The Rover SD1 press release - Launch of the SD1


Leyland Cars has existed in its present form for only eight months and in that short time we have announced many improvements to our product range. We have launched the Jaguar XJ-S, Allegro 2 and Marina 2 and improved the Mini range. The Princess and Dolomite ranges have been improved and rationalized.

We will have introduced the TR7 to the UK market by the time the new Rover 3500 goes on sale. We have introduced Supercover to give our customers unrivalled after sales service. Much of this product program had of course been planned for a considerable time. Nevertheless. by any standards, it represents a remarkable achievement to bring so much to fruition in so short a period.

Confidence in the future

Now we are launching the new Rover 3500. one of the most exciting new cars of this decade. It is a car which will inspire confidence in our future-confidence from our customers who will buy it, our distributors and dealers who will sell it and our employees who will make it.

The new Rover 3500 embodies so much of our strategy for the future. It has beautiful styling, quality and excellence of engineering, superb road-holding, exceptional fuel economy and is very much in tune with the requirements of the market.

It is very much a European car and yet a car of which British industry can be extremely proud.
I hope that this pack contains all the information you need about this milestone in our history.

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The new Rover 3500, a superbly styled and equipped five-door saloon with a top speed of 125 mph and astonishing fuel economy, is announced today (30 June 1976) by Leyland Cars.
For months intense speculation has surrounded the car-known by the protect code-name SD1-but today it is revealed as an eye-catching, export-winning luxury touring car that combines performance with economy and outstanding refinement.

Five-door style

The Rover 3500 sets standards of style usually associated with hand built Italian specialist models, but without compromising practicality. The five-door layout gives all the benefits of saloon and estate without the styling disadvantages that often follow from an estate version.


A new factory

It is the first completely new Rover car to be launched since 1963 and is probably the most significant for the future fortunes of Leyland Cars a total of £95 million has been invested in the design and development of the car, the construction and equipping of a new factory at SolihuIl -the most modern in Europe- and other production facilities to ensure that this new Rover surpasses even the quality standards set by past Rover models.

Powerful performance, and economy too The Rover's powerful 3-5 Iitre aluminum V8 engine has earned a high reputation for smoothness and durability, It is now matched to a new five-speed manual or three-speed automatic transmission to give startling performance and smoothness coupled with great economy.

The manual transmission version will top 125 mph. reach 60 mph from rest in under nine seconds and yet will cover 24-25 mules on one gallon of fuel at touring speeds-figures well ahead of any car in its class. Economy without sacrifing performance is achieved by careful attention to aerodynamics and gearing.

A quality challenge to Europe

The Rover 3500 is firmly placed an the highly profitable "executive” sector of the UK market and its main competitors are from overseas. During the next five years Leyland Cars dominant share of this sector has to be reinforced and the Rover will take the sales battle into the home markets of us competitors in Europe. The Rover has been lavishly equipped to meet this European challenge and the quality feel of the car us underlined by the inclusion of almost every conceivable comfort and convenience in the standard specification.


Features like tinted glass, twin-speaker push-button radio, front fog lamps, rear fog guard lamps, side window demist and mud flaps can add hundreds of pounds to the cost of competing cars, but they are all standard on the Rover 3500.

The mechanical features reflect the practical approach taken by the design team to ensure that the car meets the increasingly stringent demands placed upon all manufacturers today to produce easily serviceable and highly durable vehicles. Conventional suspension and trans-mission layout are used, but these have been honed to give standards of ride, handling and noise insulation usually associated with cars of twice the price. The smooth ride has been achieved in part through a simple but extremely effective self-energising ride-levelling system.

Rover models have long led the field in terms of safety and the new 3500 lives up to this reputation. Examples are the revolutionary new Triplex Ten-Twenty laminated windscreen glass, fitted as standard, which gives far greater protection against laceration potential and the low, smoothly contoured nose section of the body makes a great contribution to pedestrian safety.

Plug-in for perfect engine tuning Economy in servicing has also received detailed attention. The basic simplicity of the design will cut labour charges while plug-in diagnostics will speed up routine engine tuning.

When the design parameters for the new Rover 3500 were set some five years ago, they provided a strong challenge to the ingenuity of the Solihull engineering team which produced the highly successful current 3500 model.

A broader appeal

The new car has to broaden the appeal of the Rover marque and at the same time retain the loyalties of existing Rover owners, who are recognised as a particularly discerning and critical section of the car-buying public. In addition, the new car has to re-affirm the Rover name for performance, quality and timeless styling.

The challenge has been met and beaten with the new Rover 3500: style, quality. Superlative performance, economy, ride and handling have been blended into the new model that continues the Rover reputation and enhances it.

The Rover 3500 is the car for Britain, the car for Europe, but above all, it is tomorrow's car-today.

Nearly 12 months intensive activity by Leyland Cars vigorous new Sales and Marketing team has preceded the announcement of the new Rover 3500.

The launch is the most carefully planned and researched new vehicle introduction ever carried out by Britain's leading motor manufacturer and is an indication of the importance being paid to professional marketing within the Leyland Cars Group. Leyland Cars already holds a dominating 38% of the highly profitable executive class saloon car market in the UK: Rover models alone account for some 16% of the sector, a greater single share than any other model range.
British or foreign.

The new 3500 will be sold alongside the current Rover 2200 and the Triumph 2000/2500 range and will be available initially only in the UK. Existing loyalties and new buyers Extensive and detailed research into the car purchasing decisions of existing and potential Rover owners has been carried out. This showed that 80% of existing Rover owners would seriously consider the new car as their next purchase. These potential buyers rated safety, quality, reliability, comfort and prestige as prime considerations in their choice of car and they considered that the new model would amply fulfill these requirements.

The marketing team is confident that the traditional standards of refinement, quality and comfort will fulfil existing Rover owners‘ aspirations, while advanced styling, exceptional performance coupled with economy and the Supercover after-sales package will capture new buyers from the competition.

Sales and after sales care

Leyland Cars 750 Rover Triumph distributors and dealers will gain a hefty sales boost from the introduction of the new car and production build-up to June 30 will assure a good supply of cars to meet anticipated levels of demand.
Extensive sales training and product familiarisation courses for distributor and dealer sales staffs will ensure that the maximum selling effort is given to the car from launch day. Service personnel are also undergoing intensive training to ensure top-line pre-delivery and after-sales care for the new car.
Extensive ‘clinic' research has been carried out on the launch advertising for the car. The various schemes were presented to potential and existing Rover customers at the concept stage to assess their effectiveness and to ensure that the features of the car most likely to appeal to owners of other makes were fully appreciated and understood.


Executive express

The vital fleet market is coming under intensive attack from Leyland Cars Fleet Sales operation. The prestige and economy aspects of the executive express' 3500 will be major factors influencing fleet buyers and extensive presentations to major fleet buyers are already bringing in advance orders for fleets which have not traditionally run Rovers.

Leyland's ‘ace in the pack'

Commenting on the eve of the launch, Keith Hopkins, Sales and Marketing Director of Leyland Cars. said: "The new 3500 is the ‘ace in the pack‘ in our bid to increase our already dominant share of the 'executive class' car market.
“Its style, performance, economy and safety, allied to traditional Rover quality and durability put it in a class of its own-way out in front of its foreign and UK competitors.
“I believe that it will finally nail the myth that foreign executive cars are higher quality than ours; its sales will give a massive boost to our loyal and hardworking Rover Triumph distributors and dealers."

Power-assisted front disc/rear drum brakes with dual circuits. rear pressure limiting valve and brake circuit failure warning light. Pressure limiting valve automatically isolated if front circuit fails, to maximize remaining braking effort. Powerful handbrake working on rear drum brakes.
Aerodynamic body design with front spoiler and low lift, high stability characteristics. Good all round visibility-maintained by side window demist and heated rear window.
Internally adjustable driver's door mirror and dipping rear view mirror. Ergonomic, finger tip stalk control of safety critical functions. High comfort, low fatigue environment for maximum driver alertness-eg. adjustable steering, contoured high-grip seating, excellent ventilation, low noise level. clear instrumentation, etc.
Safety equipment includes:

Hazard warning lamps. rear fog guard lamps. Halogen headlamps and fog lamps. Wrap-round front lamps units, bulb failure warning system, brake failure/low, fluid level warning light, large area rear lamp units with special anti-dirt design profile, reversing lamps, 2-speed and intermittent cycle windscreen wipers cleaning large area of screen, seat belt warning light.
Optional Dunlop Denovo safety tyres and wheels for protection against blow-out deflection, and run-flat facility.

Secondary safety

Computer aided-design safety bodyshell-energy absorbing ends, rigid passenger cell. Compression struts in doors to constrain longitudinal forces. High anti-burst load door locks. Front hinged bonnet.

Bonded high-safety Ten-Twenty Triplex laminated windscreen (first car in world to fit this as standard). Steering column combines universal joints and a collapsible section for driver protection. Large padded steering wheel hub. Fully padded facia on energy absorbing steel armature. Padded 'shin bin' lockers under facia. Breakaway rear view mirror stem. Padded sun visors. glass-fiber padded headlining. Front head restraints standard. Inertia reel front seat belts standard with seat-mounted lower anchorages for correct positioning. Optional rear inertia reel seat belts. Smooth padded door trims with integral arm-rests and concealed door release handles. Childproof door locks. Safety-positioned fuel tank ahead of rear axle. Fuel pump automatically cut off by engine stoppage to avoid fire risk. Central locking system automatically unlocks all doors on entry avoids potential trapping of occupants after impact. Smooth exterior details for pedestrian protection- e.g. rounded nose, radiused bumper profile, collapsible door mirror design, flush door handles.

Quality and longevity

Traditional quality of Rover marque further advanced by all-new production plant designed to meet 05-21 Ministry of Defense quality control standard as recognized by NATO. New thermoplastic paint process for high lustre but tough finish. Electrophoretic priming process, zinc-coated sills. full underbody protection and exhaust system aluminized on all likely corrosion areas for long life. Stainless steel bumpers and wheel trims. Non-rust moulded plastic front apron.