The New Range Rover

Well, it’s new to me anyway!

Having decided that the Scimitar wasn’t really my kind of car, I went out and bought something that I thought might be closer to the mark. With the plastic fantastic from Tamworth sold, I stuck true to my Midlands roots and bought another Land Rover.

I owned a 90 County V8 last winter, but it didn’t take long for the ridiculous fuel economy – 15mpg – to get a bit much. So it had to go, turning in a handy profit. Rare for me. The 90 wasn’t very practical either – the loadspace is remarkably short.

But I wanted something else from the Solihull firm. It was time for my first Range Rover.

I had my school work experience at Land Rover, as a very lucky 15 year old, and I’ve long had an affinity for their products. The Range Rover has become just as much of an icon as the original Land Rover, though prices haven’t yet caught up. Not by a long way.

I went to view a Range Rover V8 on LPG, but it was an absolute dog that couldn’t pull the skin off a rice pudding. It also had a really bad exhaust leak, on the manifold I think, an LPG tank taking up most of the boot space and some serious cosmetic issues. It was so bad that even I managed to walk away.

I then checked out a Range Rover diesel.

Ian's new buy

It was advertised as a Tdi but I got so distracted when I went to view it that I failed to notice that it was actually a VM diesel engine. Idiot! However, it drove very well indeed, so I still agreed to go ahead – albeit paying a few hundred pounds less. Still, it was a gamble. £1000 for a Range Rover on French plates (but with a British ID as well) with no MOT. With the much-derided Italian VM diesel. What could possibly go wrong?

The gamble does seem to have paid off though – I was rewarded with a total MOT bill of just £245 including two new tyres and number plates. That didn’t seem too bad to me.

And it really isn’t too bad. Sure, the engine is a bit laggy, it’s a bit scruffy and the previous owner left it filthy and smoked in, but it drives very nicely, seems remarkably solid in all the important places and should prove just the vehicle I need while we make some home improvements.

There are some niggles – only the driver’s electric window was working, though one of the rears is now playing ball after a fuse change. The headlining was sagging as well, so I’ve removed it while I decide whether to fit a new GRP one or to re-trim the original. There is a slight leak from one of the front hubs and the heater blower doesn’t operate – I’ve ordered a new resistor pack to cure this.

I love it though. The price paid doesn’t seem much for an absolute icon. Sure, an earlier one would have more appeal, but these later ones are much more refined – even when fitted with a rattly Italian diesel engine.

Brushes up alright on her British plates, don’t you t

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