It’s not commonly known outside Denmark and northern Germany that the Danish border has only been in its current place since 1921. Before then much of what we call southern Denmark was in German hands.
Near the old border which runs east to west from Kolding, I found this car, a 1978 Rover SD1 which had been redecorated as a post-1982 Rover Vitesse (it’s a mash up). I am not an SD-1 expert so I restrict my comments to the vehicle shown in these photos. I passed by the car in order to visit Askov, a small town famous for its folk high-school which sojourn took me by the hand and led me to reflect on the borders generally and the joints and junctions of parts of the Rover SD1 in particular.
The design of the car is much to do with how the different parts are brought together, how functions are defined or blended. Some junctions should be as smooth and unobtrusive as possible. Others demand attention or are used to attract attention.
The side-repeater lamp attracted my beady stare. It has a small chrome bezel. If you ever wondered what was wrong with the repeater indicators on a Jaguar XJ (308) it might be the lack of some form of articulation as per the Rover’s. There aren’t so many things one can do to lend these features dignity. The Rover’s have as much dignity as a small orange piece of plastic can have.
The camera wandered next to the trailing edge of the sideglass. The chrome part is alright. But have you noticed all the sculpting on the triangular spacer that forms the end of the sideglass? I don’t know what to make of it. It looks as if it suggests more parts than are there. It’s a little riot of detailing.
This is how BMW did their side glass in 1977, by the way:
And this is how Mercedes solved the problem around the same time:
Let’s go around the back of the Rover
The rear screen has a pleasing feature. Notice the subtle chamfers on the trailing edge. They could have got away with having that as a straight edge: the difference between with and without chamfers is maybe a centimetre. They could have saved some money on the glass by keeping it simple But instead David Bache and Spen King** insisted on having the rear and side glass relate to one another by tailoring the rear screen’s corner to be closer to the side glass’s trailing corner.
Interestingly, the 1977 version of the car has the line of the rear windscreen running the other way entirely, in a way that was supposed to support the flow of the lines from side-glass to the rear screen. Both versions are acceptable aesthetically. The later one is more practical.
It’s not until you look at a car close up and dissect it with the camera that you notice and understand something else. The Rover’s rear badge stretches from one side of the car to the other.
it says. The other thing I notice is that the rear lamps are entirely within the frame of the rear end. Not one centimetre of the lamps wrap around the corner. It’s not that common on the cars of the last two decades to see rear lamps you can’t see from the side. We know of two examples here at DTW:
There is quite a lot to write about the SD-1 – it’s a much discussed car. Most of it has been already said so I have focussed on the bits you won’t read anywhere else.
They sold about 303,000 of these cars before replacing SD-1 with something a lot less carefully finessed. More reliable,yes, but not worth looking at so closely.
I have a little more to say on the SD1 in a few short days. I had a chance to sit inside the car and examine the driver’s/front passenger ashtray. Did anyone say Daytona?
**maybe someone else did the facelifted 1982 SD.