Why Was This Thing Nicknamed the ‘Poor Man’s Ferrari Daytona?’

Did you know the Rover brand made cars? Full transparency: I didn’t either until I saw this funky little ‘70s number. The Rover SD-1 Vanden Plas got the review of the century when it was lovingly referred to as the “poor man’s Ferrari Daytona.” The comparison comes from what Silodrome calls “somewhat similar styling.” I, for one, don’t see it. They didn’t ask me. 

1987 Rover-SD-1
Rover-SD-1 | The Market by Bonhams

The “poor man’s Ferrari Daytona”

According to Silodrome, this four-door V8 Saloon got a major boost in sales when it got its undercutting nickname. Although its nickname came from its looks, the Ranger SD-1 had a strong career as a Touring car racer. It made a fine racer, and UK police also used the SD-1 heavily as squad cars and interceptors. 

Leyland’s Rover SD-1 was slatted to be a mass-production car for Britain’s middle class. The car won the title of European Car of the Year in 1977. 

What is the Rover SD-1? 

Designers from Rover and Triumph competed to win the bid for what would become the SD-1. The race to develop a successor to the aging Rover P6 and the Triumph 2000/2500 sedans were on. Since these designs were submitted as part of the Specialist Division, the winning Rover design became known as the SD-1. 

When the Rover SD-1 debuted in 1976, the model only had one engine, the 3.5-liter Rover V8. That same motor could strangely be found in the V8 MGB. 

Given its classy styling, V8 power, and large GT body, the SD-1 became quite the popular ride for British police and executives alike. Later models would be offered with a straight-six option as the 70s oil crisis crippled a great many V8 cars. Between 1976 and 1986, British Leyland made 300,000 examples of the poor man’s Ferrari Daytona. 

How much is a Rover SD-1 Vanden Plas worth today? 

Rover-SD1-1
1987 Rover SD-1 | Bonhams

The Vanden Plas designation means that it came with all the optional extras Leyland offered. The one we see here is a luxurious 1987 model that has all those bells and whistles along with a leather interior. 

According to the listing, this car is in pristine condition. It has all of its original bits and bobs and is said to have zero rust

This car is being offered for sale by Bonhams Market for sale. While this car is pretty slick and has a thumpy V8, likening it to a Ferrari feels like a bit of a stretch to me. I understand the marketing play here but come on, y’all. That ain’t no dang Ferrari, no matter how hard to you squint your eyes.