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.