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Lord Sterling's motors - A Jag, then a Vauxhall...

Lord Sterling

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I would have minded, I was hoping to meet more people. I did wonder if you were there, I met Rob T, Six-Cylinder and Anthony G of whom were chauffered around the field in the warm Sterling, I also briefly met Dollywobbler.


It was great to meet you guys, hopefully I shall make it to Shitefest if the Sterling doesnt do the inevitable.


John, Cats, honestly, you guys are more than welcome, even if I am having a conversation, at least I know yiu are around so I can meet you guys. I am sorry I didn't catch you.

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Good to meet you Lord S! I can confirm that the Sterling is a very nice place to be, particularly when sheltering from cold Midlands rain, and the heater is very toasty indeed :D

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Despite the fact that it still works, the KV6 Sterling has been looking pretty sorry for itself, it had a embarrassingly wob laden wing on one side badly sprayed up and the rear bumper was previously a Red bumper that had been badly sprayed with a rattle can, the paint was shrinking showing the old Red paint underneath. The windows/sunroof/seats only worked when they felt like it, which was most of time but I wanted them to work all of the time. So.....


A few days ago, my old mate Brad contacted me to say there was a late Grey coloured 800 being broken up somewhere in Warwickshire, not wanting to miss out on this opportunity of correctly coloured parts, contact was made, parts listed and a price agreed.


Whilst awaiting this I got to work on changing a recent ebay purchase, the fusebox for the 800, these are pretty well known to cause electrical maladies, so changing it was on the cards. the job was a little fiddly and I did often catch my hands on sharp plastic edges, but nontheless, I got it changed over and the results were all electrical things working all of the time:




Saturday rolls around, I eventually get up and make contact to the seller, no answer, I wait half an hour and try again, still no answer, so I call and call, just as I give up the seller calls me back, relief, I tell him that I would be at his location within an hour. Big mistake. My usual ShatNav decided to freeze a few months ago so I thought I could rely on my phone, only, I found out that I couldnt, the bastard thing just wouldn't locate. I tried to find the address through the phone which constantly gcoming back with 'location not found' I was parked up at the services and even used thier free wifi to no avail either! :evil:


So I was stuck, I hadnt actually planned my journey properly and my money was dwindling fast. I decided to invest £8.50 in a map of Warwickshire, fat lot of help that was, I ended up getting lost in the middle of Coventry and I was ready to explode. I couldn't make heads or tails of the location as it was always on the edge of the map in some obscure location called Napton, had I known it was North, South, West or whatever of Coventry I wouldnt have had too much of a problem.


However, with the help of luck, intuition, and a load of phone calls to the lad (who was helpfully on his way to Wales) I managed to get there, 3 hours after I'd left home. And yes, it really was in the middle of nowhere, in some obscure 'more spartan than 'Emmerdale farm' like location, so remote for most of the day I was there I could only hear sheep and goats.


The 800 being broken was in a yard full of shipping containers in which anyone could rent, there were people dotted about and a couple of garages at the top of the yard, one does bodywork and the other specialised in Morris Minors. Near the main gates next to some containers was the car I would be taking parts off:








The car is a Rover 825Si manual. Clean on the outside, f*cking filthy on the inside. The story was (although it might not make sense as I wasnt told the full story very clearly, I will find out though) was the owner, an elderly chap decided to live in the car with his cat (which explains why there was cat litter on the carpet) strangely enough, despite living in the car, he had quite a bit of money. I guess maybe he didn't want to live there after his sister passed away or something, or the house was probably sold off by himself hence living in the car.


Anyhow, despite living in the car in a layby, he was eventually found and put in a home, his possessions were put into one of the containers and the car was left in the yard for a few years until the yard owner decided to sell the car as the old boy passed away and I assume he no next of kin.


Its amazing to think how some people end up. He obviously lived happily in a house up to some point in which he decided to take himself and his cat live in a car in a layby.


The car itself originally came from Quicks of Coventry Rover. The car seems to have been sold second hand sometime in late 2009 as there is a hand-written document stating SOLD AS SEEN. Dont know who was selling and who bought, I assume the guys who are breaking the car now.


I dont like breaking cars, I wish I had more money, I would have loved to have bought this and put it back on the road (stripping out the interior of course) but I am extremely barrasic and have no space, and my Sterling was desperately in need of new panels and what have you.


So, to work I got robbing what I could from the car, the seller Dad and owner of the yard rolled by to pick up the money, he was the one who told me about the car and its owner and why it was so filthy inside, he also told about the yard, it used to be a coal yard until that went, then he invested in a laod of containers, plonked them in his yard and rented them out, the larger units got rented to various businesses on the site.


Eventually I got the 2 wings, rear bumper and a few little bits and bobs my car was missing. Around 7.30 in the evening I was all packed up and ready to go. I had changed the rear bumper off my car and left my old one there as I had no use for it and could really be bothered to fit it in my car.


I came away with 2 completely rust free wings, a rear bumper and a bootlid.


This morning I woke up, got washed and dressed and straight away went out to work on the car, I intended only to change the drivers side front wing as that one was horribly corroded with a load of wob just smashed in:





Anyhow, wing was taken off and just how much wob was in it became apparent:




I smashed the wob out and this is how much left there was of the wing:




Anyway, after a lot of swearing and trying to fit this new bastard wing in, I got it in:






I also managed to fit a spare foglight on as the drivers side one didnt seem very interested in working:




I also managed to grab this plastic finisher thing before I left the broken car:




Despite the new parts the Sterling was looking a little sorry for itself so off for a good wash it went:












The drivers side speaker decided it was going to be difficult and not work at all. After I dropped Ma off, I got back home and whipped the door card off, jiggled a few wires and replaced a few screws and all is well again, I can now listen to Classic FM/Radio 4 in full symphony again.


Apart from the slightly blowing exhaust, all is pretty much well now in the land of Mo and his KV6 Sterling.

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Wow that looks LOADS better. You got a really mint wing there, I wonder how the original was so bad?


Amazing the difference a few new panels and properly working electricals can make to a car. I hope you can enjoy the car even more now.

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I wonder how the original was so bad?

Sometimes the platic arch liner rubs the paint away from the inner lip and then trap water/salt/mud against the metal. The rest is then just chemistry :)

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Good to see the new wing on, looks a lot better. Must admit I'd never seen a Mk2 with a wing that bad. Quite fond of this old barge now as it was a very comfortable place to be on a cold wet afternoon! Why the new bootlid LS?

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Thanks guys, yes I'm simply enjoying the car now it doesnt look so rusty.


Why the new bootlid LS?


The current lid on it is rusting behind the numberplate and on the corners, also the numberplate area seems to have been rattle canned over the original paint, the other bootlid isn't perfect either with scratches here and there but is rust free. I shall keep the current bootlid when changing over and store it away for future refurb.


Whilst the new bootlid is currently off the car I'll need to stick a 'Sterling' badge on it and replace the lock on it for my one, clean it up and on the car it'll go on.

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Some, most or even none of you will (be bothered to) remember that a few months back on the ebay tat thread, I somehow thought that it would be a good idea to buy this:



Seemed like a good idea at the time......


I have no storage space or facility but still decided to go ahead and buy this for the princely sum of £250. I bought it simply because of its rarity, its a miserable spec single-point injection 820E. Keep-fit windows for the rear, no wood on doors, cloth seats (but still pretty plush) no sunroof and more importantly, its a D-reg and it doesn't carry the silly add-on grille like the last 820e I had:




Remember this?


Interestingly (to me at least) the differences between this early car and the White G-reg 820e are:


G-reg had a sunroof, D-reg doesnt.

G-reg had seat patterns, D-reg is plain.

Different wheel trims (well, they are a few years apart)

G-reg had front window controls by handbrake, D-reg has them on the doorcard.

Doorcards differ in design.


Anyhow, after I bought the car, loads of different stuff started happening, I had the KV6 on its way, my G-reg Sterling imploded, my job was coming to an end and I had some issues at home. So fetching the 820E was the least of my worries, let alone finding a garage.


The problems thankfully passed by, my G-reg was (is) safely tucked away at a friends house, the KV6 made it here (rather noisily) and I was in a new job, but all this took time.


Recently, the seller of the 820E, Dan, also a good mate and fellow Rover apologist/enthusiast was hinting at its removal from his driveway, well, I say his driveway, more his parents driveway, they were wanting to buy a another car so the 820E now really did need to be moved asap.


Frantically, I started trying to find Swindon-based car transporters, most people seemed rather unhelpful only covering Swindon, those I did find were quoting £250+ to bring the car up to Birmingham. I also tried to sort out some temporary storage, no one was playing ball but I did manage to just find a mate up the road who was willing to keep the car on his driveway for a couple of weeks.


In the meantime, a myself, Brad, and even Ma_Sterling helpfully submitted application forms for a garage in Birmingham, but Birmingham City Clowncil just don't seem to be interested in renting garages to anyone, but they seem happier to sell off the land to developers and adding people to a never ending waiting list. I also orignally submitted an application to them some 8 years ago and have heard nothing despite chasing them up.




Brad came up trumps (the guy is a saint) he was due to rent a trailer to transport his Espace to a garage, he suggested that we could also use the trailer to pick up the 820E and get it away from Dan's house. I felt a wieght lift off my shoulders.


I booked the day off work, got up early and made my way to Worcester, met Brad, dumped the KV6 on his driveway and off we went. Brad took his Avantime as the towcar as it was the only one with a towbar and tough enough for the job. We picked up the trailer, hooked up and made our way down to Swindon where, for the first time since I actually bought the car, I saw it in all its metal (and rusty) glory:




Nobody was at home but Dan left the keys and logbook for me to pick up inside the car


Only one problem, I forgot to mention that it needed a battery, back in Worcester, Brad did think about taking a spare battery to jump start it but decided against it. The trailer had a winch but it was manual operation rather than electric, despite this, we managed to get the off the drive, onto the road, hooked up and onto the trailer before too long.:







Someone MUST have spotted and taken photos of this weird combination, surely?


Anyhow, Brad suggested a different arrangement regarding storage of the 820E, I agreed and it was off to another temporary home until I could sort out a garage somewhere (Telford looks like a strong contender)


Most of the roads we took there and back looked like this:



The Cotswolds are nice for a drive through.


Once we got the 820E back to its new temporary home it was unloaded and Brad went off to sort some other things whilst I got on with cleaning it and getting to know about my new car.




Plush eh?


Before Brad left, we managed to get it started, so whilst I was cleaning it, it could be run up to temprature. I gave the things a good hoovering out as that is desperately what it needed, then I decided to give a small run up and down a private lane to get the general feel of it, the last 820e I had was manual, this one is an auto, which is nice.


But the battery was utterly dead, though thankfully it held enough power for me to drive up and down the lane and do a 3-point turn. It's a nice car to drive, not terribly powerful but it doesn't feel like a 'big' car, definitely a car i could happily use everyday. I got back and parked it next my KV6 for a small pic.




At this point, I could have got my G-reg too as it was nearby, but I couldnt get the key to it as it was locked, even so I couldn't have move it either as it was blocked in, so these 2 had to do.


I then parked it back in the place for another hoovering session, I left it to run for and half-hour whilst I continue tidying it up, then I switched it off to see if the battary had charged enough, it hadn't unsurprsingly. Not to worry, there was still enough power to charge my phone (again) and leave the radio on so I could have 80's choonz blasting out of the (rather good) speakers:




I gave it a half-arsed wash, the water was cold and so were my hands, I got off as much crap as I could, whacked on some tyre-shine and it did look ever so slightly better:









For some unknown reason, the last picture reminds me of the days when cars like these were driven by School Headmasters or junior company managers, you'd see them parked up outside important looking 1950's/60's brutalist buildings. Driven and owned by the kind of people that really wanted a Sterling or more but had to make do with the lowest specs.


Finally, I got the 820E started again and parked it next to its stablemates:



2 of the cars in this line are mine, the rest will be on thier way abroad soon to another collector.


All I need to to do now is get it to some undercover storage. As Birmingham City Clowncil simply aren't intersted in actually renting garages to people who actually want one, Telford Council, who rented me a garage last time will hopefully be able to help me again until I can secure better, longer term storage facilities in the West Midlands, which, at the moment looks very unlikely.

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Looks very tidy and original does that Mo_Selecta. How does it run? The thing I always remember about these is that you were meant to take them to a Rover dealer to have all the engine management re-set if the battery went flat, that alone almost justifies the dismal end that Rover came to all those years later.

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Theres what looks like a cracker for sale on the blue channel for £500.


The one that apparently does 40mpg and is being sold by someone who can't spell? There are a couple on the Bay making me wonder if 825s really are as dreadfully unreliable as people say...

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Nice find, it looks pretty straight and solid from the photos. At leats being a pov spec there's less to go wrong!


There's a 1995 825 on ebay at the moment which is on the end of my road, it's up for just shy of £1000 which seems a bit rich, it's described as immaculate but having seen it up close it's nothing stunning and at 120,000 miles can't be far off throwing a few toys out of the pram. It's been there a while and at that price I suspect it'll be there a while longer.

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Cheers lads. The 820E did surprisingly run well despite a flat battery, I've heard that the 820E needs to be some connected to some sort of 'Fastcheck' device to make it run right after battery changing or something. There are a few people around I know of who have these 'Fastcheck' things, apparently its easy to set up, just plug, press a couple of buttons and away you go.


I think I've seen the 800 on the Blue forum, its a mk2 Sterling, well worth the money, I'd love it for myself, but I reckon I've got too much on at the moment.


Dolly - The KV6 is basically a gamble, some can make it to 200k+ other just blow thier heads at around 40k to 60k. They are lovely smooth engines and personally think its worth it to repair them if they do go wrong.

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I had an 820e auto on a D plate with a factory fitted sunroof. I don’t think I’ve seen an 800 without a factory sunroof. I thought all 800s had them in, I know the early 8v 820 fastback my mate had came with a factory sunroof.

Not seen any early ones in the flesh for a while now. The layout under the bonnet of the big bumper 820e auto was slightly different to the early cars, but off the top of my head I can’t think what it was that they moved. Both of mine had the electric window switches on the door. I never had a big bumper mk1, because the mk1 only just fit in the garage if I kissed the front wall and removed the tow ball. Was the electric window switch relocation just on the big bumper mk1?


Cheers lads. The 820E did surprisingly run well despite a flat battery, I've heard that the 820E needs to be some connected to some sort of 'Fastcheck' device to make it run right after battery changing or something. There are a few people around I know of who have these 'Fastcheck' things, apparently its easy to set up, just plug, press a couple of buttons and away you go.


I think I've seen the 800 on the Blue forum, its a mk2 Sterling, well worth the money, I'd love it for myself, but I reckon I've got too much on at the moment.


Dolly - The KV6 is basically a gamble, some can make it to 200k+ other just blow thier heads at around 40k to 60k. They are lovely smooth engines and personally think its worth it to repair them if they do go wrong.


I think I got 18 mpg local and low 30’s on a run in mine. The manual mk2 820i that I had was a lot better on fuel than the single point auto. The CO on the 820e was between 3.5 & 4.5% if I remember rightly, and I think it ran a CO over 5.0% after a flat/disconnected battery. We had quite a few that failed the Mot after a battery change when the emissions became part of the test.

The fuel injector on my 820e clogged up under load when I started using the new green Redex unleaded injector cleaner in the tank, but a bottle of STP fuel injector cleaner and a 50 mile blast down the motorway cleaned it again. I chucked a bottle of STP in the tank every time I changed the oil, and I haven’t used Redex on my cars since.

If it starts kicking any black shit out of the exhaust under load, the two vacuum pipes will probably need replacing. The stepper motor will probably need adjusting when you connect a Datacheck 100 on it, and until the stepper motor is set right, it won’t allow you to adjust the CO. If you haven’t got access to a gas analyser, each arrow key press on the down arrow lowers the CO content by 0.2%.




This one on eBay is fairly cheap. I paid around £380 to the Snap On man for mine.

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Cheers lads.


240gl - Yes, Rover did make a fair few changes during the run of the mk1 800, significant changes were introduced around 1988 with the big bumpers coming in around mid 1989. The other 820e I had was a 1990 so I'm guessing the window buttons relocation happend sometime between 1988/89.


I think bigger/restyled crash bars were the reason for the bumper style change as during the years of the mk1 production, the engines stayed the same. There were very few sunroofless 800s, I've seen 3 examples including my own car. An 820 Brad bought sometime back (I think on a H-plate) also didn't have a sunroof, it was a former British Aerospace car, apparently a lot of BA cars didn't have sunroofs. Another mate of mine from Manchester has a mk2 820 without a sunroof.


Thanks for the link to the Datacheck, I'll keep an eye on this.

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Can you imagine the Honda Legend version of the 820e? Engine out of a Accord and acres of grey velour and plastic! Anyway well done on saving this LS, particularly after I saw that blue 820e in a scrapyard last autumn. Let me know if you want me to go and see if its still there for any poverty spec items!

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Looks very tidy and original does that Mo_Selecta. How does it run? The thing I always remember about these is that you were meant to take them to a Rover dealer to have all the engine management re-set if the battery went flat, that alone almost justifies the dismal end that Rover came to all those years later.




I broke my Rover duck on an '88 820e Fastback; the car that Grandfatha_Earl had before my current slumbering 825.


Apart from the aforementioned volatile ECU which would never, ever run the same way twice after a battery replacement; bizzare bits of 820e behaviour included;


Interior door release handles (die-cast metal / chrome) would randomly snap under the least amount of provokation;

Inertia fuel cut-off would randomly activate; noteably on the mini-roundabout at Frinton-On-Sea during rush hour. A great many mobility scooters were delayed that day;

Front wings would corrode at radically different rates; in the case of the O/S it remained immaculate for years, suddenly turning into orange powder one weekend. But hey, that's coventry for you.

The clip-in "fillets" that cover the "flush glazing" on the B Pillar would crack over time; I put it down to metal fatigue bought on by rapid acceleration and deceleration, much like the Vickers Valiant bomber.

The fastback 800 MK1s had a one-piece folding rear seat. What in the name of ffotherington ffuckery was the point of that?

The 14" wheels were stupid, made tyres hard to come by and meant cornering with more sidewall than tread in contact with the road.

The automatic rear wiper when you engage reverse is THE BEST ROVER FEATURE EVER.


I really miss that car. The 120hp single-point E was a wonderful spec, as a manual the gearing was set so you could genuinely reach 60 in second gear, albeit noisily. The brochure quotes 10 seconds dead; it's actually 9 if you revved the balls off it. 128 was doable (sez GPS in 2003,) assuming you have a long downhill section of M1 near Luton, er, hypothetically.


Spec-wise; "E" is demarked by plain "velvet" seat facings rather than the ribbed finish of the SE. The elec. window buttons should be by the gearstick; they only appear on the doorcards on the SE and above. And are illuminated, which is nice. Also the door cards on the E are thinner than the SE, the speakers fitted are shallower with less throw from front to back. I found this when I bought and tried to "stealth" install a set of Alpines which were the right diameter but about 2cm too deep.


Height adjust to the drivers seat is by means of the stiffest handle in the world.


Little triangular mirror adjusty stalks are so much more awesome than an electric adjuster, and there are TWO lamps in the boot.


Lumbar adjust is fitted but only on the drivers side.


Mo: Top tip (as if you don't already know); if you want to fit directional reading lamps (the ones built into the grab handles over the doors) you'll find that the connectors are already there, they just need to be plugged in. They put the wiring there, just didn't invest the extra 8p to include the lamps themselves).


Look after yours; it looks smashing. It's a shame it's not a manual, though.

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This looks like a top car LS - those wheel-trims are ace! What do you have planned for it man?


This car requires Sade's Diamond Life on cassette to be played on continuous loop

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RWUK - As this is a pre-88 car, and possibly one of the first 820Es the window switches were located to the door, after the first revision in 1988 the doorcards were redesigned, front windows switches chucked by the handbrake. Also, thanks for the tip regarding the lamps. As much as its tempting though, I'd rather keep it as original and factory fresh as I can, I've got the E-reg and G-reg Sterlings with all the toys and touches, its nice to have a simple car.


Also, I'm glad its an auto. Adds to the 'Pensioner' look of the car.


Shedvan - Basically, the plan is to sort out some minor restoration and use it now and again, for the most it'll probably be stored away but it will be bust out now and again, for shows, weekends, good weather etc....

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