What's the story?
Interest in Land Rover's original flagship model has grown and grown, and the words 'Suffix A' are on the lips of everybody who knows what's what. However, Land Rover moved to Suffix B for a reason; Suffix-A models had shortcomings. So from January 1973, improvements were made and the final letter of Range Rovers' chassis numbers became B.
That only lasted about 10 months, and then it changed to C, when more modifications were made - all of which makes the Suffix B Range Rovers relatively rare.
The one you see here has chassis number 355-05406B, which owner Andrew Honychurch thinks makes it one of the first 15 Suffix-B models built. It dates from January 1973, when its first owner bought it from a Land Rover dealer in Reading. Not long afterwards he sold it on to an engineer who lavished attention on it, and Andrew - who runs Honychurch Classics - bought it from the owner's daughter about 12 years ago.
In fact, he wasn't looking for another Range Rover - he wanted some decent front seats for his press-launch car, NXC 231H. 'I found some,' says Andrew, 'but when I rang up the seller, I discovered they were still attached to a car!'
He bought the whole thing and soon realised the Range Rover was far too good to be broken for spares. It had done just 72,000 miles and was last on the road in the late 1980s. 'There was some rot in it, but it was completely original. The idea was to keep it in case I had problems with the one I was using for everyday transport.' But last summer he thought it was time to do something with the Suffix B. So he got stuck in.
The chassis went away to be sandblasted, along with the axles, and Andew rebuilt the engine, The gearbox was fine and needed no special work. The body frame was carefully repaired before going for a repaint in the original Sahara Dust.
Our favourite bit?
There's no other vehicle quite like an early Range Rover, and new owner Neil McConachie is a very lucky man. New owner? Yes, it didn't take long for this Range Rover to attract one. 'It's going to a friend of a friend. He has several other Land Rovers and I know he'll enjoy using it.'
And the verdict?
No early Range Rover tracks arrow-straight like a modern vehicle, and Andrew smiles at my constant corrections of the steering wheel. 'It's a bit like a boat,' he says. 'Point it in the right direction and just let it go wherever it wants.'
Even so, this Range Rover Classic with all-new suspension bushes is as tight and tidy as they get. Once you become used to the lean in corners, it's tremendous fun to drive.
It goes well too, with surprising urge; the gearbox changes cleanly as long as you take your time. On the move, there's an irresistible cacophony as the V8's exhaust roar meets the steady whine from the transmission.
Model: Two-door Suffix B
Chassis No: 355-05406B
Engine: 3.5-litre carburettor-fed V8 petrol
Power: 135bhp at 4750rpm
Torque: 185lb ft at 2500rpm