One interesting anecdote is that the Metropolitan Police force loved the SD1 so much (fast, simple and a boot roomy enough
to hold lots of traffic cones) it actually stockpiled a number of them for patrol car use and continued to bringing them into
commission up until 1989!
In retrospect the SD1 showed that there was still
real strength in depth in terms of design and Engineering within BL, but unfortunately the car was dogged with poor build
quality, which gave it a reputation that lived with it until the end. Had BL built the car to a higher standard, not hamstrung
it with self-destructing Sixes, launched it as a full range of cars and made enough of them at the start, it is not inconceivable
to think that the Specialist Division of British Leyland could have been a success in its own right.
The sad fact is that both Jaguar and Rover’s cars were built so poorly only served to tarnish the image of these great
marques, especially overseas: at Jaguar the chairman from 1980-1989, John Egan, and then Ford saved that company during the
Eighties and Nineties, but MG Rover’s future remains in the balance. Throughout the late 1970’s and into the 80’s,
the speculative media constantly made calls for BL to drop the Austin-Morris part of the Company and concentrate solely on Rover,
Jaguar and the sports cars. As unsavoury as this notion appeared at the time, history has borne these pundits correct as MG Rover
moves into the 21st Century with plans to build solely sports and upmarket cars.