1973 RANGE ROVER Owned by
Charlie Magee email@example.com 18 months
Waiting for the bill – somewhat nervously Went on holiday in it – beloved offspring even enjoyed a free insect safari in the rotten boot
Time owned Miles this month Costs
0 The Range Rover’s MOT test date had been looming in the diary like a grim dental appointment for weeks – the sort of consultation where you listen to the dentist tutting and contemplate all those rushed brushes and biscuits before bedtime.
I realised that this was what I would be in for if I just checked the bulbs and made sure the horn worked before taking it in to the test station; more direct action would be needed for the Range Rover to pass its MOT this time, let alone get a smiley-face sticker for being a brave soldier.
Having inspected the car’s underside and prodded nervously – I wasn’t brave enough to poke too hard – at bits of brown and scaly metal (and I use the word ‘metal’ in its loosest possible sense), I armed myself with a set of scene-of-crime photos and arranged to meet Richard Varrall from Land Rover specialist Famous Four at the NEC Classic Motor Show last year.
Richard compared the photos of my car with the immaculate – if only partly completed – early two-door that he and his team were exhibiting and took me through the process that would banish the corrosion from my over-dunked digestive of a car. It gradually dawned on me that I was going to have to take the restoration work more seriously than I had first thought.
Adopting his best chassis-side manner, Richard explained that he has supervised this kind of work many times before and that all would be well. Even so, I still felt a little overwhelmed by the thought of how much of my car would be cut out and how much welding would be needed. Richard seems to be able to sniff out all the classic rust traps – of which there are many on a Range Rover – like a truffle hunter’s dog.
I made my way up the A1 to Famous Four a couple of weeks later, this time to drop the car off. The journey was a good opportunity to contemplate what lay ahead while still enjoying the drive – rusty as it was, it reminded me just how great these early Range Rovers are and how far ahead of their time they were.
Famous Four’s inspections were rather more vigorous than mine and revealed that rust was indeed festering in all the usual places. The guys set to work, with my only proviso being that they should keep the body on the chassis if at all possible.
I was too busy with work to visit in person so Famous Four emailed me numerous photos during the process detailing how the work was progressing; they’ve ended up doing far more work than I was expecting to banish the corrosion and make the underbody as sound as possible.
I’ve resisted the temptation of having the exterior repainted – save for a few body panels – because this is a job for the future, but I did get the wheels and bumpers refurbished. This should sharpen up the Range Rover’s looks a little and give it a bit of a Hollywood smile.
I think I’ll be needing that smiley-face sticker myself when I see the final bill.