1981 Rover 3500
Year of manufacture1981
A truly unique showroom fresh motor car of impeccable history and condition.
Styled as ‘New Tradition' by Rover at its launch in 1976, the Rover 3500 "Specialist Division One" took the motoring press by storm, winning the European Car of the Year title in 1977. The SD1 can be considered as the last "true" Rover, being the final Rover-badged vehicle to be produced at Solihull, as well as being the last to be designed largely by ex-Rover Company engineers and also the final Rover car to be fitted with the legendary Rover V8 engine.
An example such as this 1981 Vanden Plas come so rarely to market that we are delighted to offer it for sale. The original owner paid £13,000 for the car which, being a Vanden Plas, came loaded with the full spectrum of the Rover option lists; central locking, electric sunroof, cruise control, alloy wheels, extra chrome trim and more. Finished in Pharaoh Gold, the owner's wife disliked leather and thus the interior was trimmed in a special order gold flecked ‘dark chocolate' corduroy velour. Disappointed with the part exchange values offered by main dealers at the time, in 1981 and after covering just 13,000 miles the owner drained the fluids and put it up on blocks, where it remained, sheathed in a protective cover until the end of last year.
Such is the importance of this particular car, Jack Grover of Car and Classic Magazine did a road test on it in February 2014. We bow to his skills as a motoring journalist and here are a few selected quotes from his article, which can be viewed via PDF by kind permission of Car and Classic Magazine.
"This is, effectively, an 11-month old Rover SD 1. This means that this is in many ways not a road test of a classic, but of a brand new car."
"Opening the door the immediate impression is how new everything feels and smells. There is none of the dusty odours of a well-worn car interior, just the lingering whiff of fresh plastic and glue. The seats and carpets still feel crisp and the acres of chocolate brown softtouch plastic are unfaded..."
"Given the Rover's wide-ranging design I was wondering what sort of driving character it would have - sporty or luxurious? The answer is an amazing blend of the two. The quality of the ride is probably the best I have experienced on a classic car. In terms of bump absorption and smoothness it's on a par with a hydropneumatic Citroën, but it totally lacks the wallow and float that is a characteristic of such cars."
"I feel very fortunate to drive it as it provides such a perfect way to see the SD1 at its best, a world-beating piece of automotive design."
This golden behemoth is presented today as is it did in 1981, as such there are some factory-related blemishes to the paintwork but with recent recommissioning bills, an extensive history file with original documentation and an MoT, this example deserves the credit. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity, the Holy Grail for any Rover enthusiast.