R: [ROVERNET - UK] British Leyland and SD1

Glen Wilson rovercar at comcast.net
Wed Nov 28 14:58:36 GMT 2007

Alan wrote:
> This show is well known in the UK but it is important not to take it to seriously. It is designed to entertain as well as inform and the presenters (one in particular) are quite outspoken and opinionated.
> Just take it for what it is quite amusing but not really taken seriously.
> Alan Francis (partviking)
Alan is ABSOLUTELY correct in his review of Top Gear. Somehow, the 
absolute craziness of what they do causes me to enjoy the show and keep 
liking the presenters in spite of all the sarcasm.

I hadn't seen all four videos when I forwarded them to the Rovernet, and 
I might not have done so if I had realized how hard they were going to 
be on the SD1.

Gianluca, the SD1 may be less sophisticated that the P6 on PAPER, but I 
can assure you that the handling was excellent, especially for such a 
large vehicle. It was simpler in design due to budget constraints, but 
it really worked on the road. One review said that the SD1 handled like 
an MGB, and I thought that was a pretty good comparison. To me, the 
steering didn't have much road feel, but it was still quick and 
accurate. My SD1 felt like a much smaller car on twisty roads, even with 
elevation changes. Changes in direction were handled very smoothly, and 
the car just seemed to stick to the road. I have only had one experience 
running an SD1 against a P6, and the SD1 simply disappeared from the P6 
in fast corners like approach ramps to interstate highways.
Perhaps the SD1 simply had much better tires on it, but it just seemed 
to really stick to the road.

My only criticism of the SD1 is that the build quality of the few cars 
we got in the USA in 1980-81 was terrible. Far behind the P6 or earlier 
Rovers in this respect. My SD1 had about half an inch of open space 
between the back edge of the front door and the center pillar, and that 
was manufactured in. The exterior paint and the materials used in the 
interior simply didn't hold up. And the SD1 was a very expensive 
automobile when sold in the USA. We never got the later cars over here.

All things considered, I think that Rover did an amazing job on the SD1 
considering the budgetary and design constraints they were working under.


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