1980 RANGE ROVER FLM PANELCRAFT

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - Our Classics -

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.

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