Built at Solihull, the Rover SD1 was introduced in June 1976 initially in V8 3500 guise, with the straight six versions following in November 1977. Priced at £4750.20 (including front seat belts!), it represented good value for money compared to its executive car rivals.
The car was lauded for its handsome modern styling (with more than a hint of Ferrari Daytona), versatile hatchback and strong performance. The early interiors typify the seventies with their deeply sculpted (often beige) velour seats and distinctive steering wheel and dash pod.
In 1982 a major mid-life facelift coincided with production being moved to Cowley, when a 2000cc model and 2400 turbo diesel was also added to the range. 1984 saw the introduction of the 190bhp fuel injected Vitesse and range-topping Vanden Plas EFi.
Sadly, as was often the case with British Leyland products, the cars were dogged by bad build quality and workforce disputes that, despite numerous improvements over its life, tarnished the SD1’s reputation. This is pity because from a design point of view it had very few rivals.
The design of this mouse mat features a very early 3500, the SD1 in its purest form and pays tribute to the original launch advertising in terms of wording and typeface.
Read the story of the Rover SD1 here on the excellent aronline website.