4. Rover SD1 V8
Do you remember what your father drove in the mid-70s? It was probably a boxy sedan with an underpowered engine or a station wagon with wood inserts on the sides. Or maybe it was a small, front-wheel drive import car? Whatever he had in those days is pale and outdated compared to the interesting Rover SD1.
Rover imagined it as a family sedan of the future, presenting the SD1 in 1976. It was immensely modern with aerodynamic styling, a hatchback rear end and a futuristic interior. Base versions were powered with a 2.6 liter 136 HP engine, but a 3.5 liter V8 was also available. The V8 version turned the comfy family sedan into a proper four-door muscle car.
The Buick-based 3.5-liter V8 produced 190 HP, which is not much by today’s standards, but a lofty number for the mid-70’s. Unfortunately, due to strikes at the factory and the bad quality of the components, the SD1 wasn’t dependable. It lacked the rugged reputation German cars had to offer, so it was just mildly successful in America.
But it met praise in Europe and became the Car of The Year for 1977. Also, the SD1 was a favorite car of the British police force all the way to the early ’90s.