TO THE RESCUE
In the midst of lambing, Tim still finds the time to salvage two old Landies and chase steam trains
Full steam ahead is one way of describing the events of the last two months! We finished lambing a few weeks ago, so while that was in full swing I didn’t get to do much Land Rover related things, however it didn’t stop me from rescuing two more vehicles!
Our neighbours had an old 1993 200Tdi Land Rover 90 that had been parked up and not touched for a good eight years. The 90 sat in a paddock keeping a horse company; the paddock is situated next to one of the fields we have sheep in so I rode past it every day. I’d already had a good inspection of it. Whatever way you look at it, this would certainly be a big project but it was just at the point where it could still be saved. I set about making enquiries about it, came to an agreement with the owner and the 90 was mine!
Armed with a battery and tow rope, I then set about recovering it. I presumed we would end up towing it back to the farm, however after I had put the battery on I was curious to see if it would turn over. After checking the engine oil and water levels I flicked the key to see what would happen. Much to my amazement, it fired straight up and didn’t miss a beat. I had to free the hand brake which had been left on for eight years, but after doing this I drove it back to the farm.
After a good clean up inside and out, it came up pretty well, however it was apparent it would certainly need extensive welding to the chassis or total replacement; the bulkhead however was pretty good with the exception of the top corners and a bit of rust in the footwells. The 90 certainly was going to make a nice project, but for someone else. I have since sold it on to a local enthusiast who is going to restore it for his daughter. I’m looking forward to the finished result.
The second rescue was another Range Rover Classic. This time in the form of a 1983 four-door, 3.5 V8 in Lincoln Green. I had been after a Classic of this era as it was the first year to have the LT77 five-speed manual gearbox, making it much more pleasant to drive on longer journeys. After browsing ebay one evening, this popped up, it was perfect in my eyes and had also been converted to Efi, but using the original bottom half of the engine, so basically just had the inlet manifold swapped from carbs to Electric fuel Injection. This would hopefully make it slightly more reliable.
I went to view the Range Rover, just over the border into Lancashire and there she was tucked away in the corner of a very remote ex-farm. Having been off the road a number of years it didn’t look too bad; certainly there was a lot more to do than what I wanted to take on, but then I thought how often do these early fourdoors come up, let alone in the spec that I wanted? Heart won, head lost!
So a few weeks later after lambing we cleared the big shed out back home so I had plenty of space to work on the Range Rover. We then spent an afternoon collecting the Range Rover and quite a large quantity of spares. Upon arrival it quickly became apparent it was actually far worse than it looked, however prior to collecting it, I’d already spent a lot on purchasing the repair panels, body mounts, as well as many components such as springs, shocks, bushes and so on. This wasn’t going to be the relatively quick turnaround to get it back on the road as I thought – instead a full restoration, which will require removal of the body.
I got straight onto it, the body was removed, in sections (these early four-door bodies bolt together) so the chassis could be repaired, cleaned and then painted. With the body off it clearly makes sense to replace many of the chassis components. As I’m writing this the chassis is now being welded up, on the rear and middle crossmembers where the A-frame bolts.
I now have a fair bit of time to crack on and get the Range Rover done, and it would be nice to aim for August this year, but that all depends on what I come up against when it comes to the bodywork.
Meanwhile I did get a chance to get a head of steam, at the North Yorkshire Moors Railway and while I was there the 46100 Royal Scot made an appearance. I took the 1986 Range Rover over to the Moors, and chased the Royal Scot from Grosmont to Pickering getting various shots of the engine along the route.
I hadn’t seen this locomotive since it was a static exhibit at Bressingham in Norfolk, so it was really lovely to see it back in steam and doing what it should be doing.
As with old Land Rovers standing them up doesn’t do them any good. Using them is certainly the best way in keeping them in good working condition.