Loading cover... Drag cover to reposition
Toggle Sidebar
Recent Updates
  • Post is under moderation
    CAR #Range-Rover / #Land-Rover / #Land-Rover-Range-Rover /

    RUN BY Martin Buckley
    OWNED SINCE March 2012
    PREVIOUS REPORT June 2018

    I decided to take pal Mark Cosovich up on his offer to detail the Range Rover, concentrating mainly on the engine bay. He doesn’t often stray far from Mercedes but he was keen to get his son Alex involved because he is saving up for a car, and thus able to do me one of his famous ‘super trade’ deals.

    RAY 606W cruised beautifully down the M4 to Swansea and Cosovich’s new W123 World workshop. An early G-Wagen was on the ramp; it’s hard to believe they still make these – it was an ugly pig of a thing, even in the ’70s. Not even Mark is a fan.

    Then again he’s not a fan of the Range Rover, either, reminding me of the old joke: ‘What are the two man-made things you can see from space? The Great Wall of China and Range Rover panel gaps…’

    A full interior valet started the work, with the carpet set removed and cleaned. The ‘teddy bear’ upholstery and trim were cleaned and the damaged plastic trim colour-washed. The scratched rear seat-back was painted, the spare wheel cleaned, painted and tyre-dressed. The whole vehicle was then pressure-washed and steam-cleaned, including the now-Waxoyled underbody. There is still a weird problem with the window-winder mechanisms in both doors, which occasionally refuse to wind all the way down. Somehow, opening the door releases them.

    The matt-black frames, bumpers and front grille were repainted in satin black and it was then time to move on to the engine bay. All of the ancillaries were removed, bead-blasted and new clips fitted. The inside of the bonnet was cleaned and repainted in Tuscan Blue, the inlet manifolds and air cleaner box restored, and the latter repainted and installed with new filters.

    The bodywork was then cleaned and orbitally polished, with special attention given to the paintwork on the arches and edges of the bonnet and tailgate. High-build polish was applied to all areas: “It came up from very dull to surprisingly good,” says Cosovich. “Maybe Leyland paint isn’t so bad after all?”

    Finally, the wheels were removed, orbitally sanded, primed and painted alloy silver and then lacquered. The wheel bolts were painted black and the tyres (described as ‘quite old’) were cleaned and dressed.

    The results are very pleasing indeed; so good, in fact, that while it was in Cosovich’s custody I was made a strong offer to sell the car. I thought about it for a few days and, on balance, reckoned it was the sort of bid that was hard to ignore.
    Trouble was, the man had no time to come and look so it was arranged that the Range Rover would be recovered down to his house for ‘approval’. By the time the car was finished the mystery buyer had evaporated and it was delivered back to my shed looking like a different vehicle.

    Secretly I wasn’t bothered because I had no particular plans to sell it; but, given how good the Range Rover is looking, perhaps now is a good time to let it go (for offers around £40,000).

    The matt black has been replaced by satin. Range Rover looks good enough to sell. Velour ‘teddy bear’ trim has been revived.
    Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
  • Post is under moderation
    To Le Mans, with zest

    The most practical
    car in the paddock?
    We think so

    CAR #1972 #Range-Rover / #Land-Rover-Range-Rover / #Land-Rover
    Owned by Charlie Magee classic.cars@bauermedia.co.uk
    Time owned 23 months Miles this month 732
    Costs £200
    Previously Chopping out lots of rust, welding in lots of new metal, dreading the final bill

    Le Mans Classic had been pencilled in on the calendar for weeks. And the reality of a little European adventure had started to crystallise as the days counted down. Nights under canvas, bush skills, gnat bites, and a subtle mix of sunstroke and hangovers.

    But crucially, it had the makings of a great weekend with the addition of some world-class classic car racing. Something about Le Mans Classic has always appealed to me, more than similar domestic events. Maybe it’s the historic circuit, the relaxed atmosphere and, I suppose, the adventure of getting there.

    Well, hopefully not too much adventure. That depends on your mode of travel. Up until a few days before, I had planned to buddy-up with Ross Alkureishi in his Lancia Zagato for a fast and furious blast across northern France, inevitably travelling light.

    Then I received a phone call from Ross – the sort of call you know is going to impart bad news. Sure enough, the Lancia’s gearbox wasn’t ready following a rebuild, so no fun in France for us. Bottle opener, multi-tool and head torch were heading back into the cupboard for another couple of years.

    Or could it be that my blue 1972 Range Rover would come to the rescue? Relieved of its usual duties as a city runabout, it was deputised to make the fuel-hungry jaunt to Le Mans. Thanks to the very helpful people at speedchills.com, we were able to change some details in our booking and hey presto! We were packing everything in sight, including the kitchen sink.

    I have to say I wasn’t expecting to take the Range Rover. It has some great qualities as a car but bombing along the autoroute isn’t one of them. I quickly ordered some judicious spare parts, including a radiator top hose, fanbelt, a full set of spare bulbs (French police can get stroppy about this) and five litres of oil – something that tends to escape at high cruising speeds. I printed out my list of RAC Eurocover phone numbers and headed off to pick Ross up on the way to the Eurotunnel.

    Getting a few miles under our wheels seemed to prove that it was all going well. We relaxed on our later-than-planned journey on the A28 toward Rouen, save for keeping a watchful eye on water temperature, oil pressure and slowly but inexorably falling fuel gauge needle. I had put all various levers in their optimum positions for high-speed touring and hopefully the optional overdrive would earn its keep. Much as I’d been practising my French – ‘Pompe cinq, s’il vous plaît’ – we made it all the way to the track, barring the odd comfort stop, on a single 19-gallon tank of fuel – that’s 16mpg. Not great but not as bad as I thought it might have been.

    Arriving just after midnight, our next test was erecting an as-yet unseen tent for the first time. I was running on adrenalin by this stage and I think we managed it in about 20 minutes, leaving just enough time for a quick beer at the bar before bedtime.

    I mean, who’s ever slept in a tent sober?

    Range Rover meets Ferrari 412, Mustang and GT40 replica.
    Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
  • Post is under moderation
    TRIED AND TESTED £12,500 / #Range-Rover / #Land-Rover / #Land-Rover-Range-Rover /

    Simba 4x4 / Stourbridge, West Midlands / 07944 338318 / www.simba4x4.com

    YEAR: #1979 MILEAGE: 119,311 PRICE: £12,500 MOT: 11 MONTHS

    The history of the original Range Rover will already be familiar to many readers, this ground-breaking model lasting an impressive 26 years from its introduction in 1970. Many changes were made throughout its lengthy career, particularly in the ’80s but for many fans the two-door models of the ’70s are the most desirable, as these are the models closest to the original Range Rover concept.

    The example shown here just about scrapes into that category, as it was built in 1979. What sets it apart from most other Range Rovers in the UK, however, is the fact that it was assembled by Leyland South Africa (Pty) Ltd., one of BL’s numerous overseas divisions at the time. Having been imported to Britain only this year, it has therefore spent the last 37 years in a dry climate, and has never been subjected to extreme cold or salt-laden roads; the end result is an astonishingly wellpreserved Range Rover and one that’s been extremely well cared for by the same family throughout most of its life.

    There are some interesting minor differences in spec thanks to this car’s South African background, the most obvious being the side rubbing strips at bumper level. It also boasts both air conditioning and a large Webasto-style sunroof, plus a km/h speedometer.

    The odometer currently reads 92,013 kilometres, although the Land Rover specialist selling this Range Rover assumes it’s probably ‘been round the clock’. If that’s the case, then this handsome survivor has covered the equivalent of 119,000 miles to date – a figure that’s not exactly excessive after 37 years on the road.

    Stourbridge-based Simba 4x4 specialises in classic Land Rover repairs and restoration, as well as hand-picked imports from South Africa. There’s still a reasonable supply of original-style Range Rovers available there, the majority of which were assembled by the Cape Town-based BL subsidiary that had earlier produced models like the 1100-based Austin Apache and an Austin-badged Marina. In each case, the cars would be assembled from CKD (complete knock down) kits sent over from the UK, with the Range Rover featured here proudly bearing an engine bay plate that boasts: ‘Built in South Africa’.

    It’s recently been treated to a full respray in its original Arctic White. The end result is very pleasing, with an excellent finish throughout; but it’s when you start to look a little more closely that this particular Range Rover really starts to impress.

    The respray was carried out simply because of faded paintwork from the harshness of the South African sunshine, as in every other respect this Range Rover is structurally original. The panels have survived the years incredibly well and remain corrosion-free, and the underside is equally untouched and undamaged. Every seam, every join and every weld looks factory fresh and unmolested, making this one of the most original examples of its type you’re likely to find at its £12,500 asking price.

    There may be some Range Rover purists for whom only a Solihull-built example will do, but I can’t help feeling that this example’s South African backgrounds gives it some added interest. More importantly, it means you’re getting a Range Rover that has had none of the remedial or structural repairs that so many of its UK-based cousins have had to endure. The interior is also impressively original, although a replacement carpet has been fitted at some point. The tan-coloured leather upholstery is in a very good state, with no signs of major wear and tear.

    On the mechanical front there’s been a general check-over by Simba 4x4, with nothing more required thanks to its healthy state; its MoT last month was passed with no advisories, enabling the vendor to begin the UK registration process. The 3.5-litre V8 fires up instantly from cold (aided by the welcome simplicity of a manual choke), quickly reaching normal temperature and settling down to a smooth idle. There’s no excessive smoke and no sign of any leaks or problems.

    The four-speed (LT95) manual transmission works well, as does the transfer box. The brakes feel fine and the suspension appears to be noise-free and without issues. In fact, the whole vehicle feels impressively ‘tight’ for its age, largely thanks to its originality and the obvious care it’s received over the years.

    It’s easy to see the appeal of this recent import from a dry climate. The cost of professionally restoring the bodywork and chassis of a down-at-heel UK-spec Range Rover would far exceed the asking price of this impressively well-preserved vehicle. Recent respray aside, it’s an extremely original example of its type, offering all the charm of a ’70s Range Rover (two doors, a basic dashboard, few frills) in a usable and ready-to-show package. Whether bought as a classic daily user or a headturning summer fun car, it appears to offer excellent value for money.
    Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
  • Post is under moderation
    Range Rover smiles through the pain

    THE STORY SO FAR
    YEAR #1973
    CAR #Range-Rover / #Land-Rover-Range-Rover / #Land-Rover /
    Owned by Charlie Magee
    Time owned 18 months
    Miles this month 0
    Costs Waiting for the bill – somewhat nervously
    Previously Went on holiday in it – beloved offspring even enjoyed a free insect safari in the rotten boot

    The Range Rover’s MoT test date had been looming in the diary like a grim dental appointment for weeks – the sort of consultation where you listen to the dentist tutting and contemplate all those rushed brushes and biscuits before bedtime.

    I realised that this was what I would be in for if I just checked the bulbs and made sure the horn worked before taking it in to the test station; more direct action would be needed for the Range Rover to pass its MoT this time, let alone get a smiley-face sticker for being a brave soldier.

    Having inspected the car’s underside and prodded nervously – I wasn’t brave enough to poke too hard – at bits of brown and scaly metal (and I use the word ‘metal’ in its loosest possible sense), I armed myself with a set of scene-of-crime photos and arranged to meet Richard Varrall from Land Rover specialist Famous Four at the NEC Classic Motor Show last year.

    Richard compared the photos of my car with the immaculate – if only partly completed – early two-door that he and his team were exhibiting and took me through the process that would banish the corrosion from my over-dunked digestive of a car. It gradually dawned on me that I was going to have to take the restoration work more seriously than I had first thought.

    Adopting his best chassis-side manner, Richard explained that he has supervised this kind of work many times before and that all would be well. Even so, I still felt a little overwhelmed by the thought of how much of my car would be cut out and how much welding would be needed. Richard seems to be able to sniff out all the classic rust traps – of which there are many on a Range Rover – like a truffle hunter’s dog.

    I made my way up the A1 to Famous Four a couple of weeks later, this time to drop the car off. The journey was a good opportunity to contemplate what lay ahead while still enjoying the drive – rusty as it was, it reminded me just how great these early Range Rovers are and how far ahead of their time they were.

    Famous Four’s inspections were rather more vigorous than mine and revealed that rust was indeed festering in all the usual places. The guys set to work, with my only proviso being that they should keep the body on the chassis if at all possible.

    I was too busy with work to visit in person so Famous Four emailed me numerous photos during the process detailing how the work was progressing; they’ve ended up doing far more work than I was expecting to banish the corrosion and make the underbody as sound as possible.

    I’ve resisted the temptation of having the exterior repainted – save for a few body panels – because this is a job for the future, but I did get the wheels and bumpers refurbished. This should sharpen up the Range Rover’s looks a little and give it a bit of a Hollywood smile.

    I think I’ll be needing that smiley-face sticker myself when I see the final bill.

    Inner structure gleams after much work from Famous Four.

    Lots of new metal in the sills and at the bottom of the driver’s side A-post.

    Spare rusty metal, or modern art on a budget? Range Rovers love to trap mud.
    Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
  • Post is under moderation
    CAR #Range-Rover / #Range-Rover-I /
    Run by Martin Buckley
    Owned since March 2012
    Total mileage 58,555
    Miles since July 2015 report 1718
    Latest costs £2478

    TLC RETURNS RAY TO RUDE HEALTH

    Since the temporary demise of the Gamma (Our classics, February), the Range Rover has been my everyday car, although I gave myself a fright the other week when I calculated that it was doing just over 11mpg.

    You will have read last month about the problems with the points and the exhaust box on the Poor Boys Tour, so I won’t elaborate other than to say that it had been fitted with an incorrect set of points for some reason. With the proper type fitted – by me, amazingly! – it has run perfectly ever since.

    Anyway, I am jumping ahead of myself here because last June I took RAY 606W to specialist Bishops Heritage for a once-over and with instructions from me to tackle a list of on-going issues. These included lots of oil leaks – the steering box, most obviously – gauges that didn’t operate and an irritating snag with the upper rear hatch lock that prompted it to pop open unless slammed with Herculean force.

    My list was only a fraction of what needed to be done, in fact. To start with the lumpy stuff under the bonnet, Chris Bishop’s team fitted a recon steering box and a radiator with all new hoses. They then went right through the drivetrain, fitting a new rear propshaft, adjusting the flange and the end float on the front prop and replacing a pinion seal in the rear differential. As with most Range Rovers, pretty much everything that could leak was doing so.

    They also replaced the front trackrod ends and elected to fit new rear brake calipers rather than rebuild the originals. Chris talked me out of doing anything dramatic with my noisy gearbox because he didn’t think that it was really that bad. Plus, as he pointed out, a recon unit is at least £2000. So mine was treated to a new roll pin in the selector rod, which means that it is now less easy to select reverse when what you really want is fourth.

    On top of all this, RAY needed a mountain of electrical work, including a new main light switch, and it now even boasts indicators that self-cancel, which is a nice bit of attention to detail. All of the wiring to the rear lights was stripped and sorted, the blown bulbs replaced, plus new high- and low-note horns were fitted that befit the vehicle’s dignity. The rear wash-wipe was fixed definitively and a new washer bottle pump fitted up front.

    Add new brake pipes here and there, having the tracking set plus myriad other small adjustments and improvements, and I was eventually presented with a not-unreasonable invoice and a Range Rover that was almost unrecognisably smoother. Since then (early September), I have been using the car almost daily, although it disgraced itself again just after the Poor Boys debacle when the alternator packed up.

    Surprisingly, I had all sorts of trouble sourcing the correct one and it seemed to be off the road for weeks. I am planning to drop it into Mike Connors for a tune-up and to have a manifold gasket replaced. Bishops Heritage sorted the frayed driver’s seatbelt, but I would like to do something with the soggy webbing on the base of the seat and track down a better rubber mat for the load area. I really must have it undersealed, too: Jonathan Wills at Cotswold Classic Car Restorations is promising to get around to that when he has a free ramp.

    I have to confess that I never go all that far in the Range Rover: not at 11mpg! The furthest it’s been lately – other than the Poor Boys and the trip to Bishops Heritage in Peterborough – was a run to Bath to collect my son Sean from his digs. It also proved useful for dumping a load of Ro80 bits with Citroën expert Tony Weston, who now has an NSU to play with. I’m still fighting off people who want to buy RAY when they see it parked, but they usually dissolve into the ether when I tell them the price that would part me from it…

    THANKS TO Bishops Heritage: 01733 242888
    Ryan Edwards: http://reexhaustfabs.co.uk/services.html


    Vast list of jobs sorted by Chris Bishop and his team included fitting a recon steering box and radiator, as well as a set of hoses.

    Handy for picking up all of his son’s stuff At Ryan Edwards’ premises in Bicester… …where the exhaust back box was welded.

    Buckley had a job to track down alternator.
    Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
  • Post is under moderation
    WINTER CLASSICS

    Nostalgic motoring doesn’t have to be restricted to sunny Sundays. Prepped right, any of the cars we’ve picked here will see you right through the toughest British winter. / #Range-Rover / #Land-Rover / #Range-Rover-MkI

    You could, in theory, use any classic car through the winter months, with the right preparation; they were all merely ‘cars’ once. How you do it is attending to obvious stuff like a service, good tyres with plenty of tread, lashings of rustproofer, protecting spray on external chrome, and a strong battery. Our top 10 suggestions for winter use will still need advanced planning and care and we’d recommend buying a good example of whichever you might go for. It has also been kept in mind that these cars aren’t just for the winter but will still be enjoyable and distinctive rides for shows and getaways after the green shoots of spring return. And yes, there’s an oddball or two in the list, and you might disagree with some of them, but unusual cars and a bit of debate are all part of having fun with classics.


    The #1970 / #1995 Range Rover

    WHAT TO PAY
    MINT £17,500
    GOOD £10,000
    USABLE £5000
    PROJECT £1250

    There are few nicer ways to journey through inclement weather than from behind the wheel of Rover’s stately pile. You get comfort, peerless ability, and an office block-sized expanse of glass. However, they are also subject to one of the classic car world’s bizarre inverted reality markets. Everyone knows that after 10 years of zero development, the Rangie was continually improved throughout the 1980s in every department. Yet the younger and therefore better one is, the less it’s worth.

    No point arguing, just take advantage of the fact and find a good late one for a song. You’ll find the excessive body roll of earlier cars has been tamed, the steering is more Vogue than vague, the seats are more comfortable, everything feels more expensive, and you have more toys to play with. Just make sure it comes from a good home and has an excellent service history, or you’ll find out how expensive these can be to run.

    FASCINATING FACT

    The Range Rover was the first vehicle to be exhibited at the Louvre in Paris, after being recognised as: ‘an exemplary work of industrial design

    BUYING TIPS

    The mighty chassis can rust badly so get underneath and check it from end-to-end, including outriggers and rear crossmember.

    Both upper and lower section of the tailgate rot. Good secondhand ones are hard to find.

    V8 needs frequent oil changes to prevent camshaft wear. Lack of power is a sign of this.

    The electrical system on later models is on the complex side, so make sure it all works, including the central locking.

    Look for rust in the drivetrain’s front swivel housings. It’s about £500 to change a pair.

    Early Range Rover interiors were quite functional, but as the model matured, the cabin moved more upmarket.
    Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.