Saturday, December 13, 2008

1990 Sterling (Rover) 827SLi on eBay

The last Rover badged car sold in the US was the 1980 3500 (SD1 to most of the world). Like so many other British cars sent to the US, quality control problems killed it. (Although I used one as my daily driver for a couple of years in the mid-eighties and had no major problems)

In 1987 Rover tried again. Knowing the Rover name was not held in high regard in the US, they called their new offering "Sterling".

The Sterling seemed like a great idea. Rover was collaborating with Honda at the time and essentially took an Acura platform and running gear and wrapped it in an attractive body. The interior was traditional British luxury, with seats of soft leather and real wood accents on the doors and dashboard. Every possible power convenience was included. It's suspension was a bit sportier than the Acura's.

The US public took to the car initially and 14,000 cars found homes in the US by 1988.

But traditional British problems (electrical gremlins, build quality issues) soon started appearing in these early cars and sales dropped dramatically. In 1991 Rover announced that it would no longer sell the cars in the US.

Ironically, Sterling's build quality improved each model year and by the time Rover pulled the plug on the car it was a fairly well built automobile (although still not up to German or Japanese standards)

This car offered on eBay is a later, rarer hatchback. This car, to my eyes, is far superior in looks and practicality than the Sterling 825, a traditional 4 door car with a trunk. It also has the the 2.7 liter version of the Honda / Acura engine instead of the 2.5

It's a California car and the seller states it has no rust, but needs paint (sun fade being common in CA). He also claims it just passed CA emissions testing and mentions the the A/C does NOT blow cold air.

Drivetrain parts for this car can be found at Acura dealers. Other parts are a little tougher, but not impossible.

The seller states in his ad that this car is a "possible collector car down the road". I doubt that, but it's still a cool car to own if you're looking for a unique and beautiful car with all the traditional virtues (and a few of the vices) of a big British sedan.

Click here to check out this Sterling 827SLi on eBay

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