If only the Japanese could build a car like Jaguar. If only the English could build a car like Honda.
April 2, 2008 4:55 PM   Subscribe

From 1987 until 1992 Britain's Austin-Rover Group exported the Rover 800 to America and called it the Sterling. Jointly developed with Honda, the Sterling was a bit of a flop in contrast to Honda's Acura Legend. Of course, every car has its fans. One more thing, if you need a part for your Sterling, you better call this guy.
posted by punkfloyd (10 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
my Dad had two of these and is now on a 75. a Merc they aint, but you got a decent big car for a fraction of the money. plus you were buying British.
posted by Frasermoo at 5:00 PM on April 2, 2008

Thanks for the link to Dale "The Sterling Fixer" Charles. It's cool how one man has ended up with all the new spare Sterling parts in the country.
posted by jaimev at 5:43 PM on April 2, 2008

Great post! I'm a British car geek (mainly Land Rovers) and have always had my eye on a Sterling. Back in the day I knew a couple guys at Atlantic British -- one of the mentioned companies that sold its remaining Sterling parts stocks to "The Sterling Fixer" -- and even they advised against it!
posted by lazywhinerkid at 6:04 PM on April 2, 2008

I knew someone who had a Sterling. One of the crappiest and unreliable cars ever, hands down. A testament and example of the unexceptional abilities of British engineering (at the time) to make a car based on the Legend an unqualified failure.
posted by gnash at 6:31 PM on April 2, 2008

See, I didn't realize that's what a Sterling was. I remember them vaguely. Didn't freaking Patrick Macnee do commercials for them, or am I misremembering? I always thought they WERE Hondas that had been given a fancy schmancy British wood and leather interior treatment and sold for a more upmarket price.

In retrospect, maybe that would have been a better idea.
posted by Naberius at 7:18 PM on April 2, 2008

Yes, Patrick Macnee did do Sterling commercials. His website confirms it.
posted by Naberius at 7:20 PM on April 2, 2008

Lo! How the mighty have fallen!
posted by Relay at 9:33 PM on April 2, 2008

I bought one of these a few years ago, and put more than 50k miles on it. It was a great car that never let me down. You know, from the outside, it just kind of looks like a car, nothing that unusual ... but inside they were quite elegant. If you've ever seen one that's in nice condition, it's clear that Austin Rover actually went to a lot of trouble and expense in the design and used good quality materials -- a lot of them from the same sources used by Rolls Royce. Like many unusual/obscure cars, these were often ruined by mechanics who worked on them without really knowing what they were doing.

If you have one of these and need parts (or service if you're in the Pacific Northwest), my old mechanic Steve can help you out, his number is 503-517-0443. He has huge amounts of parts and was a factory trained mechanic at the dealership back when they were new.
posted by dacoit at 12:25 AM on April 3, 2008

Wasn't the Sterling designed to be as safe as possible (given the state of auto engineering at the time), or am I thinking of another car?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:18 AM on April 3, 2008

Kirth Gerson, that was the Rover P6.
posted by scruss at 12:03 PM on April 3, 2008

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