How Many Left? 1987 Sterling 825SL – SOLD!

Dec 2021 | Classifinds, Free For All Friday

January 7, 2022 Update – We confirmed the seller of this “Classifind” deleted their listing, so we’re now able to call this one “SOLD!” While this one got away, please reach out either by email or call us directly if you’d like to be informed when we come across something similar.

The experiment of combining Japanese design with British engineering remains one of the more confounding partnerships in all of automotive history. We’re speaking about the Sterling, of course, which was closely related to the Acura Legend of the same era but fared significantly worst in the consumer experience department. This 1987 Sterling 825SL originally listed in December 2021 on Craigslist in Owings Mills, Maryland has to be one of the very few cars left that is actively used and in surprisingly nice shape, and the seller is asking $5,500 for this unusual British sedan. Comparing this price against the NADA Price Guide confirms this private seller has his Sterling just above the “High” retail price of $4,850.

The Sterling experiment may make sense on paper: take the incredibly reliable but also incredibly vanilla Acura Legend sedan and inject it with some British personality. Give it some additional luxury features to make it feel like a Rolls-Royce in miniature. Deliver it standard with a 5-speed manual and some sharp mesh wheels. Yes, you can do all of these things, but when it comes to 1980s build quality at the hands of the British, it was non-existent. The magazine editors at the time initially gushed at the concept of a Sterling, which again, seemed like a home run – but only if the typically-abysmal British build quality is improved for just this one moment in time to ensure the Sterling is the sales success the UK’s automobile industry so desperately needed. Sadly, it wasn’t even close: the Acura Legend blew the Sterling out of the water in terms of volume and customer experience.

The Motorweek Retro Review YouTube Channel features this review of the Sterling 825 SL when new:

Now, it’s important to remember that at the time, road test editors generally agreed that no one was ever stranded by a Sterling. The Acura-sourced V6 engine and transmission was too good for that, so it wasn’t as if the Sterling was catching on fire by the side of the road. While the engine may have hummed, it was everything around the car that was falling off or otherwise reflecting a low-quality install. To the seller’s credit, his Sterling seems to have avoided all of that, and he notes it belonged to the proverbial little old lady before he picked it up. I suppose that’s the way to buy one of these if you simply must own it, which is from the type of owner who likely dealt with all the repairs and recalls because it was likely the last car they were ever going to buy and who wants to admit that their high-end luxury car is a lemon? If you’re looking to stand out at the next cars and coffee, it’d be hard to top a survivor Sterling.

Here’s the seller’s description:

“!!!SELLING MY CLASSIC RARE STERLING ONLY 1 OTHER FOR SALE ON EAST COAST IN EXCELLENT CONDITION LIKE THIS ONE !!! OWN BY A GREAT GRANDMOTHER FOR YRS THAT BABIED THIS CAR NO ISSUES AT ALL EXCELLENT CONDITION NEARLY PERFECT WILL CONSIDER SERIOUS CASH OFFERS$$ NO RUSH TO SELL!!! LOW BALLERS AND TIRE KICKERS WILL BE IGNORED!!! CALL OR TEXT ME AT410-790-8516.

Do you have a Sterling 825 story you’d like to share?  Comment below and let us know!

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