Fear is a powerful motivator - and with prices for early Range Rover Classics rapidly on the rise, there is perhaps no better time to panic and buy a clapped-out, untaxed two-door, located hundreds of miles from home.
'It's just in those overgrown hedges,' says Mark, the smartly dressed and somewhat nervous father of two who's hoping to rid himself of the car. 'Ooh, yes - I can just about make it out.'
Now, my eyesight is normally pretty good for a middle-aged man with limited prospects, but the vehicle we are searching for has been subjected to a DIY jungle camouflage paintjob, which I assume was applied by a previous teenage owner with a handful of rattle cans. Either that, or this 1974 Range Rover served as a frontline battlewagon for a secret jungle warfare outfit no one's ever heard of.
Having hacked the hawthorn back sufficiently, it becomes painfully clear that this Range Rover has had something of a hard life. On the plus side, the rear seats are in good order and the headlining is mercifully intact. The original front seats are missing, replaced by modern rally jobs. The period steering wheel had also vanished, replaced with a smaller, sportier version. Thankfully, I've been able to replace both the wheel and the seats with the correct items. I'm pleased with myself for tracking down a pair of original Range Rover seats and a genuine steering wheel.
Pleasingly, the dashboard hasn't split or cracked, and all of the instruments and acessories have somehow remained intact. The 12-volt cigar lighter, having sat untouched in its socket for more than four decade, has never been used in anger.
There's a mysterious black lever that appears to be a gun grip borrowed from a Harrier jump jet. Pressing the red button merely releases the handbrake and not a pair of Sidewinder missiles as I had initially hoped.
Connoisseurs of chunky 1970s gearknobs will delight in the Range Rover's injection-moulded plastic whopper. What's really needed is a string-backed driving glove to fully enjoy some hardcore manual gearchanging on the move.
Throbbing lustily beneath the bonnet lurks a thirsty 3.5-litre V8 motor that exceeds even our village policeman's frightening capacity for drink. But a seized float in the cavernous petrol tank creates the perennial impression it's positively brimming with fuel.
Crippling consumption aside, the Range Rover has thus far proven itself as a capable performer. Indeed, the Japanese lady next door, so impressed was she by its silken tsunami of power, composed a verse of Haiku to commemorate the ride I gave her to the corner shop after she'd ran out of milk last Thursday:
Foot deeper into carpet
Surging velvet tide.
While this 44-year-old Range Rover is terrific on tarmac, it remains to be seen how it will behave off-road. Early indications are that its four-wheel-drive bits are still working just as Charles Spencer King intended, and in the unlikely event that hte bomb-proof gearbox should explode, another grime-encrusted LT95 transmission is sitting in readiness as a spare in the boot.
There's a lot still to put right, but I've made a decent amount of progress. The military colour scheme is in rapid retrat, following a blistering chemical attack with paint thinners and rags. The monster truck wheel rims and bog-trotting tyres have recently made way for Michelin-shod Rostyle wheels.
Once fully restored, the keys (and the Range Rover too...) will go to my darling wife. She probably wouldn't still be my wife if I'd attempted to hand it over in all its jungle camo 'splendour'...
See your vehicle in the next issue of LRO, email theo@lro.