Despite its near-standard looks, this gleaming two-door Classic is a unique machine, thanks to a history with one of the greatest bands in history, and its bespoke conversion by the company that later became Overfinch.
Originally commissioned by Led Zeppelin’s manager Peter Grant, the 1981 Range Rover was intensively modified by aftermarket specialist Schuler.
What is a Schuler Range Rover?
Schuler was the forerunner of Overfinch, a name known for modified go-faster Range Rovers (and lately for more design-focused upgrades across the full Land Rover stable). The name changed in 1985, and up until then Schuler UK was a British arm of a German parts supplier. It had started offering performance enhancements for Range Rovers from 1975.
The engine in the ex-Led Zeppelin Schuler is the familiar 3.5-litre Rover V8, breathed upon by Schuler, with a different camshaft, freer flowing exhaust and tweaked distributor timing achieving an extra 40bhp.
The firm introduced a 4x4 system by Ferguson Four (of Jensen FF fame) in order to couple the V8 with an automatic gearbox – something which was not available from Land Rover at the time. Together with the addition of an ABS system by Maxaret costing £1495 (over £8000 in today’s money) the package of upgrades virtually doubled the cost of the base vehicle.
Schuler Range Rovers are extremely rare. Unique touches for this particular 1981 example include a top-of-the-range sound system with Pioneer TS202 speakers and CD changer, and of course those Wolfrace Slog Mag alloy wheels.
Current owner Kieron Maughan of Rockstar Cars tells us: ‘This car had all of the features we now know as Range Rover luxuries, long before the ‘In Vogue’ edition was created, making it a prototype Vogue if you like.’
Restoration of the ‘Led Zep’ Range Rover
We featured the car in print in 2015, not long after Kieron had acquired and recommissioned it. He’s been piecing together its history ever since, and recently treated the car to a professional strip-down.
‘It was given Ziebart rust protection from new, so in two-door Range Rover terms it was well preserved and the chassis was very good,’ Kieron tells us. ‘We had to replace a few panels, sills and the spare wheel well, but we repaired where we could to keep it as original as possible.'
The Pioneer speakers were also restored, and although the original head unit has been lost, the original amplifier remains.
'Classic Bodyworx were responsible for the bodywork and respray, and did an ace job of preserving the originality,’ Kieron says.
3D printing was used to create unobtainable pieces of trim around the lower parts of the door apertures: part numbers 390636, 390631, 390632 and 390637. ‘Jay from Jabawoki scanned and remodelled the item, redesigning the four components to fit with modern 3D resin printing methods. Jay is very experienced in what he does, so worked with a number of different materials before selecting this particular type of resin print for the particular conditions of a heavy door being repeatedly slammed on it.’
Custom stickers were required for the original Wolfrace alloys, as all the existing ones on the market were too small. Kieron used and recommends Andy from SDS Race Graphics.
‘The trim was kept as original as possible, and Famous Four came to the rescue a number of times,’ says Kieron.