It’s been a busy couple of months for my pair of old wagons. And despite being the less utilitarian of the two, it’s this Classic that’s been doing the lion’s share of the work, rather than my Defender 110.
I bought the Range Rover about a year ago from a friend, who had been offered an LSE. He had come to pick up some parts from the main dealer I was working at – and as soon as I clapped eyes on the green Vogue, I knew I had to have it.
We struck a deal soon after, and I took delivery of the 1994 softdash – matt black tailgate, rotten bonnet, scabby Freestyles and all.
Happily the original Vogue wheels were stashed in the boot, but were looking tired. They went off to a mate’s to be refurbished, along with the lower tailgate.
The tailgate had been reskinned and rattle-canned black, so I asked him to spray it the correct colour while he was doing the wheels. Unfortunately, although he’d ordered the paint to the correct code, the shade was miles off and the tailgate stood out like a sore thumb.
I had a stroke of luck when another friend bought a Plymouth Blue Classic a few months later, which just happened to have an Ardennes tailgate fitted! I bought it from him when he found the correct one for his, and finally I had a vehicle that was all one colour.
The original bonnet was also beyond saving, so I bought a good used one. While it was off I took the time to remove the decker panel and check the bulkhead, a notorious rust spot on later Classics. I was pleasantly surprised to find only two small holes, which I welded up and sealed before rustproofing the whole area.
Maintenance-wise, the car has been treated to a whole new ignition system, which has cured the slightly lumpy idle. It’s fitted with a single-point LPG system, which I’ll be having checked over by a local specialist before I try to use it.
This should hopefully take the edge off its wallet-emptying petrol habit – 400 miles in one day helping a friend move house returned an average of 15mpg. And I daren’t add up the fuel bill with my twin-axle car trailer behind it.
The fate of the Classic is still undecided. I’d like some cash to spend on the Defender, but it’s just so nice to drive. I hate being decisive. I think.
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