When you are down on your luck and things don’t look good, call a successful friend. That’s what British Leyland did in the 1980’s when they struck up a partnership to build cars in the European Union with Honda of Japan. BL hoped to build cars that would lift up its sagging image and Honda would be able to get around import restrictions imposed by the EU. One of the resulting cars was the Rover 800, sold as the Sterling here in the US. Find this 1989 Sterling 827SL for sale in Sequim, WA for $2,900 via craigslist.
The Sterling 827 or Rover 800 everywhere else, was based on the Acura (Honda) Legend. In the US it was only available with the same 2.7L Honda V-6 that also powered the Legend. The SOHC 24 valve engine put out 170 hp to the front wheels through an auto box. This example has seen 99K miles pass under it’s chassis, and has been helped along by a Sterling specialist in PA.
When the Sterling hit the market in the US in 1987, it sold around 14,000 copies, cuz who wouldn’t want the old world charm of a veddy British sedan with reliable Japanese mechanicals. Unfortunately, somehow Honda was convinced to use Lucas electrics and you can guess the rest. Bad JD Powers numbers killed the brand’s momentum and they limped on for another couple of years before receding from the market. Our car has a replacement stereo, but still has the groovy late 80’s computer. I’d set it to Imperial and drive over the unwashed masses.
I have to believe the rear wing was added later in life, I can’t see it leaving the UK with that thing on it. I wonder if the British trunk springs can hold it up?
See another example of a partnership that looked good on paper? email us here: firstname.lastname@example.org
Gianni, blah, blah, blah…