What's the Story?
When Nick bought this lovely machine nearly two decades ago, it was only a couple of years old but had already covered 65,000 miles, ferrying a British Aerospace director around the country. He discovered this much from the dealer who sold it to him, Sturgess of Leicester. Not realising just how special it was at the time, he used it as his everyday transport, racking up even more miles. ‘I was a regional manager for a national training company. I used to train all the electrical apprentices. The car simply continued to do the same sort of mileage it had done from the beginning,’ says Nick. It’s now covered 197,000 miles.
He may not have realised how unique his Classic was at first, but he quickly found out. ‘Just before I bought it, I joined the Range Rover Register. Not long after, the Register was doing a display at the Heritage Motor Centre and I rolled up in this. Of course, the club members all came around it and said, “Right, let’s have it on the stand”. Two guys who worked on the production line at the factory came over and said, “We know this car. This had a bad bonnet on it and was sent back twice to get it replaced”. They confirmed it was someone high up in British Aerospace who’d ordered the car, although they didn’t know exactly who.’
This might explain why it doesn’t have a Solihull factory CVC registration number – it was a BAe vehicle, not part of Land Rover’s fleet. That distinctive SKY reg is its original, just in case you’re wondering!
LSEs are rare in their own right, but what makes this one unique? For one thing, it has a mobile phone handset mounted in the rear nearside passenger door. For younger readers, having a mobile phone in your car in the 1990s was a big deal, and this bricksized Panasonic is typical of the times. It also has C-post lighting both sides, so that the director could catch up with paperwork on the way to evening meetings.
The rear seats have head restraints, which is unique, and the paint and trim colours are special – Rioja Red Micatallic instead of the standard Trocadero Red, and non-standard grey leather interior. More on this later. That’s about it as far as changes from the standard LSE to this Autobiography go, but it was clearly put together for a specific order for a specific BAe director. If you know who, Nick would love to hear from you.
Our Favourite Bit
The engine block was replaced by a Land Rover dealership at about 80k-90k miles, after a split heater pipe led to major engine damage. ‘We were on holiday in Spain, carrying all the camping kit for six of us, and heading north to catch the ferry home. The heater hose at the back of the block developed a small split, unbeknown to us.’ They got a tow to a garage, where the hose was fixed and the system refilled. But the damage had been done and it continued to leak. However, there was no option but to press on; Nick and his passengers were all due back at work on the Monday. ‘I would never have believed a V8 engine could do 500 miles with no water in it, but this one did. We made it to the ferry,’ recalls Nick. It cost £2000 to fix.
And the Verdict from LRO?
Nick has a deep commitment to his LSE and is making plans for its long-term future. He’s enjoyed using it and living with it for about 20 years and hopes to continue to do so. On a cold and miserable day it brings a warm glow to see how much enjoyment he gets from his terrific – and unique – Range Rover.
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.