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42 years of the SD1
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Bache maintained that designers will come up with broadly similar cars for their intended markets given similar environmental stimuli and resources, and was bourne out the fact that in the mid-1970s, we were presented with the Rover SD1, Citroën CX, Lancia Gamma and Renault 20/30 – all six-light, fastback designs with wedge-shaped bodies and good attention to aerodynamic detail. There was also the matter of the 1967 Pininfarina BMC 1800, which undoubtedly had a fair influence on these cars. When speaking in an interview with Car magazine in 1982, Bache actually cited the Ferrari 250LM and 365GTB/4 Daytona as the major influences on the SD1 - and this can certainly be seen in the style around the front end of the car; the headlights and indicators are practically a facsimilie of the classic Ferrari's. Another feature that the SD1 shared with the Daytona was its side swage lines, which managed to add practical as well as aesthetic benefits to the SD1: dirt kicked up from the road was caught in the side creases and the upper flanks would therefore remain relatively clean – there would be no mucky hands when pulling the door handles of the SD1!

With the exterior styling of the SD1 settled, Bache worked on the interior, which like the body styling was also a complete departure from the P6. He moved to a more “industrial” design, forgoing the “wood and leather” ambience of the “olde-worlde” P6 in favour of an almost stark, Germanic style. The dashboard and steering wheel were textured from soft-feel plastics, a move which in itself was ahead of its time. The design of the dashboard was cleverly made symmetrical in order to facilitate the assembly of both left- and right-hand drive cars. Throughout the interior, clever touches abounded: fully-adjustable steering column, ample small storage areas including nifty under-dashboard lockers, folding rear seats, a removable parcel shelf and internally adjustable door mirrors, to name but a few of these features. All taken for granted in this day and age, but back in 1976, a great leap forward in interior ergonomics. Bache reasoned that he could make a feature out of the fact that the instrument cluster was a unit incorporated as part of this symmetrical dashboard. It wasn't styled, as such, but was simply designed as a “box” with instruments in it, parked on top of the dashboard in front of the driver.

Picture Information: Early SD1 poses for the camera: In red, the car looked magnificent, and it is not for nothing that David Bache was quoted as saying, "Early clay mock-ups were put alongside cars like Maseratis and Ferraris. Despite the fact that it is a fully practical saloon car and not a cramped grand tourer, it looked perfectly in keeping".

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