The Dream Car You’ve Never Heard Of: Rover 3500 SDI Full History — Revelations with Jason Cammisa

The Rover is an enthusiast's dream-come-true: V-8 power, 5-speed, RWD, sports-car handling, supercar looks, racing pedigree, and a hatchback. So why don't you understand it exists?

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You've heard of Land Rover– but who is Rover? Well, very same company, simply . And when Rover was folded, together with Victory, into the dysfunctional British corporation, this is the outcome. The replaced both the Accomplishment 2000 and the Rover 2000, previously direct mid-size sedan competitors.

It utilized Victory construction methods, suspension, transmission, and steering, together with Rover's 3.5-liter all- V-8, which began as the Buick . Its outside styling was straight-up copied … errr … motivated by the Maserati Indy and and BB, within and out.

In addition to immediately winning the desirable 1977 European Vehicle of the Year award, the magazine evaluations were outrageously positive. And after that all of it began to fall apart– literally. The was a victim of 's cost-cutting and inefficient management, and sometimes-hilarious develop quality concerns scarred its reputation.

Nevertheless, as automotive journalist Jason Cammisa points out– the basics were incredible, and there was an open gorge between the Rover's fundamentally (extremely) sound engineering and its inferior construct quality. It made an excellent police vehicle, it made a highly effective racing car, with BSCC, French saloon-car and RAC TT wins, beating even the Mercedes-Cosworth W201 190E 2.3-16 to win the 1986 DTM season.

What follows in this fun, interesting documentary about the history of the Rover SD1, is an incredible story of lovers getting precisely what they wanted– however not quite. The SD1 sold simply 1254 units in The United States and Canada, making it among the rarest cars and trucks ever offered here.

Complete Disclosure: Jason owned one-third of this specific Canadian-spec Rover 3500, discovered thanks to a Carmudgeon Show listener who sent him and Derek the for-sale listing when Jason mentioned it 'd been thirty years, to month, given that he 'd driven one. (And almost as several years because he's been able to thank the owners of that vehicle, which were like household to him.) Jason fell a lot more in love with this vehicle after doing the episode, and is now the sole owner. His neutrality is most certainly jeopardized. Make with this info what you will.

The Dream Car You've Never Heard Of: Rover 3500 SDI Full History — Revelations with Jason Cammisa

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  1. SD1…YES! Can I have a Vitesse please? Bit of an odd ball by some accounts, and unfortunately famously terrible build quality, but I’d still definitely want one in my “lottery win” garage 😋👌🏼

    1. Lol me to. It would never work though, just be the world’s most expensive shed lol!!!Marvellous design though.

    2. The Vitesse was built at Cowley Works, they turned Solihull over to Land Rover. Cowley is now home to the Mini. The 1984 onwards SD1’s were better manufactured.

    1. Funny, the same lad also said it’s like Land Rover making a sports car (in response to the introduction of the Porsche Cayenne) when Land Rover did in fact make a sports car the 3500/SD1.

  2. 2:18 POLAND MENTIONED 🇵🇱😮. Also, as a Pole I always thought it’s just a conciedence that they sound the same and I never knew the origin of this word, thanks for letting me know!

  3. Joke’s on you, Jason, I’ve heard of the car. Not that it helped me in any way in life, but ha, gotcha.

    1. Right? I even know a lot about it. Admittedly a lot of that knowledge comes from the Carmudgeon show though, so…

    2. I too had heard of the Rover 3500 however styling like a Ferrari its body styling was also similar to the Buick Century 4 door Aeroback of the late 70’s, only the Buick was way more successful with its 3.8 litre Turbo V6.

    3. I will never understand what it is with people not understanding that when someone is making a video, they are talking to their *entire* audience, _at once_ . He was not saying that _you_ specifically had never heard of it, he was saying that most of the people that will end up watching the video overall_ , probably haven’t heard of it. I’m sure he knows that a lot of his viewers know about it from Top Gear, but this show is meant to be as much for subscribers like us as it is meant to be for any non-car people who simply had a personal connection with this car, or were curious b/c they hadn’t head of it before, and decided to watch the video.

    4. @@moogle68 did you ever hear of…. jokes? 🤦🏻‍♂️🤦🏻‍♂️🤦🏻‍♂️🤦🏻‍♂️🤦🏻‍♂️🤦🏻‍♂️

    1. I dunno… for me, he comes off as a bit smug, with an inflated opinion of his own sense of humor. Did you see the recent thing he did with Jay Leno on the Sciroco II? He was trying SO HARD to show Leno that he was funny that it was uncomfortable to watch.
      I think Catchpole, Harris, Metcalf, the Number 27 guy, and their ilk are all much better than Camisa.

  4. “Never heard of” is a very bold statement given 90%+ of Hagerty’s audience has seen Top Gear’s British Leyland challenge back in the day.

    1. Somehow the V8 Rover SD1 with supposed racing pedigree was beaten around a track by a poxy little Datsun 120y

    2. Exactly this. We are mostly car nerds and most of us know the SD1. Doug DeMuro does this too sometimes and it is maddening 😄😄

    3. Yet he claims the Renault and Austin were the first 5 door hatches, completely ignoring the Kaiser Traveler from over a decade earlier. Audience knows more about obscure cars than Jason

  5. My dad was a pursuit drive for the Metropolitan Police in the 80’s and 90’s – these cars always arrived in ‘poverty spec’ for interior, but the engines were far from normal. This was at a time the police had their own mechanics and garages and BOUGHT rather than leased vehicles. The mechanics always fitted uprated suspension and brakes, the engines came as a 3.5Litre twin plenum EFi from the factory but they’d all get bored out, higher lift cams and custom exhausts fitted, at least for vehicles doing pursuit jobs.

    They were so popular that in 1986 when Rover announced they were discontinuing the SD1’s, Police forces all over the UK placed MASSIVE orders to keep their fleets going for a few more years. Even in the 90’s, these cars were still around. They have legendary status here for sure 🙂

    1. @marcusjosefsson4998  these days I bet the long for the T5’s again. BMWs seem to spontaneously catch fire…

    2. Hi , also the Met bought up , I did see 15 of those sun a lock up whilst I worked for the Met, also they bought up van den plas models , the public complained so our work shop removed the badges . Regards mark

    3. @@marcusjosefsson4998 they went from the SD1 to the twin cam Sierra sapphires – ford was very large supplier to the force. Then it became a “service” and the volvo t5 came in.

  6. Back in 1998, this was my first car – in this exact color (aquamarine). Paid the equivalent of $400 for it at the time – absolutely loved it. About 15 years ago I spotted it parked up on the street, fully restored and repainted.

  7. My grand mother was a mechanic during WW2, she would always say that Rovers were her favourite cars to work on.

  8. My Mom had a Silver Van Den Plus manual and she diced every available dude at every traffic light that was willing. She was in her mid 50’s then…. good memories. But, the electric sunroof was impossable to open or close when the headlights was on. Power steering pump to be replaced every year basically.

  9. I’ve never smiled ear to ear through an entire video before, let alone for a car I’ve literally never heard about. Thank you Jason, ans the team that made this video possible. You are all national treasures!

  10. I 100% was not expecting an insurance brand to produce something this beautifully written and produced.

  11. Great review. I was the Technical Editor of Motor magazine in the UK when the SD1 was launched. We had high hopes but low expectations, a skepticism only enforced when I wound down the driver’s window at the press launch and the glass dropped out of its channel and disappeared. But it was powerful, remarkably light and spacious and, by the standards of the time, exemplary handling. So when I was invited to be one of the factory drivers of the racing versions of the SD1 in the 1980 British Saloon Car Championship I jumped at the chance. It was a challenging year developing the car as was 1981 too. The Vitesse resulted from lessons learned in those two years, including the massive rear spoiler and the fuel injected engine: this is the one to get (if you can). The irony is that I now have a 1992 Morgan Plus 8 with that same V8 and gearbox. And there is a cottage industry in the UK with all sorts of solutions to liberate horsepower and better drivability from the Rover V8, including the Range Rover and all the Land Rover variants.

    1. …and you raced it well too Rex in the British Touring Car Championship! Great to see you adding insights from someone who has such experiences! My father bought a Vitesse. Win on Sunday sell on Monday…not least as it replaced a 2.8 Capri!

    2. @@housey4297 The Capri 2.8. That was a tough little German import that we, as young drivers in the mid 70s, could thrash around with abandon. Fun stuff.

  12. Revelations is such a good series, and Jason is one the best out there. Only he could make a 20 minute video about the SD1 so watchable.. This was so well put together.

  13. I saw a Rover 3500 for the first time in Amsterdam last week, guy owns it 23 years now, looked in perfect condition, I was stunned when I saw it. What a beautiful design!

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