So after the fiasco that was the Legacy STI i kinda wanted something different. A search of trademe resulted in a few things, Skylines, Cefiros, the usual… but after testing a couple i just wasnt hooked. What did take my fancy was this.
I had seen Rover SD1s in the past, when i was younger and the shape just stuck with me. As soon as i saw it i knew i had to check it out. Popped out to have a look and instantly fell in love with it. The sound when you turn the key and the push you get when you open the throttle. The seller originally purchased the car to pull the engine and put into a jet boat. Such a waste, thankfully he came to his senses and decided it was too tidy and sold it on.
I didnt realise it when i purchased it, but it was actually the very rare EFI version of the Vanden Plas. Only 1113 were made, and they were all made to order. Bespoke.
Mine was made in Cashmere Gold with Bitter Chocolate leather interior. 190HP high compression V8, and auto. Cruise fitted standard but sadly no AC, That was an option. It was originally ordered in the UK, then within a year or so sent to Ireland. Another year or so and it made its way all the way to NZ. Thankfully being out of the Uk for so long it had not suffered the dreaded UK tinworm.
Had some adventures in this car, like the one time i pulled up and parked to go to work. Go to open the drivers door and *PING* the interior handle fails. Most interesting winding the window down and opening the door from the outside. Quick fix though, remove the surrounding trim, pop off the circlip and slide the lever off. The internal splines on mine had failed, so a replacement lever was all that i needed.
When i got the car it did feel a bit lethargic for a v8, and when doing my usual “new car” inspection i noted something weird with the air filter.
So yeah, it had the wrong filter fitted and had almost zero air intake. The filter should look like this.
I needed a quick solution so i ended up fitting a big red pod filter. The amount of horses i gained by this change alone was well measurable on the butt dyno.
Another time i had to push the car hard thanks to a truckie that decided he didnt want to be passed on the passing lane, after sitting at 80kph on the open road, he sped up the moment i went to pass. Had to exercise all 190 horsies for that one!
This is the one car, of all my cars, that i regret selling. I only sold it because the cost of fuel had just topped $2/L for the first time and on my rubbish wages i couldnt afford to keep running it as my only car. I am very thankful that it went to the best possible owner, an SD1 collector who was also on the board of his local Rover club. I still keep tabs on the car when i can, make sure its still on the road, and hope one day i might be able to buy it back.
Rover SD1 Vanden Plas EFI