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Range Rover

Published: 13th May 2015 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Buyer Beware

  • CHASSIS Check for off-road damage and rust. The chassis frame from an early Discovery can be utilised if need be
  • RUST Floors, arches, bulkheads, crossmembers, sills, tailgate and even the fuel tank are all rotters so check the car over well
  • ENGINES Overheating, camshaft wear, exhaust manifolds are main worries. TDs not brilliant, VM blows head gaskets
  • RUNNING GEAR Usually clunky, watch for leaks and general wear although always noisy. Suspensions wear out fairly quickly
  • LPG Check installation for security and workmanship as it is safety critical
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The Range Rover was the first ‘Chelsea Tractor’ but, unlike later models, was made for work, rest and play rather than simply show and pose

Upmarket luxury load-lugger, fashion icon, style statement or mud-mauler supreme, the Range Rover was and remains the real deal. Designed through the 1960s, launched in 1970, produced for 26 years and exhibited in the Louvre Museum as a piece of automotive art, it remains an unlikely classic but one that’s a practical proposition in every sense and one that can usefully be used as a second family vehicle.


That lusty, rumbling V8 is a joy, less so the diesels, but the smile comes from their better economy. For off-road fun, it’ll romp in the mud with the best of them or waft down to the south of France, especially the later models which are Rolls-Royce like plush.

The body roll was tamed over the years by front and rear anti-roll bars (now available as aftermarket fitments and well worth installing), and more by owners who uprate the plethora of rubber bushes with polyurethane alternatives. Early pre-1980 cars are quite crude; the transmission is noisy and there’s the typical Land Rover backlash in the system.

What’s more the non-assisted steering is heavy and laden while early four-speed gearboxes are equally heavy going, so consider who is also going to drive the vehicle before deciding on the model.

The four-doors and the air sprung LSE, are very comfortable so give you the best of both worlds but it’s the three-doors everybody is clamouring for due to their certain style. Common to all are great off-road capabilities and practicality.

Best Models

Depends what you want from the vehicle. Early two-door Range Rovers are the most collectible but the four-doors most practical and easier to live with – and a lot cheaper so watch prices rise. Diesels aren’t half as good as the trusty lusty V8 even if economy is scary. It’s best to seek the advice from a specialist such as Kingsley Cars of Whitney, Oxfordshire:


You can buy a rough runner for about £1000 but what a liability it will be. For a fair vehicle from the 1970-79 era, expect to pay £4000. Later, fuel injected and preferably 3.9 versions, go for £5000 upwards and double this for a later LWB; top four doors, £12K upwards. Two-doors, which have the most classic appeal) can sell for 30 grand and upwards and top cars double this (especially if its a development VELAR badged car). The first production car recently sold for more than £200,000!



Conceived as an upmarket Land Rover the Range Rover was launched in June as a three-door shooting brake, powered by a de-tuned, carb-fed 3.5-litre V8 engine as used in Rover’s fl agship cars. It had an agricultural four-speed gearbox, no power steering and a hose-out vinyl interior. Like its hard-working Land Rover predecessors, the skin panels are mostly aluminium, fitted to a steel base unit all of which sits on a strong welded box-section ladder chassis (also used on the Discovery).


January revises sees cloth trim, carpeting, rear wash wipe installed while power steering at last becomes optional – later that year the heated rear window is thrown in for free, too.


Four-door (actually five) is introduced and quickly outsells earlier two-door. Super luxury Vogue trim is offered and for ’82 automatic transmission becomes available.


Earlier overdrive option (1978) at last replaced by a five-speed gearbox and new transfer gearbox. Trim upgrades all round.


Vogue model, now the best seller, gains fuel injected engine from Rover SD1. To cope, the chassis is beefed up to cut cornering roll and build quality is – thankfully – steadily improved.


Turbodiesel option, care of Italian VM surfaces and, two years later a new Borg Warner chain-drive 4x4 set up is fitted for welcome added refinement.


is upped to a beefier 3.9-litres while VM diesel is now 2.5-litres. ABS is made standard on Vogue SE and optional elsewhere, gearing on five-speed manual models is also revised.


Longer wheelbase LSE with an eight inch stretch while V8 is enlarged to 4.2-litres. VM diesel replaced by home-spun Discovery unit.

We Reckon...

Along with the Scimitar GTE, the Range Rover is a genuine classic that can work for its keep and like the Reliant make sound second vehicles. Now a fashion statement, but the original remains the best!

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