My Old Rover SD1 3500cc Vanden Plas Efi and its Bright New Future

This is my second Rover SD1 Vdp Efi acquired in '96 and primarily used to keep a "show condition" Twin Plenum Vitesse off the road in winter so it never had the same financial restoration lavished upon it. Never-the-less it was a much loved car served with the same personal care and attention to detail as my Vitesse, it just didn't get much moola to spend. It is a very good example of its type and was extremely reliable. The body color was the rare Eclipse Blue but finished in less durable cellulose when it was eventually resprayed. I got it for a song as a serious MOT failure and immediately transplanted a total brake system from a scrapped donor car, a good ECU plus some other bits, to earn its ticket.

A sound body was the basis of my second rolling restoration but taking cheaper professional bodywork. With leather interior and all its ancilliaries in full working order this comfortable work horse is a worthy example. In 9 yrs it only let me down once due to broken water pump. It also inspired the discovery of a little known anti-stall modification by Rover’s post-sales technicians, as detailed in an essay elsewhere on this site. It also served as a useful comparison vehicle for establishing normal Efi behaviour. The mentioned donor car also yielded up a full set of Rover Efi spares which, at the time, were an invaluable resource for me when diagnosing little understood fuel injection problems, until my knowledge and expertise grew into some sort of competence.

In '05 I sold the car to a fellow in Lincoln who assured me that he was going to further restore it as a family hobby car. Sadly this turned out not to be because a family crisis forced him to let it go. It was off my radar for more than 2 yrs until, out of the blue, it resurfaced under the ownership of Nicholas Bunker who contacted me for more information. I am delighted to hear that despite being found in some sort of scrap yard it was still in fair condition and Nicholas, who intends to reskin the body and use it as a daily driver, has indicated he will keep me informed as the job progresses so I can add his efforts to this (now continuing) story.

 Rover SD1 Vdp Efi - At its best

At it's best

 Rover SD1 Vdp Efi - At its best

Iconic image

 Rover SD1 Vdp Efi - In restoration

In restoration

 Rover SD1 Vdp Efi - New metal

New metal

 Rover SD1 Vdp Efi - Found again

Found again

 Rover SD1 Vdp Efi - A bright new future

A bright new future

 Rover SD1 Vdp Efi - Stunning

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Ramon Alban


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