1984 Rover - Austin SD1 Van Den Plas 3.5 V8 from Australia and New Zealand


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

1984 Rover - Austin SD1 3500 SE 3.5 V8 from Denmark


A classic British motorcar, good performance, but costly


The electric windows - one day one window refused roll up again. I had to dismantle the whole door.. Other times the windows wouldn't work the first time you press the switch.

The door lock broke - You had to slam the door in order to close it.

Contact for sunroof refused to work.

Emergency close sunroof in the boot - the handle broke something there so it didn't work.

General Comments:

Great looking car. Especially series 2 with extra cromework. Still turns heads today.

Very good sound (3500 V8)

Comfortable car - good for long distance travel.

Spacious boot.

Some wind noise at high speed.

Good performance and easy to drive.

Handles really well.

Braking could be better, though.

Depending on version - futuristic instruments - could be better.

Average consumption 7-9 km/l (3 speed auto) ( (20-22 mpg UK)

The car would be fantastic with a 4 speed auto box.

Be aware of rust in sills and doors.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 10th June, 2002

11th Jun 2002, 03:56

Just a quick note concerning the author's comment on 'This car would be great with a 4 speed auto'. You can actually fit a 'ZF' four speed auto to the V8 cars (I think it originates from the newer Range Rover), it is however quite costly; around £1500!

PS you could always try a breakers.

19th Sep 2006, 21:36

All the faults you mention are par for the course with the SD1. Electrical problems abound even in low mileage cosseted examples. Window motors seizing, sunroof and central locking failing are all common faults, but still look how old it is now! I agree with you about the brakes too - they work, but they aren't very confidence inspiring. It feels like it needs bigger brakes, or at least 4 pot callipers.

29th Jul 2010, 03:47

I owned a 1979 SD1 in the late 80s. It was the best car I have ever driven - even to today (now 2010). But sadly it was a constant effort to replace or bodge window switches, brake boosters (servos), wheel cylinders, window electric motors, central locking bits and pieces etc. It even excreted automatic fluid if parked for more than a couple of days. Someone once said it looked fast even when standing still - which was just as well. Summed it up really - a brilliant idea and design, but built with a shoddy quality that made ownership a love hate relationship.

A great opportunity lost.

1984 Rover - Austin SD1 Vanden Plas 2.6 from UK and Ireland


Luxury bargain


Rear self levelling shocks packed up.

Burst power steering hose.

General Comments:

I bought this car in November 1998 for the sum of £30. It had been sitting in a barn since October 1990 after the owner stopped driving. I put a battery on it and it started on the second turn of the key and I drove it home.

The bodywork after a good clean was near immaculate so no welding or repairs were needed.

I spent about £200 on exhaust/brake shoes and cylinders, cambelt and a few other bits that 8 years of neglect tend to destroy, and it passed its MOT first time.

I used it as a second car and it was a joy to drive - the handling made you think it was a much smaller car than it was, and although the acceleration would be leisurely at best, it would cruise at 90 mph all day if asked. However the brakes were adequate on a good day, and just poor on a bad one. I sold it just before the following MOT to an enthusiast for £275, and it is still on the road today.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 20th August, 2000

10th Apr 2006, 04:13

This business of the brakes - or lack of, intermittently - is a surprising consistency.

Do they all do this? All of mine have, but even working properly the brakes are less than the performance of the car, and can be outright dangerous when system full on in "hissy fit". Hence full-on four disc -ventilated, upgrade diameters - enhancement.

Other thing is straight-line front end "plough" in braking, especially in wet, thus brake bias valve is up for some attention until system functions as it ought, although I have been told that reverse pressure bleeding of the rears produces an improvement you would not believe.

Have yet to see it.

Nonetheless a magic car. The (enhanced, headers, 3" system) engine note alone is worth the (meagre) entry cost, and yes, what else of that age still fits into traffic seamlessly, and if you stand on the throttle, leaves most of it somewhere back in the distance.

It's fun to play with FPV Falcon "Boss 260/290" GT's and V8 Holden "Commodes" with something probably as old, if not older, than the drivers are.

25th Oct 2008, 15:28

Well whats this all about, this car is great, it looks great, drives great and I want to have a other one in case this one is stolen or something. My one is a 2,600 silver manual gear box type. I drive it in Ireland and everyone thinks it's great. There was no other car like it.