A Pile of Kit: 1980 Sterling Sovran

This next car comes as a tip from Cory who calls it a “very obscure VW based kit car.” But I think this is not as obscure as you might think it is, because DT features Sterlings on a semi-frequent basis…not that that means much. We tend to feature obscure things because familiar things are…well…lame. Give me a Saab 9000 Aero over a Nissan Altima any day of the week, but that’s because I don’t feel the need to ALWAYS reach my destination on time and sometimes destinations change. That weekend trip up the coast might end at your neighbors house, but that dude makes an amazing smoked beef roast that is better than anything. Anyway. Where was I? Oh yeah, find this 1980 Sterling Sovran offered for $1000 in Coatseville, PA via facemelt metaplace.

From the seller:

1980 Volkswagen Beetle
Listed 3 weeks ago in Coatesville, PA
About This Vehicle
Driven 1,000 miles
Automatic transmission
Exterior color: Yellow · Interior color: Yellow
Fuel type: Gasoline
Poor condition
Clean title
This vehicle has no significant damage or problems.

Seller’s Description
Sterling “Sovran” kit car. Aircooled VW based, so it sits on a full length VW pan. No engine, no transmission. This is the #2 Sovran ever built. Not a Sterling, but the next generation of the Sterling. This car was developed sometime in 1981-82 era with the next owners of California Component Cars. As with most kits of the era, the kit industry was taking a hard hit and CCC was no exception. Only 7 of these bodies were made that we know of. Definitely a love/hate relationship – the squared off wheel wells were incongruous with the body shape, but some good things did come from this. First, a revised engine bay, with now more room to fit almost anything up to and including a V6 without trimming any bodywork. The front “frunk” was designed to accommodate a radiator – the “floor” section was removable to be able to fabricate whatever the owner wanted. Second, and most important: the canopy was revised for approximately 2″ more headroom while retaining the original windshield.
I bought this car more or less as an exercise in comparisons for the owner of Sterling Sports Cars. As we both had never seen one in the fiberglass before, we wanted to make the comparisons between models and perhaps integrate some of the relative upgrades into the current classic Sterling (no square wheel wells, thank you).
I know I will never get to this car with my current workload and project load, so it has to go. What you see is what you get – and make no mistake – it’s rough. Right now the body is just set over the chassis (which, actually, is in pretty good shape except for the pans). There are no other parts that go with the car. I can probably negotiate a dashboard and windshield at cost to a prospective buyer. Side windows on this model are slightly larger than the classic Sterling, but can be made to work – I do not have the side glass.
I know I’ll never recoup the cost it took just to buy and transport across the country when I did, so I’ll throw a number out just to start the conversation.
No title, bill of sale only. Pick up only unless you arrange someone to transport – but there isn’t a good way to steer it (no column) and certainly no brakes.
Located in southeastern PA

*description title only for Facebook’s recognition of a vehicle.

There are no parts for this car available anywhere. The only shared parts with the first generation Sterling is the windshield and dashboard. Both of those are available from the company and I will work with a buyer to get them at cost (plus shipping). Figure at least another $1200 in your budget for that. WHAT YOU SEE IS WHAT YOU GET – nothing more. You will need to fabricate an engine cover, or just use the rear deck cover as-is. I can walk through basic set-up on the canopy. I have been in and around Sterling cars for the last 20 years – I have all the info you may need. This is the second out of 7 bodies; 2 are in California, 2 are overseas, one burned to the ground and the last is still unaccounted for. This would make an excellent drag car – total weight as it sits is only about 1300 pounds.

For those messaging about the glass and the expense. Folks… it’s a one-off piece of glass that only fits one car body style in the world. There are only two places in the world that actually make the glass, and they only make short runs every so often, so yes, it’s expensive. This is not a Chevrolet or a Ford. It’s a kit car that takes very specialized items. But hey, at least it’s not an Aztec 7 that takes a Miura windshield at $3K a pop – to put it in perspective.

See a better way to drive something with a wooden engine mount? tips@dailyturismo.com