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41 years of the SD1
 
 
 
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As the company's car sales continued to their downturn (1979 marked the first time that the group's share of the market dropped below 20 per cent) BL was in the midst of serious cash crises. The strike riddled Solihull factory was wound down during 1981, and at great expense in late 1981, SD1 production was moved over to Cowley as the firm regrouped. Besides costs and industrial relations issues, a part of rationale for the move to Cowley was that it permitted body shell build and painting to be done on the same site as final assembly. This was a much more efficient, lower cost and better-quality approach to final production. The shells for Solihull were produced in Castle Bromwich and then shipped by rail, because Rover had not been allowed by the local authority to add a body plant to the SD1 project.

When production started at the new plant, it would appear as a face-lifted model, although the first few revised models were, in fact, built in Solihull. In 1981, with Metro successfully launched and the LM10 (Maestro) nearing production, modified versions of existing cars across the BL range started to appear - first was the Ital, then the Acclaim (built under licence) then this revised version of the Rover SD1. Changes range-wide included cosmetic improvements, the rear window was enlarged to improve visibility when reversing, a new instrument panel was incorporated and a slightly tidied-up front-end styling treatment. The face-lift also marked the first appearance of wood veneer inside an SD1

Along with these further interior and exterior revisions, came the rebirth of an evocative name from the past: The Rover 2000.

Picture Information: Rover SD1 estate was developed by Solihull but never reached production, due to British Leyland's financial woes following the Ryder Report. Sir Michael Edwardes, however, liked the car so much that he used it as his personal runabout. During 1978 and 1979, it was seen frequently in the City of London.

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