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Sold Rover 3500 SD1 Series 1 1979

Rover 3500 SD1 Series 1 1979



Rover SD1 is both the code name and eventual production name given to a series of executive cars built by British Leyland, under the Rover marque. It was produced through its Specialist, Rover Triumph and Austin Rover divisions from 1976 until 1986, when it was replaced by the Rover 800. The SD1 was marketed under various names including Rover 3500, Rover 2300 and Rover Vitesse. In 1977 it won the European Car of the Year title.

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 Rover V8 engine.

In 1971, Rover, at that time a part of the British Leyland (BL) group, began developing a new car to replace both the Rover P6 and the Triumph 2000/2500. The designers of both Triumph and Rover submitted plans for the new car, of which the latter was chosen. David Bache was to head the design team, inspired by exotic machinery such as the Ferrari Daytona and the late 1960s design study by Pininfarina for the BMC1800, which also guided the design of the Citroen CX. Spen King was responsible for the engineering. The two had previously collaborated on the Range Rover. The project was first code-named RT1 (for Rover Triumph Number 1) but then soon changed to SD1 (for Specialist Division Number 1) as Rover and Triumph were put in the new "Specialist Division" of British Leyland.


  • This is the 2nd car that came out from the Nelson factory in New Zealand. We understand that it was initially owned by New Zealand Motor Corporation as a demonstrator but never actually used as a demonstrator.
  • Meticulously maintained throughout its life by its original owner who purchased new in 1979 and sold the car in 2001 to its second owner, only for the original owner to buy the car back from the second owner of five years in 2007.
  • Please note that car shows four (4) owners on NZTA records. One should here note that three of these ownership records refer to the original owner so this car has had two (2) owners since new, not four, with the original owner owning it for almost 30 years.
  • It recently had new rear shocks and springs done by British classic car specialists in Christchurch.
  • Car is immaculate and most certainly one of the finest examples of this model still in existence that came out of the Nelson factory.
  • This car is part of New Zealand's motoring history and its condition is a credit to its original owner – a true to the core car enthusiast.
  • Body and paint in perfect condition.
  • Original interior like new (new hood lining). 
  • Everything works as it should.
  • Boot, engine bay, undercarriage all very clean.
  • Good rubbers throughout.
  • Good tires – front brand new.
  • Highly recommended classic and hard to fault.
  • The car has certainly survived much better than most. It is arguably the best NZ assembled SD1 in the country. Not easy to find one maintained in this condition.

The V8 installation in the SD1 was the best of all the combinations used...even better than the P6B.

A great feature of the SD1 is the boot area...size and versatility.  We have included some photos of this area with the boot boards in place and then removed to show both the condition and vastness of the area. When the rear seat back is folded down the space is even more impressive.  With the boot boards removed and the spare wheel secured upright on the left hand side you can fit just about anything. 

It has had three visible upgrades from when it left the line...The full bonnet badge (replacing the skeletal original) and the fitment of the left hand mirror (only the driver's was fitted at Nelson in the early days). It also had a later version (Series 2) stainless steel exhaust fitted to it for better quality and performance. Also, in the photo of the under bonnet data panel there is under seal on the underside of the bonnet...again this has been done after delivery...the factory left them painted.

The first three SD1's that came out of the Nelson factory were Signal red (as this car) and the next 3 cars or so were Sandglow, then the other colours in their turn, as the painters became more familiar with the body shell. It was considered that red was quite a forgiving colour whilst learning remembering that Triumph had been the familiar shell at the factory for so many years.

The chassis number shown on NZTA records is incorrect...this is because it was probably not fully recorded at the time of original registration...it should be  800 0002 579N, which is the number stamped into the air intake panel on the drivers side visible when the bonnet is opened. The 002 portion indicates the second unit produced...the HE 003 stenciled onto the right hand suspension tower (as shown in photo) was put on as the car left the colour oven and this often does not match the body stamping...this is purely human error from misreading the production schedule instead of looking closely at the body stamping. 

The SD1 had the most intensive operator training program prior to production and the introduction was very smooth because of this early training

These are great cars and starting to get a bit thin on the ground. From an enthusiasts point of view, we feel that the time is ripe for these classics to come out of the closet and start being cherished for what they truly are – appreciating assets.

Car will be sold WOF'd and Registered.



This vehicle has been sold

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DISCLAIMER (Please Read)


Waimak Classic Cars accepts that the vehicle being sold must be of “acceptable quality” in terms of section 7 of the Consumer Guarantees Act 1993 (the Act) having regard to “the nature of the goods”.

Waimak Classic Cars is not aware of any specific defects with the vehicle, however (a) such a vehicle being a classic vehicle may have mechanical breakdowns, electrical failures at inconvenient times and maintenance costs being part of and parcel of ownership of a classic car; (b) reliability is a combination of the particular nature of the classic vehicle, how it is being driven, how it has been maintained, and to a certain extent luck.

The Purchaser acknowledges that the vehicle is being sold as a classic car; that in terms of the Act and the nature of the goods, the vehicle, is an old car that may have faults, unlike a modern motor vehicle.

The Purchaser is encouraged to personally fully inspect the vehicle and/or to have the vehicle inspected, fully assessed and maintained by an experienced classic car mechanic.

The Purchaser acknowledges that they have read and fully understand this notification and the nature of a car which is many years old.

For more information about this vehicle, please contact us Monday to Friday between 9:00am and 6:00pm (New Zealand Standard Time) on +64 (0) 3 310-6485 / +64 (0) 274 990-020. Alternatively, you may email us at info@waimakclassiccars.co.nz anytime.

PLEASE NOTE: Waimak Classic Cars is Not a car yard dealer type of operation. As a result, we do not operate through fixed opening hours and viewing is By Appointment Only.