Tuesday, May 23, 2017

A Little Help From My Friends: 1989 Sterling 827SL

When you are down on your luck and things don't look good, call a successful friend.  That's what British Leyland did in the 1980's when they struck up a partnership to build cars in the European Union with Honda of Japan. BL hoped to build cars that would lift up its sagging image and Honda would be able to get around import restrictions imposed by the EU. One of the resulting cars was the Rover 800, sold as the Sterling here in the US.  Find this 1989 Sterling 827SL for sale in Sequim, WA for $2,900 via craigslist.

The Sterling 827 or Rover 800 everywhere else, was based on the Acura (Honda) Legend.  In the US it was only available with the same 2.7L Honda V-6 that also powered the Legend.  The SOHC 24 valve engine put out 170 hp to the front wheels through an auto box.  This example has seen 99K miles pass under it's chassis, and has been helped along by a Sterling specialist in PA.

When the Sterling hit the market in the US in 1987, it sold around 14,000 copies, cuz who wouldn't want the old world charm of a veddy British sedan with reliable Japanese mechanicals.  Unfortunately, somehow Honda was convinced to use Lucas electrics and you can guess the rest.  Bad JD Powers numbers killed the brand's momentum and they limped on for another couple of years before receding from the market.  Our car has a replacement stereo, but still has the groovy late 80's computer.  I'd set it to Imperial and drive over the unwashed masses.

I have to believe the rear wing was added later in life, I can't see it leaving the UK with that thing on it.  I wonder if the British trunk springs can hold it up?  

See another example of a partnership that looked good on paper? email us here: tips@dailyturismo.com

Gianni, blah, blah, blah...


  1. Sold in Sequim with MN tags that proclaim the owner to have a fondness for running up mountains. Which would kinda work, since I can see Sterling ownership as sort of crunchy in a granola-y way. But the aftermarket radio and basket handle wing kill that vibe, IMO. Unless the wing is meant to be ironic which, in that case, works on its own level. Maybe.

  2. Here on Rover Island, decent copies of the last few 800s are highly sought after, the hatchback version especially. And when your default options included dubious Vauxhalls, Citroens (guilty), Fiats, Jaguars and other rattletraps, the electricals were just par but the Honda bits were a serious upgrade. Sharp looking, spacious, decent power, local mechanics who remember how to fix them. The 800 hatch made my shortlist last summer, but I simply could not find a low-mile rust-free-ish one to go look at, they were snapped up so quickly.
    [image src="http://www.fromthecaptainschair.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/Vitesse-XX.jpg" width="400px"/]

  3. Too bad rest of car not as good as the powerplant

  4. Replies
    1. It was reissued on 45 for Record Store Day last year. I picked up a copy, sounds really good on my Technics turntable I purchased at Jafco in 1981 compared to compressed mp3's...

    2. Gee.....I loved Jafco on Westlake bought a lot of stereo gear there I have a Technics SL 1700 Turntable and a couple of Dual tables also.

    3. I still have my Technics SL-Q200 turntable and sliver face Pioneer SX-3500 Receiver I bought at the Westlake store. The dual cassette deck crapped out and is long gone. The speakers are in the garage with the POS 1990's all black receiver.

    4. I had some Sound 5 speakers that are Jafco house brand still in my workshop my Newphew blew the WOOFS years ago.


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