As requested by Trigger, here's a thread for my Rover SD1. Apologies for length etc...
When my first car (a Volvo 340) was written off just before I passed my test, I set about looking for a replacement. Naturally at 19 insurance on anything interesting was prohibitively expensive and my choices seemed limited to boxes of mediocrity with suitably weedy engines, which at the time didn't appeal. I then began looking admiringly at Rover SD1s, and decided that a Vitesse would be an ideal first car. Unfortunately the insurance companies said no to a Vitesse, but for the Vanden Plas EFi (which shares the same fuel injected V8 but with 3-speed auto as standard), the prices were lower than those for Fiesta 1.4s and the like. Naturally my mind was made up.
Eventually what seemed the perfect car came up on eBay. Originally an Austin Rover press car, it had been purchased by a professor at one year old and he kept it for the next 24 years. The current owner had owned the car for a year, and made some rather bold claims about its condition which I naturally believed at the time (because I'm an idiot). Ultimately I put in the winning bid and the car was mine, sight unseen, and the seller agreed to deliver the car to me.
Initial impressions were slightly spoiled when the seller came to my door and announced the car had broken down just outside my house, and I saw my new car for the first time dead at the side of the road. Still, apart from this, the body and interior looked to be in perfect condition, there were two large briefcases full of service history on the passenger seat and a boot full of spares. Having identified the failure to proceed as fuel pump related, the seller gave me a discount and with that he was on his way.
It soon became clear that the professor who'd previously had the car had spent rather a lot of money on it: it had had every panel replaced and a full bare metal respray carried out a few years before; the underside had more rustproofing than paint applied to it; much had been spent at electrical and fuel system experts to ensure that all the electrics and the troublesome Lucas fuel injection worked properly (and they did) and everything that had ever needed doing had been done, no matter how expensive. Surely this was the best (i.e. most functional) SD1 in the world?
Unfortunately a few months after the purchase this proved not to be the case. Pulling up at traffic lights, the engine cut out and any attempts to re-start it resulted in the most horrible, piercing screeching sounds imaginable. Towed back to the garage, it was found that the one garage it had been taken to for much of its life hadn't really cared much for what they were doing, and various bits of debris from other parts of the engine had managed to find their way into the cylinders, melting and in the process siezing the engine. Wanting it back on the road, I coughed up the Ã‚Â£1000 to have the engine rebuilt by a highly recommended guy who built Porsche engines for a living.
All was well for a few months until one day the engine stopped running properly. After having the AA out to rescue me three times in one day, the source of the problem turned out to be my specialist Porsche engine builder fucking up my engine almost beyond economic repair. The job he'd done was a bad 'un, perhaps topped off by the incorrect piston rings being fitted thereby causing some drastic scoring to the bores. So, engine rebuild no.2 appeared on the horizon, together with a refurbishment of the cooling system for good measure.
The Rovah then gave me a year's faithful service before it became clear that more work was going to be needed: the suspension was knackered; a hole had been drilled in the diff housing for seemingly no reason, so due to fluid starvation the diff would now need replacing and the rear axle would require a rebuild; and the exhaust and manifolds would need to be replaced. At the time I simply didn't have the money to do all this, and so the SD1 was laid up until I had the financial wherewithal to get the work done.
And so it sat for a year. SD1s are designed to use airflow on the move to dry themselves out to avert rust. Mine naturally hadn't been able to do so, so replacement of the sills has become necessary alongside the other work, but recomissioning is well under way and my spanner guy reckons it should be back on the road fairly soonish. I shall update the thread as I go along when this happens, perhaps even doing a HubNut-style video review when it's back on the road. It'll make a change to be using it rather than fixing it for once!