Weekend Edition – A 1990 Sterling 827 SL found on eBay; The Acura Legend's British Cousin

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In 1987, the colonies were treated to a new British made vehicle called the Sterling. This was a Rover 800 saloon badged as a Sterling 827 and distributed by Austin Rover Cars of North America (ARCONA). This was suppose to be the rebirth of Austin distributed vehicles here due to the partnership with Honda. The Sterling 825 shared the same core structure and floorpan with the Honda Legend, but they each had their own unique exterior bodywork and interior. Honda would supply the V6 engine, both automatic and manual transmissions and the chassis design, but British Leyland designed much of the electrical systems. That was the major flaw to this otherwise flawless venture to return to the colonies… However, here is a surviving Sterling, and you can now own it (if you want to).

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So, what could make you want a North American version of the Rover 800 over, say a comparable Acura Legend? Well, there isn’t many left on this side of the pond, and the major engine and transmission components are interchangeable with the Honda version. It would be an adventure to find the needed body hardware or trim pieces, and those electrical systems…

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According to the listing:

Great running sterling with the original Honda 2.7l v-6, very low miles! Tires are good all the way around, brakes are all good.

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Power windows: one back window will not roll down, the passenger side window will roll down, but hard to get back up. The car is missing one corner light cover in the front. , and part of the rear lights, but the rear piece does not affect the lighting at all. The air conditioning is weak. Check engine light is on, but the car runs great. There is a minor bump to the trunk of the car as you can see in the pictures.

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All the glass is in good shape, and the body is in good condition except for the slight damage to the trunk area. All the lights work as they should. Transmission is strong and this car will really get up and go.! For being 23 years old the car is in good condition.

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The seller’s asking price is $3,000 which would be OK if the car was in almost pristine shape. This one is not, and with over 100,000 miles on the car, and a few bumps and bruises (along with a Check Engine Light) this car really isn’t worth half that amount. If you are still intrigued by the British Version of the Acura Legend, then check out the listing here: [sc:ebay itemid=”300946975228″ linktext=”1990 Sterling 827 SL” ]

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34 responses to “Weekend Edition – A 1990 Sterling 827 SL found on eBay; The Acura Legend's British Cousin”

  1. Buck Private Avatar

    design wise, it has a certain lightness about it that modern cars have given up on. I know safety regulations have something to do with that, but do all new cars have to look like Lutz's fabled "angry kitchen appliances?"

  2. PotbellyJoe ★★★★☆ Avatar

    And in this weekend's edition of "Remember when cars had greenhouses…."

    1. dead_elvis Avatar

      A friend of mine whose DD is a Mazda 3 drove my elderly Volvo 244 recently & was astounded by the lack of impediments to rearward visibility.

      1. Sjalabais Avatar

        There can't be enough greenhouse nostalgia! Anyone remember the A-pillar of the Volvo SCC? This is one, albeit expensive, way of keeping a view outside without expensive and unnecessary sensors, monitors etc.
        <img src="http://media.caranddriver.com/images/media/452398/2001-volvo-scc-the-transparent-a-pillars-on-the-safety-concept-car-are-an-ingenious-and-likely-expensive-way-to-increase-visibility-the-styling-previewed-the-c30-hatchback-photo-452410-s-520×318.jpg&quot; width="600">

        1. dead_elvis Avatar

          Neat! I've never seen one before.

          1. Sjalabais Avatar

            I would really like to see some numbers on how much more expensive than a common A-pillar it is. It never made production, obviously, but I think it would be a very distinguishable feature – probably something that people would pay extra for.
            <img src="http://img2.netcarshow.com/Volvo-SCC_Concept_2001_800x600_wallpaper_07.jpg&quot; width="600">
            Here's a comparison of the A-pillars of my ex-'77 242 and a '04 S40. It's really worlds apart, and if you come from one car to another, it is a bit scary.
            <img src="http://home.arcor.de/ungua/hemsedal/images/023.jpg&quot; width="600">
            <img src="http://home.arcor.de/ungua/hemsedal/images/024.jpg&quot; width="600">

            1. monkey_tennis Avatar

              There are lots of ways that A-pillars could be re-engineered to be slimmer whilst keeping the same strength, but it is the need to be able to accommodate side-curtain airbags that condemns modern cars to having fat pillars.

              1. Sjalabais Avatar

                How about having the curtains mounted in the roof? Modern cars are so crammed…from oversized wheels to undersized windows, there is so much I would do differently. Then again, I'd probably not sell a single Sjalabais-mobile.

                1. monkey_tennis Avatar

                  Small wheels? A proper glasshouse? Count me in!
                  …But that's why I'd buy a car as old as myself if I was in the market now.
                  The new car market is clearly a world away from where my mind & heart are: When you start with the popular form factors (SUV, CUV, "4-door coupes" etc.); factor in the issues that seem to rule in the market today (crash test results, NVH and meaningless torque and performance figures); and add in whatever counts for 'style' these days — then you end up with over-wheeled, gunslit-windowed behemoths.

                  1. Sjalabais Avatar

                    Couldn't agree more! At the same time that "design" as a matter of pleasing senses is on a high, ergonomical, engineering and technical design seems to be on a very low point. Right now, the Volvo V/XC70, the Subaru Outback and maybe the VW Passat are the few station wagons that I could buy new. But as with every other trend, there will come a reversal on this one, too.

                  2. Manic_King Avatar

                    Hey now, "meaningless performance figures"? After spending nearly 10 years in powerless company cars I decided years ago that I have only 1 criteria when choosing an car, additionally to price, of course: acceleration. I'm happy with 8 sec. cars I've had last 5 years. It's just so good to know that you can overtake when needed.
                    Oh, and only 1 of my cars had 17 inch wheels, with noisy and hard 45 height tyres. Currently 16 inchers and I'm happy as streets are very shtty in this town. I would never go back to more than 10 sec 0-100 kph cars.

  3. racer139 Avatar

    Im thinking the cel is probably o2 sensors. How bad can the electrical system really be¡¡¡¿ did honea have any insight at all into the electricson these? Could be a fun ride and Im sure a conversation starter, maybe for all the wrong reasons though.

  4. LTDScott Avatar

    I used to make a bit of extra money selling Sterling corner light lenses. The adhesive they used was crap, so they fell off all the time. I used to scour the junkyards regularly for interesting stuff and would always get whatever Sterling lenses I could find to sell on eBay.

    1. Rover1 Avatar

      I ended up buying a whole Rover 820 to get a set of those lenses and a headlight. Within a week I had two cars that didn't go.Rover ended up disappearing as a brand because some accountant thought they could save half a pence per electrical connection.

  5. dukeisduke Avatar

    A British car guy that I once knew took a job working in a shop specilailizing in British cars, while between engineering jobs. They had to work on Sterlings every once in awhile, and they were utter crap. I'd rather have a Legend from the same year.

  6. lilpoindexter Avatar

    So what does it mean if you can remember when all these old cars were sold new?

    1. dead_elvis Avatar

      You've a good memory for an old? I'm right there with you.

    2. mdharrell Avatar

      It gets worse. I don't think of a 1990 car as old.

  7. Sjalabais Avatar

    I didn't even know they existed. But what a foolish strategy of these partners to give the British responsibility for what they did worst…electrics. Some might even say "cars".
    The sleek, calm and well-balanced design is very attractive. But I'd likely not touch the thing unless it was a gift from some rich British lord I didn't know I was related to.

  8. Van_Sarockin Avatar

    The Sterling seemed like a genius move: A Legend that was a bit more formal and a lot more posh, for about the same price. Too bad the build quality was Yugo-grade. The buyers stayed away in droves.

    1. Jason Avatar

      I remember when they came out thinking that the electronics were probably bad from an experience my friend had with a MG and the reputation. Lo and behold what we all expected was right and it caused the demise of English car sales in the State to this day. If you don't count Land Rover that is.

  9. Rust-MyEnemy Avatar

    These things are wonderful. Don't know what you're talking about.
    From Unbiased of England. Rover owner / victim.

    1. JayP2112 Avatar

      I'll take a pint of whatever he is drinking.

      1. monkey_tennis Avatar

        You do realise that "whatever he is drinking" is likely to be flat and served at room temperature, don't you?
        <img src="http://petercobley.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/pint-of-beer.jpg&quot; width="600">

        1. dead_elvis Avatar

          You say that like it's a problem!
          (but seriously, "real ale" – cask-conditioned & served from said cask – is served at cellar temps, and yes, has much lower carbonation than most styles, but is neither warm nor flat.)

    2. Rover1 Avatar

      Well I got rid of the one with the most rust but I still have the 820 liftback. I have been seduced by the incredibly well resolved styling while my perceptions of build quality are no doubt coloured by also owning 1980s Citroens and Renaults and a Lancia Gamma Coupe.

  10. JayP2112 Avatar

    Those Borbet wheel look terrible. 4 lugs, 6 spokes does not add up.
    That was a strange era for British cars. In the US, we still had a bad taste- TR7, MGB and Jaguar did not impress in the 80s.
    So it was better to be an unknown brand (Acura, Lexus) than to be an established British marque in the late 80s.

    1. Preludacris Avatar

      The lug/spoke imbalance doesn't offend me, though I suppose this effect could have been mitigated with a slightly recessed hub area. Not that I like the wheels but I thought it was a funny nit you picked.
      The Honda-style "huge wheel gap up front with less in the back" bothers me more, as does the Audi C-pillar (best enjoyed in its native habitat).

      1. jeepjeff Avatar

        He's not alone. I'm mostly cool with just about any wheel design (I don't get too excited about wheel choice), but man, you put five spokes on a four lug wheel, it bugs the crap out of me. The spoke count should be a multiple of the number of lugs. I demand symmetry! I also strongly prefer the lug location to be nicely located with respect to the spokes. Those awful, cheap, ugly rims that have holes for two different bolt patterns? That's what bugs me the most about them, because one is always offset from the pattern (the only way to get away with offsetting the lugs would be if the spoke design was asymmetric and they only had one bolt pattern drilled).
        A recess wouldn't help hide the lug/spoke imbalance for me.

        1. JayP2112 Avatar

          Glad I'm not the only one who gets bothered with this kinda crap.

        2. Preludacris Avatar

          Oh, I hate multi patterns too. Major pet peeve with many aftermarket wheels. Ugh!
          I'm just resigned to having the wrong number of spokes, I guess. My car is 4×100 so I've learned to ignore it. If I limited myself to 4- and 8-spoke designs, I'd be missing out on a lot of really good looking wheels.

          1. jeepjeff Avatar

            Fair enough. And don't worry about my thoughts on you putting six spoke 4x100s on your car. If we met face to face, and I noticed, I wouldn't say anything. I live in an area where it just doesn't do to get too worked up about other people's taste in wheels…
            (EDIT to add: I've seen guys trash on the wheels I've got on my Jeep. I rather like them. No accounting for taste, especially not my own.)

  11. MVEilenstein Avatar

    I knew a family who drove a Stirling. All I remember about it is that it was green, and I was confused because I couldn't identify it.

  12. Dave Wilkinson Avatar

    This is my old car. I bought it from the original owner in 2004 for $2300 with 72,000 miles. It was in excellent condition then, as you would expect a one-owner car to be. There was no body damage except for a few dings and scratches. The interior was perfect. It is the limited- production Oxford edition, but I removed all of the Oxford emblems and special wood trim before I sold it. I had a struggle getting $1800 for it at the time. It needed brakes and had electrical problems. It drove nice but I got tired of the bugs in the power windows, the anti- theft system, and the headlights. British electricals are horrible.
    There’s no way it was worth $3000 in 2013.

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