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These Commercials Probably Didn't Convince Anyone To Buy A Sterling

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.

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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.

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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.)

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DISCUSSION

texturedsoyprotein
Textured Soy Protein

When I was a kid, my dad had an '88 Sterling 825SL. I thought it was so cool because the power seat controls were on the center console and laid out in a diagram corresponding to the shape of the seat. Kinda like how vent controls point at a diagram of a person. It's the grouping of buttons just forward of the armrest in this pic. It also had power adjustable back seats. 6 year-old gearhead me was blown away by power back seats.

It was completely unreliable and he replaced it with a mechanically-identical (but made in Japan) '90 Acura Legend LS coupe. Which 8 years later became my first car.