A message to those who bleat on about the Freelander 1 not being a proper Land Rover – it is. However, here is how to make one even better…
Let’s just get this out of the way first – the Freelander has a green oval brandished on the bodywork and survived the Camel Trophy intact. It’s a proper Land Rover, perhaps the last horse from Rover’s stable to be a ‘genuine’ Land Rover – as BMW then took the reins before passing them onto Ford, and then becoming Tata’s blingy new toy.
Capable in the rough stuff and unafraid of mud, snow or the working classes, you’d be surprised at how sprightly and determined a well-maintained Freelander on the correct tyres can be. Yet, that doesn’t mean you can’t find accessories to help push the humble Freelander 1 to new frontiers. Just like ‘real’ Land Rovers, various retailers and manufacturers have tasty additions to make your Hippo go further.
TD4 Freelander 1 Winch Mount
Tailored to house a Goodwinch 8.5 short drum winch with synthetic rope, this bolts straight onto the front of any Td4 Freelander 1 (both pre- and post-facelift) using ten bolts. You will need to cut the bumper to fit, but this allows you to fit a guard to the underside of the vulnerable lower area of the radiator.
Neil says: ‘If you want a more discreet look, move the solenoid pack under the bonnet’.
When out playing on off-road courses and tackling Greenlanes like a steroid-packed mountain goat or carting muddy tools and dogs around, the boot carpet can start to suffer. This is where a heavy-duty boot liner comes in handy – making the removal of dirt, wood chippings, body parts and the like a doddle.
Calum says: ‘Look, she was dead when I found her. Now stop calling.’
Freelander Floor Mats
The same problem with delving off-road in your Freelander can cause soily havoc in the front, as you drag mud and nature back into the Land Rover with you. Crafted to fit the shape of the footwell to prevent movement, with raised edges to keep water from spilling onto the carpets and creating damp smells.
Mark says: ‘I fitted a set of Autobiography runner mats to our Freelander to reduce the amount of crud building up in the footwells. They've certainly been tested - especially the passenger one, where photographers jump in and out, dragging mud in.’
Hawkeye Diagnostic Tool
Let’s not beat about the bush, occasionally Land Rovers enjoy a bit of electrical tomfoolery. Often when it’s raining, you’ve got somewhere to be, or you have just commented on your vehicles impeccable reliability. And the Freelander is no different, but don’t panic – as the Hawkeye tool can help you diagnose the issue, which is normally easy and cheap to fix. This tool can also be used on Defenders up until 2007, Discovery (1,2 and 3), Range Rover (Classic, P38, L322 and Sport) and Freelander 1/2.
Calum says: ‘I use this on my P38 everyday. Actually, I’m not sure that’s a good thing…’
Universal Towing Jaw
If you have a horsebox to pull, or find yourself yanking a lesser 4x4 from the mucky stuff, a tow bar is quite often essential. Also beneficial when the local boy racer insists on hitting the rear of your Freelander – meaning your bumper should escape damage.
Martin Says: ‘Compatible with 30-, 40- and 50mm trailer eyes.’
Wheels and Tyres
When venturing into the rough stuff, it’s always wise to have the correct tyres fitted to the correct wheels. You wouldn’t go hiking in crocs or turn up to a running race in wellington boots – so you shouldn’t go wading in the wild with road tyres, either. You can find a huge selection in the LRO tyres section.
John Pearson Says: ‘Proper tyres are a must – don’t chance it!’