Nice Price Or Crack PipeIs this used car a good deal? You decide!  

Imagine if you will Japanese mechanical reliability mated to veddy British sense and sensibility. Okay, now imagine owning today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe 1989 Sterling 827SLi, because that’s just what it aspired to provide. Sure, it failed to do so, but perhaps this one’s price will provide some value.

So far this week we’ve had nothing but red rotary roadsters, both Mazda and Maxton. And while Monday’s Miata got to do the Nice Price dance, a narrow 52% of you felt the Rollerskate’s substantially higher price meant that it needed to sit this one out.

If you have ever seen Dancing With The Stars, or Britain’s Strictly Come Dancing (who thought up that name?!) upon which it is based, then you will know that those shows like to match up incongruous celebrities with professional partners. Similarly, back in the ‘80s, Honda partnered with Britain’s Rover for a hot tango and as a result birthed, among others, the Legend and 800-series cars.

This 1989 827 SLi is about the ultimate expression of the Rover offspring as was sold in America. Here it went by the Sterling name as Rover had forever been tainted in the Colonies by poor quality and its obvious use as a dog’s name. The 27 portion of this Sterling's model name denotes the larger, 2.7-litre Honda V6 used in the later models, and while most Sterlings sold in the US came with autos, this one happens to be one of the rare and desirable 5-speed editions. Jolly Good!


It should be noted that this particular car is not presently advertised online, it was something I stumbled upon at a recent Los Angeles-area British Car show. It also bears mention that it is this very same Arizona car, only now vastly improved by the application of California plates.

The car presently has 125,000 miles on it clock and looks to be in really decent shape for a 24 year old car, and especially good for a Sterling of that age. The seller notes in his windshield ad that the plastic composite headlights that came with the car and typically turn miasmic have been replaced with the glass units that the Europeans enjoy.


The remainder of the body appears remarkably rust-free, with the exception of some surface browning around the inside of the sunroof opening which might get bad over time if not addressed. There's also those dumb-ass wheels which look as inappropriate in person as they do in pictures. Blame the previous owner, whom the seller describes as functionally insane.

Other issues noted by the seller are a sagging headliner, slow passenger side window, issues with the HVAC, and the fact that the stereo and side view mirrors are showing solidarity with their British union workers by presently being on strike. Oh, and the car has evil mouse belts rather than airbags because the British hate Americans.


On the positive side, there’s a butt-load of new parts on the Honda mill- stuff of course that’s still relatively obtainable. Other parts are far less so these days, and it should be noted that while sharing drivetrains and basic platforms with Honda’s Legend, the remainder of the Sterling was all British. That, you know, means that it has ephemeral durability and the potential for even the most basic of parts to fail at the most inopportune time.

Britain may have given the world the Iron Lady, but they also gave us Lucas electrics. Still, I have owned more British cars in my life than any other nation’s, and in fact have a pair sitting in the garage at the moment. With its long lean hatchback lines and leather and wood interior, there’s something about the 827 that’s an undeniable draw, sort of like the siren’s song luring sailors to their doom. But still- pretty, pretty.


And at $3,495 not something that’ll break the bank either - or so it may seem. As with any older car, and particularly those built by a people who take pride in standing up to adversity, you know that amount is just the price of admission. There’s still a two-drink minimum with which to contend, and who knows what kind of damage that’ll do to your wallet.

Regardless, we’re here only to weigh in on the cost to buy, and as such what do you think about this 827 SLi’s $3,495 price? Does that have you saying here Rover, good boy? Or, is that just too many pounds Sterling?

You decide!


See the windshield ad here.

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