Thursday, April 25, 2019

1991 Sterling 827SL

I really like Rover's sedans. I even owned an SD1 (called the 3500 in the U.S.). It was comfortable, fast, well equipped, and, believe it or not, reliable.

My experience wasn't typical, though. Rover cars were not known for their reliability. So, when I heard that Rover was going to sell a car based in part on the Acura Legend, I was psyched. It would have the traditional style and class of a British sedan and the reliability of a Honda. How could they fail?

But, fail they did. They somehow managed to build a car that - as a JaCG reader once put it - had the build quality of a British car and the soul of a Japanese appliance.

Introduced in 1987 as the 825, it used Honda's 2.5 liter 6 cylinder engine. In 1989 Sterling started using Honda's 2.7 liter version of the engine and the car was renamed the 827.

Sterling sales started off pretty sterling (sorry) with over 14,000 finding homes in the U.S. when it debuted in 1987. By 1991 sales had dropped to 2745 and Rover / Sterling left the U.S. market. 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. (In 1989 Sterling started offering a hatchback version of the car which looked a lot like an updated SD1. Personally, I prefer that over the sedan.)

This car is one of the 2745 that found homes in Sterling's last year. The ad is vague, the seller only saying that it runs good and the body is good, but it "needs upholstery work." That's a little scary, as the Sterling came with Connolly leather seats, which would not be cheap to reupholster. Unfortunately, the seller shows no pictures of the interior. Most of the Sterling's mechanical parts are shared with the Legend and are still very easy to find. The parts that are not made by Honda are getting tough to find, but not impossible. There is a Rover 800 (which is what this car was called in the rest of the world) owners club, that can be helpful in locating Rover / Sterling specific parts. Also, Sterling Fixer here in the U.S. seems to still have quite a bit of parts for sale.

The asking price of $1000.00. If it runs and looks like the seller says it does, that's a bit of a bargain for a cool and somewhat rare car. Throw a set of seat covers on it drive it everyday.

Located in Bronx, NY, click here to see the Facebook Marketplace ad.

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