When I was six, my parents sold the 1982 Rover SD1 3500 Vanden Plas that they had owned since before I was born. It had no brakes, very little in the way of non-corroded bodywork, and used a lot of oil. Yet despite this, it had made such a powerful impression upon me that now, ten years on, I am still madly in love with the products of British Leyland, and indeed most cars outside that conglomerate also.
It was Moonraker Blue, automatic, and had grey box velvet seats (a no-cost option instead of the standard leather - why?), and looked fantastic.
Sadly, it was last heard of by the DVLA only a couple of years after we sold it, and my mother reports that it was painted yellow last time she saw it, which the DVLA confirms. (Yellow with blue tinted windows)
My very first memory is of the back of that car. I must have been about 3, and was looking at the registration plate, PKY36X, and at the Vanden Plas script on the rear panel. The memories I have of my first holiday, in Mablethorpe when I was about four, are few in number, yet one of them is of that car stood next to the caravan.
I have always (I suspect sparked by that car) had an interest in cars. And, in particular, cars by the same company as the SD1, British Leyland. This led to me discovering www.austin-rover.co.uk, run by Keith Adams, joining the BMC>MG forum there, and eventually finding my way onto many boards throughout the net.
There has been, for the last month or so, a Moonraker Blue SD1 Vanden Plas less than half a mile from my grandmother's house. And it's reminded me just how gorgeous they are. And one day, I will own one. A V8, but with leather seats in place of the velvet. Until that day, I must just dream.....