1985 Rover - Austin SD1 Vanden Plas EFi 3.5 V8 from Australia and New Zealand


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.

1985 Rover - Austin SD1 Vitesse 3.5 from Netherlands


Stylish Hot Hatch eater!


Worn suspension bushes, shock absorbers, dynamo (twice), broken clutch lever, leaking cyl. head, rust problems and lots of electrical problems.

General Comments:

It's a very very nice car to drive.

Just love the styling. If you want to use it as an everyday car then be prepared to do some occasional repair work. Can be expensive to run on petrol however mine has run without any problems on LPG.

All in all reasonably reliable and a very good performer!!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 28th May, 2000

1985 Rover - Austin SD1 3500 Vitesse 3.5 V8 Efi petrol from UK and Ireland


As it's an old car most of the parts replaced are due to normal wear and tear. Things like tyres, steering components, brakes pads etc.

However I did have to replace the oil gasket between vee.

This is one of the few weaknesses and it is caused by the breather system becoming semi-blocked creating excess crankcase pressure, this causes the oil gasket between the vee to burst (pumps oil all over the place). Fairly cheap and easy to remedy but it is a known problem.

General Comments:

Having owned two, I have a general idea of the cars faults. The major one is running costs. To keep the vehicle in good running order a prospective buyer would have too realise that it is not going to be cheap.(On average - depends on mileage - expect to spend between £1000 - £1800 per annum to keep this vehicle on the road mechanically)

The other known problem, is that if frequent oil+filter changes have not been done, slight wear in the camshaft and lifters will become apparent at around 90K-100K. Although the cars will still go on until 125K-135K (probably more) before this wear becomes seriously noticeable ie it drops a cylinder.

The best thing about this car though is its smooth rocket-like performance, which I shall always look back on with relish.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 12th January, 1998

6th Feb 2004, 08:27

I think the mechanical running costs quoted are much too high. £1000-1800? a little pessimistic if you are an able mechanic. Maybe more like £500.