Monday, November 30, 2015

3 For the Price of 3: 1989 Sterling SLi

The Sterling was the product of a bizarre Anglo-Japanese collaboration between Austin Rover Cars and Honda.  It was technically a rebadged Rover 800 series, but for North America the only powerplant was a Honda V6 borrowed from the Acura Legend.  Find these three 1989 Sterling SLis offered for a grand total of $15,000 in Rio Rico, AZ via craigslist.  Tip from Safety Fast (you might not know Safety, but we're all familiar with his brother Hugo Fast and sister Brea K Fast)

The seller is nice enough to provide a quick synopsis of the red, red, and silver trio of classics:
SAXX555JXKM223009 1989 Red 5-speed manual, 138,009 original miles, new engine & clutch. Two previous owners, SLi Hatchback 
SAXX556H2LM252341 1990 Red, AT, unverified miles, new repaint, upholstery, SLi hatchback 
SAXX556K1MM284713 1991 Silver, AT, unverified miles, fair paint & upholstery, excellent mechanical condition, SLi hatchback model (Silver Bullet)

Also included in the sale are two complete engines, an extra auto transmission, and over $40k (yikes!!) of new factory leather upholstery in original packages, diagnostic equipment, and factory manuals. This is a collector dumping his collection, and I can't help but think that a wise buyer could get the red '89 car for next to nothing after selling off the other two cars and spare parts via various owners forums.  The only problem is that you have to deal with folks who own three Sterlings at a time...

See an investment in Sterling that is guaranteed to beat gold?


  1. One could buy there and the spare parts and have the largest Sterling service and dealership in the world!

    Hate to say it but Less is definitely More in this case.

    1. Great point. But in investigating the business model, there is a bit of potential downside, perhaps. Who would he sell the parts to? He has the entire remaining "fleet" of Sterlings extant.

      How they hell did he end up with all 3 Sterlings sold that year?

    2. Actually, he has the hat-trick - one of each of the last three years sold in the US.

  2. Despite all this car's flaws, this is one of my favorite designs of the era. I really liked Sterlings when they were new-----wish the concept had been better executed.

  3. Somebody really loved him some Sterling hatchback.

    These were mechanically a first-gen Honda (Acura) Legend; in the mid '80s BL somehow managed to get Honda in bed with Rover and until BMW came along and started throwing the Quandts' carefully-hoarded Deutschmarks down the BL hole Rover's product line ended up full of badge-engineered UK Hondas.

    And between the Honda mechanicals and "New/replacement parts are available, as all former dealer inventory was purchased and now resides in Pennsylvania", parts availability is probably better than for something like, say, a Taurus SHO.

    1. The problem wasn't the Honda mechanicals, it was the decision to pair them with British electrics. It ain't easy to make a 1st gen Acura Legend unreliable, but they found a way.

  4. Rico Suave says do not buy from rich river.......lmao


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