What’s the story?
Ray struck gold when a friend told him about a seemingly abandoned P38 in a local garage yard. Two years earlier, an incorrect diagnosis led the owner to give up on his pristine 1999 4.0L V8 HSE. What the mechanic thought was a head gasket failure or cracked liner problem was only a failing radiator. Ray bought the unloved Range Rover as a winter project for just £500 and… drove it home!
The P38 was in pristine condition, with an immaculate ivory leather interior and new tyres. ‘Going for an off-road project I didn’t want the 18 in wheels and plush interior, so sold them for £500 all in, and it paid for the Range Rover right away.’
Now stripped of seats, interior trim and soundproofing, Ray figures he could chop 18 inches off the rear. The rear side windows had to be removed, but all the plastic finishers and weather strips were reused, giving the conversion an almost ‘factory’ look. The rear boot now houses the spare wheel sandwiched between the tailgate and the two secondhand Cobra Monaco S rear bucket seats.
Ray custom-made rock sliders, after slightly trimming the front end of the side sills. More importantly, he designed both bumpers, using 2x4in section steel tube, bending them to shape before adding returned edges and even a tubular A-bar up front.
Our favourite bit
As you may have already noticed, the Range Rover is no longer sitting on its air suspension. Longer after market air springs are available, but they are only 2in higher; not enough for our man. Ray wanted to go ‘all out’ with almost three times as much. For the front axle he went for Britpart +2in Discovery 2 springs coupled with Disco 1 Terrafirma +2in dampers. On the back, he also used Britpart +2in Disco 2 springs, but with the addition of 1in spacers, before adding fron P38 Terrafirms +2in dampers. To get a 5.5in lift with +2in springs Ray installed heavy-duty units made for 2.7-tonne vehicles. The gutted-out, shortened P38 weighing less than two tons, barely put load on the springs.
And the verdict from LRO writer Jerome Andre?
It looks superb and conquers everything Ray throws at it. Excellent job!
Vehicle: 1999 P38 Vogue HSE
Engine: Petrol 'Thor' 4.0-litre V8
Torque: 250lb ft
Gearbox: ZF 4HP22EH
Transfer box: Borg Warner
Wheels: Steel 8x16in Modular
Tyres: 265/75R16 Insa Turbo Special Track
This feature appeared in the April 2016 issue of LRO. Current and Back issues are available to download on digital devices here. Please note, we only hold stocks of the the last three back issues.