What's the story?
This 1971 two-door Range Rover languished almost forgotten for years in the corner of a haulage yard – but after a £40k rebuild it’s now one of the coolest classics on the streets of London.
As enthusiasts, how many of us are tempted to let our hearts rule our heads when we spot a neglected Land Rover? That’s just what happened to the guy who had spotted this Range Rover, and instead of ignoring the poor old thing he decided to see if he could buy it. But, although early Range Rovers have surged in value over the last few years, buying a neglected example that’s been off the road for so long was still a pretty brave thing to do.
Buying the Range Rover was the easy bit. Figuring out what to do with it was another matter and the rescued Classic sat outside its new owner’s house for a year. During that time he devised a cunning plan. He had cannily figured that the initial depreciation on a brand new Range Rover over the first couple of years of ownership was huge – more or less equal to the restoration cost of the Classic, in fact. So all he needed to do was hang on to his existing Range Rover for a little while longer – the money he saved by not upgrading would pay to put his new toy back on the road. The two-door was to be restored, but with a twist: it was also to be subtly tweaked for life on the mean streets of 2014. In looks it had to remain very much a 1971 Range Rover, however – ‘subtle’ was the watchword.
Our favourite bit
We shoot pictures at a cable recycling plant and one of the workers wanders across with a big smile on his face. He can relate to this Classic and what it represents, and he loves it. Then the boss comes over to see how we’re getting on. We suspect the shiny new Porsche in the yard is his, so it’s interesting to get his reaction to the rebuilt Range Rover. He loves it too. Enough said.
And the verdict from Jerry Thurston?
You know, I surprised myself here. I’m a big fan of the original Range Rover and hence very wary of people’s attempts to ‘improve’ it. But this machine has gone a long way to changing my perception. The modifications are subtle, even invisible in many cases. Not that my opinion matters, especially as it’s not my Range Rover – but I wish it was!
Model: 1971 Range Rover Classic
Engine: 2.5 diesel JE Developments Rover V8
Transmission: LT77 five-speed manual gearbox with Borg Warner viscous transfer box
Chassis: Original, repaired to as-new standard
Suspension: Standard ride height Twenty-Ten uprated anti-roll bars, heavy-duty coil springs, Bilstein dampers and SuperPro suspension bushes
Wheels and tyres: MaxXtrac Manta 8x16in alloys, 255/65R16 Toyo Open Country A/T