LRO Challenge: P38 to Ireland!

Twenty years ago the Range Rover P38 finally saw the Classic into retirement. To celebrate going it alone, Calum takes his 2.5 DSE for a road trip around Ireland to prove its worth. 

My second-generation Range Rover takes a bashing from those who deem themselves ‘clued-up’ about Land Rovers. It’s been called various things over the past 18 months, ranging from ‘The biggest pile of scrap I’ve ever clapped eyes on’ to ‘Mummy, my eyes are burning’. This is wholly unfair – as it’s far more reliable than LRO makes out.

Purchased for the measly sum of £1300 back in October 2015, it’s list of achievements for the magazine has been impressive to say the least. Besides being my daily transport, the plucky golden wonder has undertaken:

  • Off-road Photoshoots
  • Tracking car duties for Practical Classics, Modern Classics and Classic Car Weekly (where the editor promptly broke it, I should add)
  • Emergency transport tasks when other motoring journalists have been without a car
  • Various road trips to Scotland, Portsmouth and Wales
  • A battle with a hovercraft (more on that later…)
  • Van jobs for ClassicCarsForSale’s roadshow
  • Being a removals vehicle for friends moving house
  • At least a million greenlanes. No exaggeration.*

    *Some exaggeration  

Needless to say, these tasks aren’t easy on the old girl. Over the past 18 months the odometer has increased by 35,000 miles, soon to be brushing 200,000. And seeing as this is my own vehicle – and therefore run on a shoestring – those miles went almost service free, bar a home-bodged oil and filter change.

Out of all of these duties and my, frankly rubbish, DIY servicing skills very little in all reality has gone wrong. Some bits have fallen off and sometimes it kicks up a new noise or knock, but thanks to work schedules and sleep depravation, even the servicing for the P38 went horribly wrong. I ended up pouring a bottle of Fanta into the expansion tank rather than water after the coolant hoses were eaten by the fan, dancing on a broken bearing, trying to get home from Scotland – yet the P38 took it all on the chin. It even got me home safely – albeit with Fanta citrus freshness spewing from the heater vents.

And so, after the LRO hyenas have continued to berate my P38 like some sort of unwanted relative, it’s time to claw ground back. My Range Rover broke down before the Portavadie trip last year, so we would have to ramp everything up a notch.

Team P38 will be heading to Ireland – first Donegal then all the way down south – via greenlanes and historical points of interest. And to prove it’s a capable hauler, I’ll be taking my parents and the family dogs. For everything that goes wrong, It’s been agreed that I have to perform a forfeit – dictated to me by Neil, Martin, John and Mark.

May god have mercy on my soul. 

Part 2 arriving soon!