1980 RANGE ROVER FLM PANELCRAFT
OWNED SINCE MILEAGE SINCE LAST REPORT TOTAL MILEAGE LATEST COSTS
IFebruary 1988 156,897 £105
t was a Classic Car Weekly press day quite unlike any other. We had more than 500 of your Drive-It Day pictures to wade through, and just one day to go through each and every one of them to get them ready for our big special issue.
I love Drive-It Day’s feelgood vibe, which came though in the photos, but the one you see here made me smile a bit more than most.
While I’d been chatting to classic owners at three separate shows across the North of England on the big day, my dad had done exactly what the Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs says Drive-It Day is all about. By taking FVE 852W down the road in sunny Southport to send in the snap above, he’d brought the Rangie’s long winter hibernation to an end and kickstarted a summer of enjoying it and taking it to shows.
The shot means a lot because I know the behind-the-scenes toil that’s gone on to get it to this stage. FLM Panelcraft’s last ever four-door Range Rover finally returned to the roads last year after an eight-year lay-up, but I know there were still plenty of jobs my dad wanted to do once the clocks went back. ‘It really is Drive-It Day!’ Simister Sr holds that day’s Sunday Times to prove he revived the Rangie on time.
A visit to the garage for the MoT just before Christmas picked up a couple of flies in the Rangie’s ointment, including an exhaust blow within the engine bay and excessive play in one of the front wheel bearings. Both of those were easy fixes but replacing a track rod end that’d worn out definitely wasn’t. The bolt threads had rusted into the rod itself, so it was decided for the sake of an extra £40 it was easier to replace the entire unit with a new one from Staffordshire-based Land Rover specialist John Craddock.
But refurbishing one of the retaining clamps on the battery tray proved trickiest of all. Having sourced a replacement part online and treated it with PlastiDip we figured it’d be no trouble – until Both generations of Simister are looking forward to getting the Rangie out to shows.
we remembered that police-spec Rangies like FVE have auxillary batteries, and the clips aren’t interchangeable. After a lot of umming and ahhing it was the original clamp that got refurbished. With so many bespoke parts and FLM Panelcraft long gone this is a small flavour of the bodging and fabricating that goes on to keep this bit of Lode Lane history on the road.
So while FVE 852W popping to the shops might not have been as epic as taking an E-type across the country, it’s still an impressive feat in its own right that it took part.