It all started in April 2014, while I was in the middle of a full-on LSE restoration (as featured in the LRO March 2015 issue).
My brother and I decided that we ought to consider buying an early, Suffix-A two-door Range Rover Classic to restore, now, before all of them either crumble into rust or are sold for silly money. Dad agreed and we began searching for a suitable vehicle.
I spotted a red Suffix-A two-door on eBay, but the asking price was pretty high, so I dismissed it. A few weeks later, after dealing with some nasty surprises thrown up by the LSE restoration, I reconsidered the red two-door.
After speaking to Richard (the seller), Dad and I thought we should take a closer look, especially as there was a comprehensive pile of spare parts included in the sale price! I dragged a friend, Mark, down to Stafford for a look: two pairs of eyes are always better than one when it comes to such things.
After the usual look around, test-drive and review of the spare parts, I knew this was a vehicle not to be missed.
I agreed a price with Richard, and arranged to collect it as soon as I'd finished the LSE. About a month later, with the LSE's air suspension problems finally sorted out, Dad and I went to collect the two-door, taking his works van and a trailer.
Richard was adamant that it would drive the 250 miles back to Northumberland with no problems but I didn't want to take the risk. It was a good job that the van was a high top as it and the two-door were full with spare parts, including a complete two-door side frame, new tailgate, doors, rubber seals, a V8 engine complete with autobox and transfer box, four brand-new Michelin tyres and lots more.
Over the coming month the twp-door wasn't used much as we focused on completing the LSE project: but when I did get the chance to drive it, it was like driving for the first time again. Every journey is an adventure as it's so involving to drive; the long-throw gearstick, remembering to give it some choke and the size of the steering wheel. It's brilliant. I have to admit that it's more fun to drive than the LSE and nearly as thrilling as driving a truck. I stored the two-door over the winter, only starting it every few weeks to keep the battery charged up; it never failed to burst into life.
One lesson from the LSE rebuild was that I needed a bigger garage for the next project, the two-door restoration. That's when it really came into its own.
In order to build the new garage we had to clear numerous trees including a 35ft conifer, which showed no signs of moving in a hurry. After a few careful slices from my neighbour's chainsaw, the tree was safely on the ground but with a giant root still in the ground.
More chainsaw action and lots of digging finally got the root loose enough to move. The ideal machine to extract the root from the ground was obivously the two-door - its V8 torque would have no issues in removing the stump. So, with a two-ton lifting strap and a bit more digging, it was out. No problem.
The two-door was kept busy carting all the branches and trash off to the local tip. I think we must have done about 10 trips in total to clear the garden of the remains of the tree. The bigger stuff like the trunk was cut into smaller pieces and loaded into the back, and dropped off at my neighbour's log pile ready for him to burn when the time comes.
The rebuild is currently on hold at the moment as I have submitted plans for a second, bigger garage to be built complete with a two-post lft that will make taking the body off much easier.
I am hoping the plans will be approved any time now so the groundwork can begin. Happy times ahead.
Published in the August 2015 issue of Land Rover Owner. Download a digital issue, or order a back issue by calling 01858 438884.
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