Nearly all Land Rover aficionados can claim to have a chequered past when it boils down to experience.
Cutting my teeth on two ruined Series IIIs, one still ransacking my bank account as we speak, and briefly running a wildly temperamental 4.0 V8 Range Rover P38, you would be forgiven for thinking I had suffered enough – but the biggest culprit for financial woe by a country mile is the Freelander 1.
I’ve encountered four in my time, and three of them have exploded in spectacular fashion. I learned to drive in a 2004 1.8 K-Series example, which blew a head gasket on the busiest roundabout this side of fatal.
I stacked a last-of-the-line 2007 Td4 to the gunnels and set off for Budapest with four friends. That promptly collapsed, suffering from catastrophic clutch and brake failure.
I drove a Y-reg four-door petrol for about a mile before it started making noises akin to spanners clashing in a cement mixer. And then there’s my current one.
A year ago I found an early 2001 model begging for some TLC. It’s far from concours and clearly been abused by previous owners, but I totally adore it. After an almost complete stripdown it’s back on the road and was recently introduced to the off-road course at Yarwell.
Despite lairy antics, my Freelander hides a secret; it’s only two-wheel drive. Amazingly, it traversed nearly everything the accompanying Land Rovers did bar two sizeable hill climbs, and appeared to have escaped the punishment unfazed.
Sadly, it wasn’t the case: my alternator died, leaving me stranded in the middle of nowhere.
Still, being the perfect hybrid of Land Rover and car on a budget, you won’t find me parting with it anytime soon. Unless a tasty P38 makes itself apparent…
'You won’t find me parting with it anytime soon. Unless a tasty P38 makes itself apparent…'
Martin says: 'Calum - you have brought this all on yourself...'