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Blog : Oh my, oh my, oh my… Range Rover love

Keith Adams

Range Rover (2)

Last week, my Citroën C6 embarrassed itself a little bit by throwing up a bunch of errors and then losing power. These things happen – it’s a 10-year old French car, and one that actually so far hasn’t cost me a penny to run in the nine months I’ve owned it. Still, never one to look too closely at my failures, I decided to ask around the CCW office and see if anyone had anything I could borrow until I could get the C6 up and running again (it is now, by the way).

Our Web Producer and all-round good egg, Calum Brown, jumped into the fray and suggested I might want to take his latest purchase, a soft-dash Range Rover Classic, which he’s taken on to replace his troublesome Overfinch-tuned P38 2.5-litre diesel. The fact that it took me a little longer than a nano-second to accept his gracious offer really did come as a surprise. But accept I did so, after another long day in the office, I found myself climbing aboard one of my favourite ever cars and, in the process, raising a cheery smile.

Yes, it’s safe to say that I have a soft spot for the Range Rover and, although it’s been years since I’ve driven one and even longer since I last owned one, the pull to have another one in my life remains as strong as ever. Maybe it’s the combination of timeless styling, the easy burble of the V8 under the bonnet and the imperious driving position, but I go weak-kneed every time I see one. Especially one like Calum’s – a Vogue-spec four-door on three-spokes. All it’s missing is a beige leather interior for true Range Rover nirvana.

As I pulled onto the A1 and into the night, I eased back into Range Rover driving and found myself smiling widely at the experience. The wonderful visibility the lofty driving position affords is a sight to behold – and, these days, it feels positively tiny when compared to its modern contemporaries. Heck, my C6 is an ocean-going liner in comparison. As the miles ticked by, the effortless 70mph cruising was a wonderfully sybaritic experience – even more so, as I pulled onto the A47, and towards home.

By the time, I crunched gravel and made it back to the ranch, I felt like the Lord of the Manor. I’m not entirely sure that’s a good thing, but there’s no denying that, if a car can get you to where you want to go in one piece and make you feel good in the process, it’s doing a lot of things very well indeed. That’s certainly the case with Calum’s Range Rover Classic – it’s an adorable thing, really, and a genuinely impressive beast to drive more than 20 years after it rolled out of Solihull.

More than that, it’s a reminder of the towering achievement by The Rover Company to develop this car during the late 1960s, and for it to survive and flourish during some pretty dark times for its parent company. Quite rightly, it’s now regarded as one of the all-time greatest cars ever made – values of nice examples are already heading skywards and have been doing for some time. It makes me quite sad that I never kept the last one I had (which, to be fair, was nowhere as nice as this one) and have never bought another. I’ve had Discos and Freelanders, but neither quite hit the spot like this.

Unsurprisingly, Calum won’t sell his, so that means I’ll now have to become resigned to looking wistfully at Range Rover Classics when I see them on the road and repeating ‘I must get one of those one day’ to myself. Perhaps, by the time I decide to commit, it’ll be too late. I sincerely hope not…

Until then, I won’t be hurrying to give Calum’s keys back to him.

Range Rover (1)

Keith Adams

Keith Adams

Editor and creator AROnline at AROnline
Created www.austin-rover.co.uk in 2001 and built it to become the world's foremost reference source for all things BMC, Leyland and Rover Group, before renaming it AROnline in 2007.

Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Clsssics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...

Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasable adventures all across Europe.
Keith Adams
Posted in: AROnline Blogs

12 Comments on "Blog : Oh my, oh my, oh my… Range Rover love"

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  1. John says:

    I’ve owned three FL2’s and my current D4, but I’d jump at the chance to take a Range Rover like Calum’s out for a drive. Really pleased to hear that it wasn’t a disappointment!

    PS: I was always amazed to see that the FL2 is larger than the original Range Rover in virtually every dimension!

  2. Dan Entwisle says:

    FL2 has a bloody small boot though.

    I so want a Range Rover and I too get those weak knees moments.

    Last weekend while at my local Shop my dream Range Rover swept in. Ardennes Green very late 2 door on Rostyles and a J (1991/2 that is not 1970) plate.

    I just looked right from the castelations on the bonnet to its thin pillars and expanse of glass.

    I have few regrets in life.

    About 10 years ago I spotted a green Vague SE for sale on a car lot. It looked out of place amongst the run of the mill cheap family runabouts that this place usually sold.

    It wasn’t perfect. Slight rust in the tailgate. It was unlocked and inside I found a file that told the story of the cars life. Cosmetically it was no show winner but it was OK. On a K plate it had main dealer stamps and receipts from local specialists galore.

    My wife was with me. She knew it was an itch I needed to scratch despite really having no room in my life – or on my drive – for one.

    It was a couple of grand and she said she’d buy it for me that day if I really wanted it. The dealership was actually shut so I posted a note through the letter box.

    The proprietor called the next day. He’s taken it in as a part exchange. This wasn’t the sort of car he sold or really wanted to sell. He’d given a grand for it and offered it to me for not much more ‘to cover his costs’

    I was about to say yes when……….

    I bottled it.

    Visions of huge bills flashed through my mind. It was like buying a stately home at ex-council flat money but with stately home running costs.

    I should have taken a punt. A big regret.

  3. Jeff Morris says:

    Lower petrol prices in Australia make these even more attractive. We have a Classic Vogue SE very similar to the one above and a P38 4.6 HSE as our only cars. Despite having had some magnificent cars in the past, such as a manual Stag, 3.4 O/D Mk2 and a 4.2 SIII Sovereign, I have no hesitation in saying the Classic Range Rover is the best car I have ever owned. For exactly the reasons Keith has set out above. It puts a smile on my dial every time I take it out after 12 years of satisfying ownership! If a tidy 2 door or LSE came along I might even be tempted to expand the fleet…

  4. rich123 says:

    I love that shape of Range Rover. The modern ones are just too ‘bling’

  5. John says:

    @ Dan Entwisle

    My apologies; I should have said “exterior” dimensions.

    Having said that, the boot in the FL2 wasn’t huge, but at least it didn’t suffer the modern designers’ curse of sloping roof lines and rounded corners! As such, it made it hugely practical to carry what I needed to for work, while something like an Evoque is utterly, utterly hopeless!

  6. John says:

    @ rich123

    Agreed! The RR Classic is still a handsome thing, while the new one looks like they’ve run out of clever ideas and have simply tacked on fussy ornamentation instead

    The basic shape of the last two RR’s are okay, but they could really use a facelift like the one applied to the Jaguar XJ40 (X300) – giving the current shape an updated version of the details of the original car

  7. Stewart says:

    These are just the only SUV worth owning, it actually goes off road, tows a trailer with 2 16.2hh TBs on board out of a muddy show field without fuss, does not have the Chelsea tractor image and no premiership footballer owns one, or is likely to.

    I have 2.. both V8s (the ONLY engine for a range rover!) both on LPG and both Vogue SEs, one is a softdash

    • Big John says:

      V8? Hell yeah. You’d never look forward to opening a garage door and turning the key on a classic diesel engine, but a V8 though? A very different matter

  8. Greg70 says:

    Never owned one, a neighbour brought one home once, I will never forget the sound or the way is rocked from side to side when revved, it was alive.

    A great car, current generation are superb but for totally different reasons.

  9. ian says:

    Try paying for a RR CSK now. I saw one at a show recently for fifty grand. FIFTY GRAND?!!

  10. Keith S says:

    I have two of the beasties. A 92′ Vogue with factory auto and aircon and a Japanese import 92′ Vogue SE with all the bells and whistles acquired late 2014. Wonderful cars and according to the wife the most comfortable to travel in. Since we have been together over 20 years (the wife and I not the cars) with many cars passing through my hands I have to agree. Apart from the comfort they have a “presence” which sets them apart from everything else on the road or off it. Unsurpassed in my opinion.

  11. Adam says:

    After 20 years of wanting one, I spent five years owning a 1994 soft dash Vogue SE in Ardennes Green (and with a tan leather interior!) and I absolutely adored it. It never let me down, never failed to start and never needed rescuing but, in true Land rover fashion, there was always something small and insignificant but niggly not quite right with it – I treated this as part of its charm!

    Three years ago it went off for an MOT and came back having sailed through, but with seven advisories – five of which used the word “corrosion”. I decided to be practical and sold it (for just £500 less than I’d paid for it) and moved on to a sensible and far more economical Ford Focus.

    The Focus lasted 18 months and I now have a 2004 L322 Range Rover. I absolutely adore it and, by any measurable criteria, it is better than my old Classic. It’s faster, quieter, more economical, better equipped, more roomy, better built and even more comfortable than the old one. But do you know what? – like Keith, I still go all gooey on the increasingly rare occasions when a Classic drives past me and I still miss that old fella like crazy. It won’t be for a while yet, but I can see a soft dash LSE tucked in my garage one day, for high days and holidays and just generally cherishing.

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