Well, I wasn’t expecting that! An 1984 (or thereabouts) Rover 2600S, in a small French town, clearly a local daily driver, for an elderly lady. And a tow bar!
How many Rover SD1s does one see in daily service in the UK?
Theres one of these 2600s alive locally it used the P76 6 cylinder engine an awfull thing to have I’d prefer the V8 or the diesel.
Certain regional variants used the P76 2600 engine, but UK production used a brand new six, based loosely on the old Triumph push-rod six. This engine was probably inferior to the P76 engine – there were certainly reliability issues.
I understand the only factory tooling for the P76’s 2600 six was in Leyland Australia’s factory, and following that plant’s closure the tooling was sent to Leyland South Africa. The South African SD1 then used that 2600 engine instead of the completely unrelated Triumph-based 2600 the rest of the world got. We do have a smattering of South African imports here, so it’s not unlikely that the SD1 Bryce saw is one of them. The NZ-new SD1s all had the UK 2600 though – I believe it’s more powerful and economical than the P76 2600. But let’s face it, the only engine to have in an SD1 is the 3500!
VERY unlikely that a Leyland P76 engined Rover ever made it to NZ, Bryce. Maybe as a South African immigrant’s “baggage car”?
Rover 2600s were rare here anyway – released much later and with little reason to choose them over a V8.
The P76 six cylinder was an Austin Tasman / Kimberley 2.2 litre BMC E-series (same as the Wolseley Six/ Princess ‘wedge’) engine enlarged to 2623 cc. Yes the “Red Six” was also installed in the Marina with interesting results.
As mentioned below, the Rover 2600 is completely unrelated: it is a 2597cc BL designed unit. In standard (no pun intended) Leyland style it started as an update of the Standard-Triumph 2000 six and ended up almost new (and troublesome).
I live in central London and I haven’t seen an SD1 in years. They might be more common outside the metropolis, but they’re certainly not a regular sight anywhere.
Lovely car. Us yanks usually have to be reminded that the SD came in versions other than the 3500, as that’s the only model that ever came over here.
Always see some Austin-Rover product in France, clearly sold in non-trivial quantities and presumably not just to expats
Driving a foreign made car in either France or Germany was seen as being very chique.
I once spotted an elderly lady in Germany on the autobahn in a black on black Series III Jag in mint, really stunningly mint condition. A V12 with Berlin (B for Berlin on German plates) 300 miles away from home. She was doing a 110 k/ph maybe 120 in her Jag, looking relaxed and a very, very chique combo !
A long time since I’ve seen one on the road,there’s the odd one turns up at shows.The V8 was much more popular with restorers.One of my brother’s friends had a 2600 like this which he used to tow a trailer with his drag bike on,he didn’t have it long enough for the problems to appear.For some reason I’ve got a strange interest in this engine in the Australian Marina despite Bryce’s warnings of a rubbish engine in a crap car with awful handling
Fast in a straight line but thats about all very very few survive, very few were sold new nobody wanted one it was the worst attempt at big motor small car tries in OZ.
“rubbish engine in a crap car with awful handling.” Damn, wheres the love?
It has to have some good in it for people to have bought it.
Looks in good nick for a British car in rural France – facing up to the two biggest challenges to motoring longevity on record
Still see the odd SD1 in daily use here; numbers are dropping though. Most are the 3500, but I did see a 2600 recently. Even more rare, someone had one of the 2.0L 4 cylinder ones for sale earlier this year – not a lot of engine for a car that size!
I think the SD1 facelift is one of the best looking cars ever, it certainly features in my top 5 cars-to-own-one-day list – and I would use it daily if I did own one (assuming the a/c and electrics were home that day!)
The SD1 Rover 2000 wasn’t any slower than the original, I suppose, but it wasn’t especially quick for an early ’80s exec.
Werent these an inch shorter on one side or something crazy?
Don’t know but the Renault 16 from a few weeks ago definitely is
that was deliberate
My 80+ year old neighbour has one (we never mention ladies real age now do we)
One owner 3500 Vandenplas with period correct sunroof and Philips turn-o-lock stereo.
It’s a series two car -like this French one- with the amber front indicator lenses and yeah folks a COMPUTER !
The computer is what we now call trip meter, it gives you average speed, fuel consumption and so on.
It also has cruise control, a fantastic gadget back in the eighties.
I have the honour of taking it out sometimes for a spin, sunroof open and let the V8 rumble softly.
She has to sit on a cushen (she’s so small) and uses it to go to church and to visit her sister who lives nearby.
I clean out the wheelarches and inspect the oil and coolant on the car.
You know guys, it is wonderfull to have such neighbours, she’s always nice and friendly and in winter I sometimes do her shopping (stores are behind our house on the Dijk of course )
These are loved in the Netherlands, a friend of mine who owns a FIAT dealership has a white Vandenplas and one of the State MOT inspectors (who visit garages at random after they MOT’ed a car) drives one as a daily driver, a 3500 Vitesse.
The front was actually designed with the Ferrari Daytona in mind …..true yeah true !
Our neighbour was a company director and got a 3500 as a company car – lovely motor when it was brand new. Then when he had to get a newer model he got a 2600, which he was always very regretful of.
About 10 years later I was working in a factory, alongside a forklift driver called “Nick the Prick”. He bought a nice-looking 3500 that was gorgeous to be in, but was endless trouble. Getting it through an MOT was a nightmare, and I think he eventually gave up and just drove it around unregistered for a year or two. Burnt about a pint of oil a day, so you always knew when he had arrived in the carpark.
I’d have a well-maintained one to polish and show anyday, but I wouldn’t have one as a daily driver.
I used to go by one of these parked curbside on my way to work each morning, a near-mint 3500 in pale yellow with “SD 1” as part of the license plate number. One day, it was gone, and then I changed my route. I just spotted it again about a week ago though, parked just a few blocks over. Seeing that handsome rare beast again really made my day.
A German car magazine tested a 2600 back then.
It did not run properly.
They went back and forth to the dealers, but it did not run properly.
They then decided to have the cylinder headpulled and found -to their horror- that something went wrong with the boring of the cylinders in the engine and that they replaced one piston with the piston of a V6 Peugeot 604 engine
On a brand new delivered car !
I see one every now and again but they’re not exactly common fare any more. Then again, what saloon from this era is?
I rather like the SD1, although similar to everyone else I’d prefer a V8 version.
What I’d really like to do with an SD1 six is put one in a TR6.
In the stock tune and format, they’re pretty inferior to the old Triumph 6 in almost every way, but with some fettling I reckon they could outpace the older engine.
Bore out the oil channels in the head to solve the starvation issues, install a hotter cam, run it on either triple Webers or fuel injection. I reckon you could get a good 190-200bhp out of a hot-rod version (even more if you bore it out to 3.0l), which is difficult to achieve on the old 2.5.
The only thing I can’t find data on is the weight. The old 6 is about 180kg, and what little info I can find points towards the SD1 6 being about that too but I’m not certain.
you probably never had a TR6 PI with a special SAH exhaust system, injection tuned fine and a Bosch pump replacing the nackered Lucas one.
Then you need a V8 like a tooth ache.
Damn shame this car was so poorly built, as they sure were good looking when new. Pity…
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