It’s been rather a long time since I took up residency at the head of AROnline’s top table and, since then, I’ve been looking for a new project to keep me amused in between the long hours editing Classic Car Weekly and Modern Classics. In between offers of cheap Rover 75s, and high-mileage 600s, I’ve been trying to secure something different, something I’ve not owned before, and it’s been slightly more difficult than I had first anticipated.
Being honest, having a Citroen C6 as my main daily runner makes the task of being on the fleet a little bit of a thankless job. After all, that looks like no other car on the road, drives wonderfully, and cost me a tenth of the money it should do given how good it is – French presidents swear by no other vehicle. There is an Audi 90 knocking about in my fleet, which I’ve yet to commit to, so what I wanted from my AROnlinemobile was the ability to fit into my life, and not really overlap with my other cars. Plus, I have a dog, and she gets muddy.
So, this Freelander does actually fit in rather well. I wasn’t actually looking for one, it kind of found me, one day in the office. My colleague, Calum Brown, web producer for Classic Cars For Sale and a serial Land Rover nut, mentioned to me that he had a Freelander for sale. It didn’t really register – consciously – for a while, no doubt buried in the maelstrom of my daily grapple keeping the Audi running and fretting that my Citroen is going to break a turbo.
However, when it did click, I asked if I could have a look at the Freelander. Before I knew it, I’d knocked up a deal, and pretty much concurrently with waving goodbye to my MINI, I’d acquired a new Land Rover. Well, I say it’s a Land Rover, but this car has Rover Group-era DNA coursing through its veins and, from the moment you get in, you’re in a world of brittle plastics and angular mouldings that mark this out as a kissing cousin of the Rover 200/400 and 800.
I’ve literally just run a cloth over it, and established that it’s a BMW M47-powered TD4, with 93,000 miles on the clock, and a full service history – but, in truth, it feels like it’s led a hard life, rattling and clonking over anything resembling a normally pitted UK road. But it pulls well, stops in a straight line, and feels like it is going to be a great project – that is, there is going to be a lot to do. We’ve already ascertained that Mike Humble doesn’t like them very much – as he explained in this popular essay, it’s a hotbed of unreliability.
I’ve already started poking and prodding – there will be an update soon – but, overall, I like this car, and feel instantly at home in it. I will keep you posted about how it goes, and report on how the many fixes it’s undoubtedly going to need, in these pages. That I am so warm to it already, of course, wouldn’t be a big surprise given my ownership history. It’s nice to be back!
Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics 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 unfeasible adventures all across Europe.