Mods & Con­se­quences: How to im­prove the best 4x4x­far

Few clas­sics are as cool as a Rangie, but it’s also quite dated. Here’s how to smarten yours up

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - Living With Classics -

It’s al­most 50 years since the Range Rover first ap­peared and in that time it’s be­come mas­sively col­lectable. De­spite this, many own­ers ac­cept that it can ben­e­fit from a raft of sym­pa­thetic up­grades – many RRs are owned by peo­ple who want to use, rather than show them.

The sky was the limit dur­ing the 1980s – some were stretched, oth­ers decapitated and many stuffed with me­dia sys­tems and re­trimmed with gar­ish ma­te­ri­als. Such cars make fas­ci­nat­ing pe­riod pieces, but changes to­day tend to be more sub­tle, with the fo­cus be­ing on mak­ing the car more us­able, re­li­able, fru­gal, com­fort­able and gen­er­ally bet­ter to drive.

Launched in 1970, Land Rover didn’t de­velop the Range Rover much dur­ing that first decade. Those first cars were two-doors with a 3.5-litre V8 and a four-speed man­ual gear­box. A four-door car was of­fered from July 1981, a three-speed auto from July 1982 and in July 1983 the four­speed man­ual gave way to a fivespeeder. The V8 was fuel-in­jected on Vogue mod­els from Oc­to­ber 1985, which is also when the auto got four speeds. A diesel was of­fered from April 1986, us­ing a 2.4-litre VM-sourced unit (su­per­seded by a 2.5-litre unit in Oc­to­ber 1989). In Novem­ber of the same year car­bu­ret­tors were ditched al­to­gether and so was the two-door bodyshell – ex­cept for ex­ports and spe­cial or­ders.

The 3.5-litre en­gine gave way to a 3.9 in Oc­to­ber 1989 and three years later the long wheel­base (108in) Vogue SE ar­rived with a 4278cc pow­er­plant. The un­re­fined VM diesels also gave way to the Land Rover 200 TDi unit in 1992. The clas­sic Range Rover stayed in show­rooms un­til 1996, when it was fi­nally su­per­seded by the new P38 ver­sion.

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