1976 Sterling

Probably the nicest Sterlings I’ve seen in person (Carlisle 2006), with really wonderful owners (Rick Milne of Downington, PA, who also has a Manx SR he’s restoring right now that I can’t wait to see)! We opined for a while about how there are less and less old-style exotics on the road, but fear not — a deal was struck (not by me, don’t get that excited) to put the car back into production and I got to meet the new owner of the company. Anyway, let me first share with you some photos (note the rear-view camera in the middle of the dash), and then the car’s info sign text.

sterling3.jpg sterling2.jpg sterling4.jpg sterling5.jpg sterling1.jpg

Designed in England, and build in the US by California Component Cars from 1973 to 1983, this is Sterling #114 out of a production run of roughly 700 series I cars - this body style.

Of this style, only a few hundred are believed to be still road worthy. The Sterling was a popular kit in its day, and one of the best built due to its strong unibody shell and few bolt-on pieces. The Sterling has also had minor film roles in B-movies like Cannonball Run II and Deathrace 2000.

Currently our club [nationalsterling.com] boats over 30 members across the US with several models of cars being recognized.

The common questions are how often is it driven and how fast does it go? If you look at the exhaust pipes and motor, you will see it as a driver. I will drive the car when I do not need my everyday work truck. As for how fast? Well, how fast do you need to go?

Chassis: 1966 Volkswagen Beetle
Motor: 1300cc with 1600cc cylinder kit, hi-lift cam, stainless valves, and dual Weber 36 DCNF carburetors.
Transmission: Stock 4-speed
Suspension: Aftermarket dune buggy
Features: Custom retractable spoiler with integrated oil cooler, BMW HID headlights, Ghia front disk brakes, remote electric mirrors, custom paint by Also Corp.

For those wondering, these usually show up on eBay and elsewhere for as low as $1,500 and are generally relatively easy cars for the average “non-mechanic” person to work on.

7 Responses

  1. Rick says:

    It was great to meet you over the weekend. Great shots of the show; certianly more than I managed to take. I appreciate the kudos on the car!
    One item though, the paint company is Alsa, just in case people want to check it out. Their site is http://www.alsacorp.com

    Hope to see you in upcoming shows!

    Rick Milne

  2. Paul Vaine says:

    This was the same body as my Sterling, The best looking of the Sterling bodies,
    Mine was no where near this nice when I owned it,
    But it was my daily driver,
    The fellow who bought my car ( upstate Florida )
    Poured a lot of money into it and he owned a stereo store so it now has all that sound and video stuff,
    If u see a way out white Sterling it hust might be my old one,
    I have owned several kit cars, hunting a Laser 917 right now, but the Sterlings have to be one of the best made most fun of them all,

  3. jon says:

    how do you open the front up? I did not see any door handles, does it just lift up…thanks

  4. Postor says:

    Who makes that steering wheel on the green Sterling in the photos?

  5. Rick says:

    Sorry to not have responded to the questions in a while! To Jon: the canopy is electro-hydraulic. It opens with a keyswitch.
    To Postor: the steering wheel is by Simoni Racing, http://www.simoniracing.com


  6. Josh says:

    Wow… That is the most gorgeous car, kit or otherwise, I have laid eyes on. Amazing… 🙂

  7. Seth Darvick says:

    Yes that is a very good looking Sterling but the one I had driven when I was thinking of buying one was a squeaking, rattling, noisy and flimsy piece of junk. Plus the VW power sucked. Any other car on the road would pick this car off in a few seconds. I would either get a bored and stroked VW with nitrous or a super charged 3800. These little VW engines are 90 hp or less. Good for a toy choo choo.

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