Calum's RR has been suspiciously reliable, David's T2 has been out and about and Keith gets his Lancia ready for auction.
1998 RANGE ROVER 2.5 DSE
OWNED SINCE November 2015
MILEAGE SINCE LAST REPORT 2128
TOTAL MILEAGE 180,868
LATEST COSTS My self-respect
My problem-prone P38 hasn’t exactly dispelled the idea of the secondgeneration Range Rover being Land Rover’s unruly child. It’s become a running joke in the CCW office, with my 1990s relic taking no end of verbal abuse. ‘I threw up and it reminded me of your P38,’ was one cracker that left me deflated. I haven’t really helped matters, however, by reporting back the string of maladies and mechanical quirks that has helped cement its reputation.
Things haven’t really improved since my last report ( CCW, 13 January), with the ECU recently locking down the car and leaving me stranded, the radiator hoses perishing spectacularly while traversing the family fields in Scotland, and an unshakable suspicion that the head gasket is slowly dying.
However, I’m not judging it too harshly, as the long distances and torrid situations suffered would floor even a brand-new example, let alone my high-mileage specimen.
It took a string of Norfolk’s more gruelling greenlanes in its stride – while on road tyres – but a subsequent punt up the A11 in low range caused the transmission to have kittens.
Features editor David Simister, who was driving at the time in the interests of research, strongly denies he had anything to do with it.
Despite David’s best efforts to destroy the car, it survived the return trip to Northumberland with our sister mag Land Rover Owner International, ended up as a tracking car for Modern Classics in weather that would find otters staying indoors, and lugged a Volkswagen Golf home after an accident. It’s also acted as ad-hoc transport for Modern
Classics acting managing editor Nathan Chadwick when his Mercedes-Benz W123 decided to take a break from being a car and ended up serving as an impromptu removal van for one of his mates.
The fact that the P38 everyone derides in the office for being a bit rubbish is sought after by those in need means the darn thing has almost become a bit of a car park hero. All while still being my daily driver, of course!
Yet all of these feats are nothing compared to what I put it through over Christmas. The journey to Scotland included visiting relatives in Yorkshire, carting me and an axle-busting festive consignment through December’s floodwaters, before dealing with the heavily-rutted tracks I call home. Stupidly, I decided to go off-road on Boxing Day and found myself bogged down in an area so marshy that ramblers were losing their shoes in it, nearly killing themselves into the bargain. Road tyres didn’t help the situation and soon the RR was stranded.
A phone call to a bemused local farmer found several curse words sent in my direction, but after bribing him with a bottle of whisky, he trundled up with his tractor to fish me out, to no avail. The tractor heaved itself through the marsh, unable to so much as reach the P38, let alone tow it free.
Three days of heavy rain passed before the Range Rover was finally freed, by which point it was in a hell of a mess. Mud had seized the wheels, the brakes lines had been impaired and the gearbox was damaged. Yet, with only homemade repairs, it then transported me 400 miles through snow, ice and torrential rain back to Peterborough.
Consensus dictates that modern Range Rovers have become a status symbol for the nouveau riche, and I can’t help but agree. While my P38 may not be as honest as the original RR or as advanced as the modern equivalent, you can’t deny it’s a class act.
It’s been full of weekly shops and wet dogs, keeping me moving despite a few hiccups. Last month, its future was uncertain. Now, eyeing it on my driveway, caked in mud and bearing battle scars that would cause a Land Rover Defender to flinch, it’s clear that the problem child has come into its own.
‘After bribing the farmer with a bottle of whisky, he sent his tractor to rescue the Range Rover, to no avail’
Calum defended his Range Rover to the hills, where he promptly got it stuck. At least the Range Rover picks places to break down where there is plenty of water nearby for the radiator. The outlook for this demonic P38 looks to be optimistic. Until the next breakdown, of course.