Eleck­trick­ery has be­dev­illed the re­stored Range Rover, but rust-proof­ing is well un­der­way

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - Living With Classics - JAMES TAYLOR CON­TRIB­U­TOR


Iam not a great fan of this time of the year. It’s cold, it’s wet, and it’s dark – cer­tainly not the time to get to grips with a newly re­turned and re­stored clas­sic car.

Nev­er­the­less, that is pre­cisely what has hap­pened. Reg­u­lar read­ers will know some­thing about the saga of my wife’s Range Rover, two and half years un­der restora­tion and fre­quently de­layed by my strug­gles to pay the bills that kept on ap­pear­ing. We fi­nally got it back at the be­gin­ning of Novem­ber. No, I’ll say that again – we fi­nally got it back at the be­gin­ning of De­cem­ber, be­cause a few elec­tri­cal grem­lins showed them­selves and so back it went to have them sorted.

All seemed fine for the first cou­ple of days back in Novem­ber. I had picked up our el­der son from school and was driv­ing him home. We were about 150 yards from our front door when the en­gine died. It was, of course, pitch dark and rain­ing hard. Oh, and cold, too. There was plenty of life in the bat­tery, which was turn­ing the starter over with great gusto, but noth­ing else re­ally seemed to be hap­pen­ing.

Af­ter a fruit­less in­spec­tion of the ob­vi­ous, I called the AA and sent our lad home. While the AA was on the way, I also nipped home and grabbed a cup of cof­fee to to try to im­prove my spir­its. Back at the Range Rover, the man with the flash­ing yel­low lights did a few quick checks, then had a mo­ment of in­spi­ra­tion. ‘Try that,’ he said. I did. It fired first time. So what was the prob­lem? Sim­ple – there was no bat­tery clamp ( be­cause the in­ner wings had been re­placed – it’s a long story), so the bat­tery had moved when we’d gone over a bump and one of the smaller leads had be­come dis­lodged. I used some bad lan­guage be­fore thank­ing our man, who du­ti­fully fol­lowed me all the way home. We now have a bat­tery clamp. There were other prob­lems,

’It was pitch black and rain­ing hard when the en­gine died’

although the ef­fects were less dra­matic. The fuel gauge wasn’t work­ing and one of the dash­board warn­ing lights re­fused to go out. The cen­tral lock­ing some­times worked from both front doors and some­times didn’t. But then, you ex­pect things like this in a new­lyre­stored car. It just takes a while to work your way round them all.

De­terred from do­ing very much in the garage (cold) or out­side (wet and dark), I did man­age to make some progress. Re­mov­ing the rear floor meant that the top face of the chas­sis was read­ily ac­ces­si­ble and had been wisely cleaned up and treated. A Range Rover I had many years ago rot­ted along the top of the chas­sis where you can’t see it be­cause the body is in the way. So I de­cided to clean up the other ar­eas of the chas­sis and give them the ap­pro­pri­ate treat­ment.

Wire brush, rust con­verter, spe­cial primer, black Ham­merite, then Wax­oyl black spray – that should do the trick. Well, I’ve done the back end of the chas­sis so far; the rest will fol­low when I can get un­der­neath the car prop­erly. That at least is ex­tremely pleas­ing.

But wait – I haven’t men­tioned the most im­por­tant bit in this tale of doom, gloom and frus­tra­tion – what’s it like to drive? Fan­tas­tic, ac­tu­ally. It drives re­ally well, and I love it to bits. I should have men­tioned that I’ve been go­ing round the ve­hi­cle clean­ing and pol­ish­ing things, too, and it’s com­ing up rather nicely. It won’t be con­cours, but as long as it’s ‘ev­ery­day re­spectable’, then that will be more than good enough for us.

All I need to do now is to get Mrs T to make its ac­quain­tance. She hasn’t yet, be­cause it’s cold, wet and dark…


A quick pol­ish be­fore din­ner – James’s Rangie re­ally is a part of the fam­ily.

New head­lin­ing went in back in May – not a fun job, ap­par­ently.

There’s still work to do on the Range Rover, but it’s look­ing good.

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