TO THE RES­CUE

In the midst of lamb­ing, Tim still finds the time to sal­vage two old Landies and chase steam trains

Land Rover Monthly - - Writers' Rovers -

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.

TIM HAM­MOND CONTRIBUTOR

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