Rover 3500 SD1
1976 - 1986
|102 kW @ 5000 rpm
|3 spd. auto
|127 mph / 175 km/h
The Rover 3500 V8 represented a major advance on its
predecessors. The David Bache designed hatchback was
well situated in performance, looks, and economy, and
helped bring back perhaps some lost prestige and desirability
to the famous British marque.
But what made the 3500
so great was that, while broadening Rover’s appeal
to other buyers, it never alienated the traditional
The Buick-based 3.5-liter engine had
its rev limit raised from 5200 rpm to 6000 rpm by valve
alterations and improved cy1inder head porting and
These modifications allowed the svelte
V8 to not only rev more easily, but increase power
to a healthy (for the time) 102 kW at 5000 rpm, with
torque of 245 Nm at 3000 rpm.
The maximum speed was
175 km/h and the Rover could make 0-100 km/h in a respectable
12.4 seconds, not blistering but not too shabby either.
fact, the Rover 3500 came at a time when it was the
norm for cars fitted with an engine displacement below
4 liters, and in automatic form, equated inevitably
to fairly dull performance.
But the 3.5 liter donk
and the wonderful streamlined body ensured the car
would always get the best out of the engine, even when
coupled to the three-speed Borg Warner 65 automatic
Ride was improved over previous models
due in part to damper modifications, they being lengthened
to allow to longer travel and more progressive damping.
Up front the Rover 3500 was fitted with a MacPherson
strut, while the live rear axle was controlled by radius
rods and a Watts linkage. This helped reduce squat
and dive to a minimum. The brakes were power-assisted
258 mm discs at the front and 229 mm drums at the rear.
The firm suspension virtually eliminated nose-dive
in most braking situations.
The power assisted rack-and-pinion
steering was accurate and responsive. with only 2.7
turns lock to lock and a turning circle of 10.4
m Best of all, the Rover 3500 was a highly maneuverable
The styling was a complete break with previous
Rovers. David Bache admitted at the time that the 3500’s
design was strongly influenced by models from Ferrari
and Maserati, but most saw the connection the minute
they laid eyes on it. The aerodynamic design of the
nose section, the steeply raked windscreen, and the
absence of a grille all helped minimise drag and turbulence.
In fact, the 3500 boasted a low drag coefficient of
0.39, contributing strongly to Rovers' ability
to avoid the then unwanted image of V8's as “gas-guzzling” monsters.
In fact its economy was more than respectable, sipping
a modest 12 to 15 liters/100 km.
The standard equipment
was lavish, and included alloy wheels, adjustable steering
column, metallic spray, fog lamps, power-windows, air-conditioning,
and remote control exterior mirrors. A sun roof was
available as an option. Luggage and carrying space
were excellent and the rear seat folded down, nearly
doubling the luggage area.
A thoughtfully made and
well-performed vehicle, the Rover 3500 went on to steal
plenty of business from the Volvo 264, Peugeot 604,
and, dare we say, even the up-market Fords and Holden’s.