin SD1 3500 3.5 petrol from UK and Ireland


The best luxury car of the 1970s


Ignition failed at 10,000 miles.

Brake pads needed replacing at 18,000 miles.

Driver's side window motor failed at 23,000 miles.

Interior trim began to crumble after 30,000 miles.

General Comments:

The SD1 3500 is a very smooth and swift luxury car which had a very useful hatchback.

It is very impressive looking for a car that was designed back in the mid 1970s.

At a time when British Leyland was producing a raft of maligned motors, the SD1 3500 was a world class creation.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 15th December, 2006

1977 Rover - Austin SD1 S 3.5 V8 from UK and Ireland


This is why no-one makes cars in Britain any more


Took nearly a year to deliver.

Took about a month for the dealer to sort out all the faults found during the pre-delivery inspection.

As eager to start on cold mornings as most BL employees. Idle very rough, cold or warm.

Power steering rack leaked from day one and eventually the pump packed up. Took several months for BL to source replacement parts. Had to hire a car for that period.

Bright yellow paint finish had overspray and orange peel everywhere. Rust on sills after 2 years.

Engine and transmission always filthy with oil.

Fit and finish of interior abysmal. Evolving plastic technology hadn't evolved far enough by 1977.

Everything electrical (windows, sunroof, central locking, interior lights) packed up at least once.

Rear hatch wouldn't stay open.

Fuel economy was dreadful - about 14 mpg.

General Comments:

Everyone else on this site seems to think the SD1 was a wonderful old car, but this one was appalling.

It had a good deal of style and showroom appeal and it picked up a few awards at the time, but actually owning one was very different.

When it was going it was pretty good - nice handling and ride, comfortable and roomy interior, great sounding V8 engine and pretty brisk performance. I did do quite a few miles in it.

This was all cancelled out by an endless stream of problems as detailed above.

The way the dealers treated me was abysmal. You would have thought it was some sort of privilege to own one of these things. I wrote a long letter to BL about all the problems, but they didn't bother replying.

I wish I'd kept the Toyota. Nuts to flying the flag.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 18th February, 2004

29th Apr 2004, 13:49

Don't get me wrong. I had no problems with the way it drove or with the design. Look how many miles I covered in it.

What I hated was the dealer service and the way it was screwed together, both of which were lousy.

If it had been built to the same standard as the Crown it would have been a fantastic machine.