Our own Zac Estrada penned a great article last weekend about the Rover SD1, the final Rover-branded car to be sold in America. But while that may have been the company's last hurrah under their own name, the storied British marque had one last go of the Colonies in the late 1980s and early 90s. And it was not pretty.
To make a long story short, Rover had partnered with Honda since the late 70s, and in 1987 they decided to sell their Rover 800 — the replacement for the SD1 that was essentially a re-bodied Acura Legend — in the U.S. under the ultra-tony British-sounding name of Sterling. "Unconvincing" is the operative word here.
The only problem was that although it was mechanically similar to the Legend, it was built at Rover's plant in England, which meant it was a goddamn mess. The car was notoriously unreliable from the start, negating what it is probably the main reason most people buy Hondas. Sterling bowed out in 1991. No one seems to miss it.
I ran across one other Sterling ad, this one from the mid-80s and featuring an investment banker (or an actor playing one at least) who tries to make the case that no one should buy another car until they see the Sterling. I wonder if he kept his job after making that call.
Do any of you have experiences with a Sterling? (No? Didn't think so.)