1987 Sterling 825SI Is a Rare Junkyard Treasure

From the “ideas that looked good on paper, at least at first” category, we have the 1987-1991 Sterling. Take reliable Honda running gear and a mansion-grade wood-and-leather British interior and package up the whole thing as a bit of rich-person England in your American driveway— what could go wrong? I found this first-model-year 825 in beautiful condition in a Denver-area yard the other day.

Honda and Rover partnered up in the early 1980s to develop what became the Rover 800 series and the first-generation Acura Legend. The Sterling was the Rover-built luxury version for export; its Honda powertrain worked fine but overall build quality wasn’t great and the notoriously flaky electrical hardware made by The Prince of Darkness reminded Americans of the hilariously unreliable Rover SD1. Meanwhile, the all-Honda-built early Legends held together for decades. After 1991, Sterling was gone.

The Sterling’s interior was gloriously British, in both positive and negative ways. The leather and wood rivaled that of the Jaguar XJ, while the trip computer offered a choice of readouts in Imperial, Federal or metric units. You know, for when you’re at a gas station that uses only Imperial gallons. The car has better than 150,000 miles on the odometer, but the interior looks nearly new. Someone loved this car and always garaged it.

This cassette made for some fascinating listening. All the original sales documentation and owner’s manuals were still in the glovebox.

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