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I like the Mk1 SD1 - it is a cleaner, purer design than the Mk2, especially in the interior with its rather minimalist instrument pod. It has smaller, neater bumpers and no rubbing strip on the sides. And I also like the rather odd recessed headlights.

I was going to hot rod this a bit but only got a part of the way there before I realised I had too many projects and not enough life and it had to go.

Anyway, I had a Vitesse (which is a Mk2 SD1) which I bought as somebody’s unfinished project which I used to upgrade the Mk1. I fitted the 4-pot ventilated front brakes which worked much better on this car than they seem to on my white Mk2 Vitesse. This is possibly because I didn’t fit the complicated splitting Vitesse front/rear proportioning valve and stuck with the Mk1’s standard version. I also replaced the rear brakes with Rimmer “India” stock.

I had the Vitesse’s wheels painted gold, fitted the Mk1’s door mechanisms into the Vitesse’s doors fitted them ( apart from of couple of holes they are identical) and fitted the chin spoiler from the Vitesse (but resisted the temptation to fit the tailgate spoiler). Then I had the car re-sprayed and it looked pretty good.

I then turned to the engine. My intention was to use the T-Series 4 cylinder twin-cam unit which I had re-built to suit a front to back installation. It would have been 200hp and about 35mpg on a run! (Perhaps).

I modified a front sub-frame to take the motor and sorted out the engine management and wiring. None of this got done, unfortunately for the above mentioned reason.

However, I did install the cooling system. It involved a Davies-Craig electric cooling pump and a Rover 820 turbo radiator and electric fan. This worked very well with the SD1’s V8 and I later installed a similar system on my white SD1 Vitesse and on the TR7 V8

The next page describes how the system worked.

Rover SD1 club

More pictures and details of work carried out follow:

Rover SD1 Mk1