The Rover 3500 model of the SD1 was launched on the 30th June 1976. It was different from its predecessor the Rover P6 with a complete different design. In performance there was not vastly any difference between the New Rover or the 3500S. 0 to 60mph in arround 9 seconds and a top speed of over 120mph. But the main differences was the design. Compared to the P6 the SD1 was 178mm longer in wheelbase and offered more leg room. An other thing was that the new Rover 3500 was very competitively priced against its rivals. It was well equiped with features like powersteering, central door locking and self-leveling suspension, radio, fog lamps and tinted windows.
Performance was very good, 0 to 60 mpg in about 8.6 seconds for the manual car and 9 seconds for the automatic transmission. And of course there was lots of torque of the V8 engine. It was of no wonder the Rover 3500 won various awards and best of all became car of the year 1977!
It was unusual for a British car to win the award. The most designes were not well regarded by the different European countries. The Rover won the award by a considerable margin, beating a number of cars like the Audi 100, Renault 14, Ford Fiesta, Volkswagen Golf Diesel, Lancia Gamma, Mercedes 123 series, Volvo 343, BMW 630 and 633 models, and the Porsche 924.
The SD1 also won the Don Safety Trophy, justifing the effort put into this aspect of the car’s engineering by the design team.
Already in the early stage of the design of the SD1 the design team had been working on an improved version of the car. Reason for this was to aim a launch of the SD1 in the US. They eventually did this in 1980 but many were previewed by the arrival of the V8-S model in June 1979. It was available in the UK only at first but was later also introduced in other countries. Read more about the V8-S.
As the leader of the new Rover range the 3500 possesses the exclusive refinement and sophistication which qualify it to compete towards the top end of the luxury car market. From the exterior it is distinguished from the 2300 and 2600 by the standard tinted glass, mudflaps, full-size polished stainless steel wheel trim and the 3500 badging.
Inside, the level of luxury and appointment is heightened by the recent addition of radio and stereo cassette player, electrically operated windows and centre-point locking. Other additional equipment includes front fog lamps passenger door mirror and under-bonnet lamp.
Steering is power-assisted rack and pinion and complements the 185 HR-14 steel-braced tyres fitted to 6' wide steel wheels.
The single most significant mark of superiority is of course the 3528cc V8 engine; featuring tran-sistorised ignition, the 3500 combines outstandingly good fuel economy (23.6 mpg.) with effortless power and silent speed.
Most obviously 'new aspect of any new model is inevitably its style. The Rover 35000 sleek, raked profile held a greet attraction for sample owners in its prelaunch car clinic, and subsequent favourable comments from 3500 owners confirm that this was not a passing fad. This is hardly surprising in view of the very real benefits afforded by minimal wind resistance; including the ad-vantages of low noise, stability, fuel economy and performance. In addition, of course, the longer wheelbase enhances ride comfort, while the wider track gives excellent roadholding and — most important — greater rear passenger space.
An impressive passenger space and luggage carrying capacity of the new Rover was one of the main features spontaneously mentioned by car owners, and this was doubtless an important influence in the consensus of opinion on the tremendous value-for-money the car provides.
The main points of the Rover's versatility are that it combines the roominess of the occasional Estate with the security and noise insulation of the saloon boot. The hatchback configuration provides at least three different volumes of luggage space according to requirements; 11.9 cu. ft. with the seat up; an extra 23.5 cu. ft,(to glass level) with the seat down; and a valuable extra 2.1 cu. ft. with the floor boards removed. The rear parcel shelf provides the security feature of concealing luggage when in place, and is not removable from inside the car when the tailgate is closed. Further-more the parcel shelf, combined with the lavish carpeting, helps to cut down on the high noise levels from which an Estate inevitably suffers. This versatility — and the easy conversion from one luggage configuration to another—is a luxury which no competing saloon car can offer, and it counts as one of the most outstanding advantages of the Rover range.
The features of body construction and interior equipment most essential to protection, accident avoidance and accident prevention are shared by all the models. They make an impressive collection.
Protection and Avoidance
- Monocoque 'box' construction giving high torsional rigidity.
- Progressively deformable front and rear members to absorb impact.
- 'Ten-twenty' laminated windscreen.
- The most advanced windscreen yet in giving a smoother surface after fracturing.
- Inertia reel seat belts with lower anchorages mounted on the specially strengthened seat slides to provide the correct position over the occupant's thighs whatever the seat adjustments.
- Padded steering wheel centre pad and fascia.
- Telescopically collapsible steering column.
- Dualcircuit brake system with pressure limiting valve cut-out to allow full pressure to rear brakes in the event of front brake failure.
- Fuel tank in safest position ahead of rear axle away from trouble.
- Fuel pump cut-out.
- Anti-burst door locks.