1987 Rover SD1 2300 5 Speed Manual
(Featured on 18th December 2011)
Registration: E474 SDA
Sellers original description:
An opportunity to acquire one of the last Rover SD1’s made.
A Mk2 2300 built in the last year of production, 1986, with desirable 5 speed manual gear box, many factory extras and registered to Austin Rover group in 1987.
Acquired by its last owner with just 500 miles and now having covered just 55,000 miles since new.
Always garaged used as a third car for holidays and special occasions.
Presented in outstanding show condition with all of its original panels and glass and the vast majority of its factory applied paint finish.
Amongst the very best of the remaining examples available.
In 1971 Rover, by then part of British Leyland (BL) began developing a new car to replace their P6 and the Triumph 2000/2500. The designers at both Triumph and Rover had submitted plans for the new car, but it was the latter that was chosen.
The project was first code-named RT1 (for Rover Triumph Number 1) but then soon changed to SD1 (for Specialist Division Number 1) as Rover and Triumph were both assigned to the new "Specialist Division" of BL.
Launched in 1976 with a 3500 V8 and aimed at the emerging executive market the SD1’s hatchback design was one with simplicity of manufacture in mind.
The interior moved away from Rovers traditional and, according to some, long in the tooth wood and leather.
The SD1 was received with great acclaim by the motoring press and public alike. All this praise culminated in the 3500 being awarded the Don Safety award and also the European car of the Year for 1977 – something that a British Leyland car had not achieved since the BMC1800 in 1964.
Consequently sales of the SD1 were very soon so oversubscribed that people were queuing to buy the car, some dealers were actually selling delivery mileage examples at a premium over the list price – something that British Leyland had never experienced before.
The price for the car was right. Only the V6 Ford Granada 3000 was in the same league at that price point, but that was a vastly more conventional looking car than the Rover and lacked its showroom appeal.
Rover launched the 2300 and 2600 models in late 1977, finally laying to rest the P6 and Triumph 2500 models after their long and distinguished service. These new models were also warmly received by the press, especially the 2600, which was viewed as a car that could do 95 percent of what the V8 engined model could do, but at a lower cost. They were so in demand that BL were left with the situation of not being able to supply the cars that customers wanted. It was not until the spring of 1978 that one could actually obtain a 2300 without wait.
It is now 25 years since manufacture of the SD1 ceased. During its 10 year production run there were many versions and a number of facelifts.
The Rover Sd1 series 2 were announced in September 1982. All new cars were built in Cowley. The main differences could be seen in the interiors of the new cars. The interiors were colour-keyed from the instrument panel to the boot and carpets. The instruments were revised to give the car a more modern feel.
One of the styling changes on the outside of the car could be recognized at the rear. The rear window was much larger, 15.3 cm deeper and was fitted with a rear wiper.
The SD1 has most certainly become a classic and has a huge following. To many people they were the last true Rover as there replacement was a joint venture with Honda. There are numerous owners clubs and sites, spares are readily available and are not expensive.
Today though the greatest challenge for any SD1 enthusiast will be finding a good example.
SD1’s could be prone to rust and consequently original examples have become rare. If you can find one that is not corroded or restored you will be lucky. However to find a very low mileage, original condition, remarkably rust free car with just 1 owner from new, apart from the manufacturer, you would be very fortunate indeed.
Should you get a chance to acquire such a car then our advice would be snap it up as it could be a very long time before you see another.
Well, here is such a car and here is your chance!
When E474 SDA came off the Cowley production line in mid 1986 it would have been one of the very last vehicles built and the launch of the replacement for the SD1, the Japanese inspired Rover 800 series, was just a few weeks away. By this time production had dwindled from circa 7,000 per month at peek to just a handful by comparision.
E474 SDA is a Rover 2300 although the specification is much closer to the next model up-the 2300S. We would imagine that as production drew to an end stocks of what would usually have been extras were fitted on the production line to those last cars.
This 2300 has a 5 speed manual gearbox (rare), sun roof, central locking, trip computer, wood inserts to the doors, rear seat belts and Power assisted steering.
The problem in fitting factory extras was that it pushed the price up towards that of the 2300S and of course, while there were still some of the more upmarket models about and with the 800 now launched, it made it difficult to command the higher price for extra laden 2300’s.
A way round the price for Austin Rover, they could not be seen to be discounting the wholesale price of new cars, was to register the car in their name drive it a few hundred miles and then sell it to one of their dealers as a used car. In this case it was to Lex Mead of Cheltenham, their number plates still remain.
E474 SDA was purchased from Lex Mead by its last owner, a qualified engineer, in 1988.
It was never the intention of the last owner to use the car as an everyday transport; he had other vehicles for that. He actually bought it for his pending retirement to use only for holidays and special occasions.
E474 SDA was always garaged, cherished and well maintained by its engineer owner. He would polish it and run it up to normal engine temperature weekly, even if it had not been used.
In 2007 the owner gave up driving E474 SDA and laid it up in his garage, he still religiously ran it weekly though.
The first owner averaged around 2,000 miles per year and the mileage today is just 55,000 from new. The car is in exceptional original condition and comes with a letter from the owner warranting the mileage and the history.
Targa red. Just the best colour!
E474 SDA retains almost all of its factory applied paint finish and is remarkably rust free.
The driver’s side rear wing was repainted 15 years ago following a slight mishap in a car park, not the owner’s fault he emphatically tells us.
He also says that some chips on the bonnet have been professionally attended to some years back.
We have not carried out any paint rectification to the car and the overall condition of the bodywork is excellent.
Door boot and bonnet shuts are like new.
No welding has been carried out and none is required.
Any stone chips or minor blemishes were touched up as they occurred and it is plain to see that this is a vehicle that has been cherished all of its life.
The interior is in first class condition.
The gray velvet velour seats are not marked or misshapen.
Carpets not far off new condition, again with no marks or ware.
Standard Philips FM radio cassette player.
The owner, an engineer remember, had read about 6 cylinder Rover engines suffering occasional engine lubrication failure so he had a system fitted that pre warns of this buy means small red warning light fitted to the top of the dash, it is just visible to the left of the steering wheel in the picture.
The headlinings in SD1’s almost always have sagged. This is caused by deterioration of the backing foam through age. E474 SDA was no exception. The only real way to deal with this for the long term rather than a quick fix is to fit a new headlining. So that is exactly what we have done using the correct material, including the sunroof and the rear pillars.
Under the bonnet:
No signs of rust, exceptionally clean with original stickers.
Many components still have that as new shine.
In the boot:
Unmarked boot mat and trim.
Under the boot boards hardly used spare wheel with factory fitted tyre.
Perfect boot floor with no signs of water leaks or rust.
Unused jack in correct bag.
On the road:
Starts on the button with automatic choke which settles down beautifully as normal operating temperature is reached.
The 5 speed box is smooth and works just as it should, we have just replaced the clutch as the take up was a little high.
E474 SDA is a very straight and honest Mk 2Rover 2300. Effectively it has only had 1 owner from new.
It is totally original and remarkably rust free. It has an exceptional interior and drives superbly.
Really it wants for nothing is ready to use/show and is one of the best original examples around.
Rover SD1’s are rare with only just over 600 cars on the Road in total.
They are becoming highly sought after and many enthusiasts now seek the 2300 5 speed manuals as they are amongst the rarest especially one as highly specked as this one is.
This exceptional SD1 and one of the very last made it will be of interest to enthusiasts, collectors and investors alike. A rare opportunity indeed. Don’t miss it because you almost certainly may never again get such a chance.