42 years of the SD1
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Because the make up of the Six cylinder engines was finalised well after development on the SD1 had started, it was decided that the new car would be launched in Two phases: The V8 engined model coming first with the Six cylinder models following later – as and when the new engines came on stream. This “strategy” thereby gave the SD1 two bites of the cherry as far as publicity was concerned, effectively allowing two new product-launches.

SD1 in development While the issue of engines was being decided, development on the SD1 continued apace and Bache continued his work on the SD1’s styling. In November 1971, a further full-size clay model of the SD1, looking remarkably like the finished article, was presented to the British Leyland board. Bache had changed the look of the RT1 because he felt it too angular and he evolved the shape by making it more curvaceous, to become the SD1 as we know it today. Looking at the development programme, it would now appear that the definitive SD1 shape was complete by December 1971 and yet, it would take a further eighteen months for the styling to be finally signed off by the BL Board. That shows that already, there was a lack of pace in the development of the car at this vitally important stage of its conception. The industry norm was for the car to take 30 months to reach production from this point in 1971 – it actually took 54 months – had the Rover SD1 arrived on the market in 1974, it would surely have made even more of an impact than it finally did.

Picture Information: This disguise was designed to keep the likes of Hans G. Lehmann, scoop photographer extrordinaire, connfused as to what it was he was actually photographing! In this case, even a seasoned BL-anorak would have trouble identifying this!

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