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Rover SD1, Its Momo Time.

One of the biggest things that bugs people about driving an SD1 is the steering wheel. The very unique, “quartic” steering wheel.

When the SD1 was designed it was deemed that because of the low roof line, to have a wheel of the correct size would mean that there was no room for the drivers legs. This conundrum meant that the design team had to come up with a solution that allowed ample room for legs, but still had a large diameter.

The “quartic” wheel is what they came up with; A steering wheel with a large diameter, that was flat on the bottom. With careful design of the central “crash” pad and the spokes, they lessened the visual impact of this weird wheel.

But of course this isn’t the first time the world had seen a “quartic” wheel from British Leyland. The Austin Allegro also had one, but the Allegro wheel was far more out there; it was almost a square!

After the outrage from the public at the weird as hell Allegro wheel, BL management were sent a memo regarding the SD1 wheel….

Do not mention the steering wheel at all unless the subject is broached to you. If questioned simply state that the steering wheel/steering ratio are perfectly matched

There’s more to the story, but what the SD1 got in Series 2 form is a weird wheel. Its leather wrapped with a soft rubber pad in the center.

I don’t mind the design personally, but the size is a bit ungainly, and makes the car feel quite dated to drive. My wheel had also seen 30 years of use, and the leather was faded and sticky to the touch.

I recently purchased a bulk lot of parts from an auction site, and picked them up yesterday. In that massive lot of parts, was a Momo steering wheel.

Upon closer inspection, it had a correct SD1 boss kit, and a Rover “horn” button. It is dated 01-1996, and appears to be a Momo Futura.

It’s in great shape, no real damage other than some minor scuffs and a small dent in the wood on top. its been in storage for a long time, so was very dirty.

After work today I couldn’t contain myself anymore; I had to fit the wheel to my car.

I had read a lot about taking the steering wheel off the SD1, and how much of a pain it can be. This is what I was starting with.

The first step was to remove the crash pad in the middle. This just pulls off by hand, leaving access to the big nut.

The interwebs states the nut is some big imperial number, but in my case a 27MM socket worked just fine, and it wasn’t that tight. Once the nut was loose, one of the tips I came across was to remove the star locking washer, so that when you break the wheel free it doesn’t bind on the threads.

Then you MUST refit the nut a few turns (as seen in my picture above), otherwise you will end up punching yourself in the face when the wheel comes flying off. A lot of wiggling and tugging, and the wheel came free. The nut doing its job and stopping it maiming me. Before removing the wheel, make note of where it’s positioned as you will need to refit the new wheel in the same position, or face having a wheel that’s forever turning a corner.

With the old wheel off, I disassembled the new wheel and fit the boss kit to the car. This was done with the wheel loosely attached to the boss kit, so I could align it correctly and make sure it was straight. Then the washer and nut were refitted and tightened.

I then cleaned the new wheel thoroughly, and fitted the wheel, horn button ring, and horn button to the boss kit.

And it looks awesome.

The view of the speedo is slightly restricted, but I can still see at a glance what my road speed within legal limits it.

Compared to the old wheel, there is a bit of a difference.

The new wheel? It feels awesome. Makes the car feel much nicer to drive; more direct and sporty, but it also ties in nicely with the other woodgrain in the car. The indicators still self cancel, and the smaller size hasn’t caused any issues reaching the stalks.

It’s a keeper.

Oh, and I ticked over a small milestone whilst out testing the wheel (Yes, I need new brake pads).

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