It’s been some time since my last piece for Retro and Classic Cars; in fact, this is to be the first for this year. I thought I would start by updating fellow enthusiasts on my fleet. As some will know, in July of 2011 I sold my Jaguar XJ X350 and only a few short days later, I bought a Range Rover L322.
Capable but refined. The ‘Swiss-Army-car’ of automobiles.
A Range Rover is widely regarded as the ultimate vehicle, a “Swiss-army-car” if you will. The L322 is the third generation Range Rover model and represents only the second major design update. The car debuted at the Detroit Motor Show in January 2002 when Land Rover was under the ownership of BMW. The L322 was revolutionary in its ability to both off and on road due to a clean sheet approach by BMW, hence the array of technologies not seen before in any car. The L322 was much more technologically advanced than rival off road vehicles – it was built on strong underpinnings and so the L322 has continued production from 2002 to late 2012, at which point the L405 is to be released.
The L322 model is of particular significance to me; it provided a much more reliable platform than the infamous P38; the latest incarnation being the most luxurious and competent machine yet. When buying such a car I had the option of the 3.0 Td6 which I was given the opinion, it was severely underpowered for my needs of covering large distances across the distance in one outing. The only other option was to drain my wallet of all it’s worth, and buy a BMW powered car – a 4.4 V8! I would have liked to also consider the TDV8 3.6 which combined similar performance and power advantages with fuel economy which was on average seven miles per gallon better off. My budget and insurance implications did not allow for me to go for these newer, face-lifted models which were available from 2006.
Luxurious – the best of both worlds.
My search for a Range Rover started a few short days after I bought the Jaguar (I seem to be addicted to planning), so I was quite knowledgeable as to what to look for and where to look for it. My Range Rover was previously owned by the Vice President of a major US Bank based in London who has a bundle of invoices; as a result the car was pampered with generous helpings of money spent on it on an almost quarterly basis. The car was stored in an underground secure car park; away from the busy and congested surroundings which are typical of London. Mr Lang had owned the car from 2007 and as expected, the car was in good order throughout. It did require some remedial work to the engine which was in no means urgent. Rather, it was just in need of a service: the L322 has no fixed service schedule. It is based solely on its use – as a result of the owner doing minimal miles per year, it had not had an oil change in quite some time. Some 5 months later, when it was more convenient for me to be without a car, (as apparently I am too young to have a 1.4l Vauxhall Corsa courtesy car!) I booked the Range Rover in for a Major Service. Everything was seen to; spark plugs were replaced, as was the coolant, coolant bottle (as the old one had a fracture in its structure), rocker-cover gaskets, VVT seals and air conditioning refresh to remove any bacteria (if any) from the radiators. The final bill was reduced from £3214 to £830 or so – result!
A pampered lifestyle, but not without its niggles.
It was never my intention to sell this car; in fact, it was never my intention to sell the Jaguar, I was to keep it for life. I have no idea how and I am still very much confused, sold the car last weekend to another enthusiast who I hope will enjoy the car as much as I did. He is the owner of several other Land Rovers including two 110 Defenders which I have a soft spot for and will be the subject of a future article.
As the sale of the car was so immediate, I did not have an opportunity to search for a replacement car until only this weekend. My initial goal was and probably still is to save some money and buy something more economical. The money saved would then be injected into a certain ‘supercar’ which will remain unnamed – despite the 4 month long search; the perfect car is yet to be seen. I scoured the classifieds for a Volvo V70. It was only a natural that I would buy one pending on the sale of the big V8. The unexplained and random nature of insurance companies meant I could only buy a 2.4 (170) car even though I have run a 4.4 V8 for the last 6 months. For the first time since I held my driving license, I am without a car, and the lack of free time increases the chances of not being back in one within the next three weeks.
There have also been some other updates in the fleet and probably the most significant yet. Part 2 will reveal all.