What’s the story?
When Mike Park bought his Freelander it was a £600 eBay ‘bargain’ in need of a new cylinder head gasket. Having owned no fewer than 13 Freelander 1s, Mike bought most of them cheap with head gasket issues, fixed them then ran them until the MoT expired, when he stripped them for spares.
This three-door example was meant to be for his wife, replacing her company car, but then she changed her mind in favour for a Td4 five-door. Mike then decided to make something a bit different.
After weighing up the cost of fixing and tuning the K-Series engine, a couple of grand for only 20-30bhp more didn’t seem very good value for money. A more tempting option was to fit a remapped Rover 75 engine, potentially achieving around 200bhp for a lot less outlay. Decision made.
Our favourite bit?
It accelerates very briskly, with seemingly limitless enthusiasm for continuing to do so. The power and torque are smooth and predictable. The Freelander goes like the clappers when you want it to, but its equally happy driving sedately along like every other 1.8-petrol Freelander 1. The only clue that this one is a bit special is the naughty induction and chirruping noises .
And the verdict from LRO assistant editor Mark Saville?
What a fantastic conversion! It reveals just how good the original Freelander was, if given enough poke. Forget sticking Tdi engines into Series land Rovers – pop a 75 turbo into a Freelander 1. It’s more fun and a lot cheaper.
Model: Freelander 1 three-door
Engine: Rover 75 1.8-litre four-cylinder three-door
Power: 205bhp (estimated)
Torque: 200lb ft (estimated)
Transmission: Five-speed manual, permanent four-wheel drive, viscous coupling, intermediate reduction drive