's Great British Cars – Rover SD1

Sun 1st Jul 2018

Great Britain, great cars. The UK motor industry is respected the world over, and though many of the vehicles are actually owned by foreign manufacturers, there can be no doubting of the fantastic heritage of the British motor.

To celebrate Britain’s famous history is launching a series looking back on some of the most famous vehicles the UK has ever seen.

Rover SD1
With the SD standing for ‘Special Design’ this Rover emerged in an era where the British car design was truly cutting edge and was sharing looks with the likes of Ferrari and Lamborghini.

The SD1 may not quite have matched their Italian counterparts in the engine department, but it was still plenty innovative and with 136bhp six cylinder engine it was more than capable of reaching a top speed of 119mph.

Rover’s executive car came with plenty of innovation, including the inclusion of a hatchback design, which upon release in 1976 was revolutionary. The SD1 is also noteworthy as being the first car to be produced by Rover’s in-house specialist division, which later became the Jaguar-Rover- Triumph division, but it was also the last British Rover produced at the Solihull plant.

The SD1 proved to be a real hit, named European Car of the Year in 1977, it went on to gain immense popularity, selling in excess of 300,000 vehicles in its ten-year production cycle between 1976 and 1986, before being succeeded by the Rover 800.

In V8 form, the SD1 was something of a speed-demon on the roads and became a useful weapon for British police forces to fight crime. It was so popular with the police that when news of the SD1 production ceasing became knows, forces actually stockpiled a number of cars for later use.

Years of manufacture: 1976-1986 
Price when new: £4,750
Price now: £1,000-£10,000
Engine: 2,597cc 6cyl petrol, 136bhp
Top speed: 119mph

Rover’s specialist division evolved into the team which now builds Jaguar’s and Range Rovers. has many different models from all brands.