Rot­ten Ran­g­ies and fully loaded Ley­lands

Unique Cars - - GARAGE GURUS -

Re­gard­ing your re­cent col­umn where you men­tion the Range Rover: My fa­ther bought the sec­ond-last one from t he f irst ship­ment to Aus­tra lia in t he early 70s and it was great; re­li­able and not wob­bly like his sec­ond one from 1980 which played up a lot. Range Rover soft­ened the sus­pen­sion too much and the side to side sway would make some peo­ple car-sick.

The f irst Rangie was ver y re­li­able but didn’t like dirt y f uel and would block t he carby, but t hat was prett y much the only thing that ever went wrong in the f ive years he owned it. The sec­ond one seemed pos­sessed, with some­thing new play ing up week ly and he only kept it 18 months (war­ranties back then were only one year).

Money prob­lems meant we had a P76 si x-cylin­der, four-speed man­ual in be­tween which was sur­pris­ingly good con­sid­er­ing it was used as Dad’s work car. And, be­ing a builder, he a lways had about half a tonne in t he boot, on t he roof, and a box tra iler hitched up. The Leyland went through a few clutches but t hat was it. Even­tu­ally we cracked the block on a trip to t he Snow ys so it’s prob­a­bly at the Cooma wreck­ers if t here’s any t hing lef t. Any way, love your col­umn. Keep it up,

Andrew Wil­lis, Email.

Mar­ley says...

I ONCE owned a Range Rover, Andrew, so I can ab­so­lutely sym­pa­thise with your poor old dad’s tales of woe. In the case of most makes and mod­els, they usu­ally im­prove over time as the man­u­fac­turer irons out the bugs and learns how to put them to­gether. Not the weirdos at Range Rover back in the day. The early Ran­g­ies were cer­tainly flawed, but as they got more com­pli­cated, they seemed to be­come even less re­li­able.

Fi­nally, Range Rover ar­rived at the P38 model in the 90s and, from the per­spec­tive of many on­look­ers and those un­for­tu­nate enough to have ac­tu­ally bought one, also ar­rived at the ab­so­lute nadir of poor build qual­ity and zero re­li­a­bil­ity. As in, this car stands as a mon­u­ment to stink-lines and a steam­ing les­son to all other car-mak­ers on how to get it wrong. And, no, I didn’t own a P38.

Mine was an early four-door that I ac­quired

from a mate after swap­ping him a dozen bot­tles of plonk for the keys to the Rangie. He didn’t see me com­ing, he sent for me. The RR soon de­vel­oped all sorts of ex­cuses for not run­ning prop­erly, or at all, and that bloody Pommy shitheap is the only car I’ve owned in the last 40 years that has failed to make it home un­der its own steam. And that’s a deal breaker for me: Once I’ve had to call a towie, the re­la­tion­ship is as good as over.

Good to know that the P76 was a bit bet­ter, though. Most peo­ple only re­ally think of the P76 in its al­loy V8 form, but the six-cylin­der unit was cer­tainly a player at the time. Th­ese days, of course, a V8 Targa Flo­rio is ac­tu­ally start­ing to be worth real money, but a six-pot P76 would prob­a­bly still cost more to re­store than it would ever be worth.

So, yeah, maybe your old car is still at the big wreck­ing yard at Cooma. Flynns, the yard is called, and I used to drive past it on the school bus into Cooma ev­ery day. Ap­par­ently, you can have a hunt around in there for a $10 do­na­tion at the gate, but you know what? I’ve never set foot in the place. I nearly got there a few weeks ago when I drove from New­cas­tle to Mel­bourne via the Snowys in Tor­ren’s Volvo 242GT (long story) but Flynns was closed that day. Next time…

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