Range Rover

Classic Cars (UK) - - Welcome -

1973 Range Rover Owned by Char­lie Magee (char­lie@char­liemagee.com) Time owned Two years Miles this month 150 Costs this month £1500 Pre­vi­ously Stood in for Ross’s Lan­cia at Le Mans

The Suf­fix-a has been in al­most con­stant use since Ross Alkureishi and I re­turned from the 2016 Le Mans Clas­sic. For a few months I’d re­sisted the urge to take it off the road for any­thing ma­jor but since the rear tail­gate was look­ing shabby, I felt I could jus­tify a lit­tle downtime to brighten it up. It would also ban­ish the rust that was start­ing to dominate the outer edges of the up­per tail­gate. This was the per­fect op­por­tu­nity to not only re­place the rusty steel frame with an alu­minum one but also to fit a new pe­riod-cor­rect rear screen, with the short printed heat­ing element. These cars tended to go through quite a lot of mod­i­fi­ca­tions dur­ing their util­ity pe­riod years, so it takes a fair bit of au­to­mo­tive ar­chae­ol­ogy to get things right.

Land Rover parts spe­cial­ist Fa­mous Four in Louth is pretty well known for its re­man­u­fac­tured alu­minum (not steel) up­per tail­gate as a re­place­ment. But re­cently it had started to com­mis­sion rear win­dows with heat­ing el­e­ments to match var­i­ous years of man­u­fac­ture. Date-wise, my car falls be­tween no heated screen and the first avail­able. I plumped for the lat­ter, be­cause the wiring was there and a bit of prac­ti­cal­ity wouldn’t go amiss.

I’d been search­ing for a drop-down num­ber plate mech­a­nism for a while. These evolved away on later cars and some­where down the line so had the one on mine. I as­sume that as the Range Rover went more up­mar­ket, the need for haul­ing tree trunks around with the boot open had been re­placed with vis­its to an­tique shops.

I man­aged to get my hands on a bat­tered red one with the cor­rect domed lights. Judg­ing by the num­ber of screw holes it bore, it had sup­ported many dif­fer­ent num­ber plates. But, as with my lower tail­gate, the guys at Fa­mous Four res­cued it by fill­ing in the blanks and giv­ing it a few coats of Tus­can blue.

Most mod­i­fi­ca­tions to early Range Rovers were in­tended to make the car more prac­ti­cal – it was first and fore­most a tool. And re­main­ing in pro­duc­tion for such a long pe­riod al­lowed own­ers to plun­der a trea­sure trove of con­tem­po­rary parts and bring their cars closer to the 21st cen­tury mod­els. At least with my car one item that has not been messed around with is the en­gine, and that will be the sub­ject of my next bit of restora­tion work.

Char­lie’s early Range Rover is a proper work­horse, so its rear end was get­ting shabby

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