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Range Rover Classic: Buying guide and review (1971-1996)

Range Rover Classic: Buying guide and review (1971-1996) Classic and Performance Car
Range Rover Classic 3-door Range Rover Classic 3-door Range Rover Classic 3-door Range Rover Classic 3-door
On June 17, 1970, BL’s Range Rover was unveiled to an awestruck motoring press. The vehicle was revolutionary, innovative, modern and functional. Brainchild of engineer Charles Spencer King, the Range Rover sported David Bache-penned crisp good looks, aluminium bodywork, mellifluous 3.5-litre V8, permanent four-wheel drive and tried-and-tested Land Rover off-road ability – and it combined all that with Rover motor car levels of on-road comfort.
The Range Rover was a class act and, like the Mini, it was classless. Of purely functional design and being fit for purpose, the Range Rover only became posh later on, when the middle classes realised they were the vehicle  of choice of Lords, Lairds and landowners. The RR could be kept in Mayfair and was effective for whistling down the motorway to the estate at serious speed, where it could then be pressed into use off-roading on shoots or hunts.
Range Rovers sold like hot cakes, and yet BL scandalously undertook virtually no development of its cash cow until Michael Edwards separated Land Rover out of the ineffectual BL behemoth in 1979. Thereafter the smartest off-roader received five doors, automatic transmission, engine improvements and a change in specifications to suit its image as the vehicle for the smart set.
The Range Rover had a profound effect on the car market, and it was only after several years that other players – from Audi to Toyota – produced their facsimiles. But the classic car world marches to a different drum, and it is interesting how certain cars can become desirable after years of neglect. Classic Range Rovers are a case in point. Sure, you can still pick up an old smoker, and it might stagger on until the next MoT failure, but examples in excellent condition are becoming harder to find.  
Which one to buy?
When it comes to Range Rover Classic there is plenty of choice from the highly-prized early two-door coil-sprung models to the well-appointed and electronic fuel-injected air suspension variants. 
Early vehicles had the 3.5-litre Rover V8 carburettor engine which was superseded in 1984 by electronic fuel injection and later enlarged to 3.9 and 4.2-litres in the LSE long wheelbase model. All make a great noise, but you have to choose between the design purity of the early three-doors, and the luxuriously trimmed later versions. Early Rangies are the most valuable. 
Three diesel engines were fitted: the Italian 2.4-litre VM unit with its unusual individual cylinder head design, and the more practical and dependable 200Tdi and 300Tdi Land Rover units, though all diesels give good, if relatively slow, service. Today, diesels are generally less desirable, as the V8 cars make much more pleasant classics, however a diesel can still offer reliable and more economical motoring. You will find it more difficult to pick up a diesel that hasn’t been abused however, so buy with caution. 
V8 engines are thirsty, and diesels feel a tad slow in the Range Rover, though 300Tdi is the best option. Body rot can be expensive to repair, and bodged air suspension systems likewise. Non-standard engine conversions now detract seriously from the price because they reduce the classic status of the vehicle. 
Performance and specs
Engine 3532cc, V8
Power 130bhp @ 5000rpm
Torque 185lb ft @ 2500rpm
Top speed 99mph
0-60mph 14.2sec
Fuel consumption 14.4mpg
Gearbox Four-speed manual
Dimensions and weight
Wheelbase 2540mm
Length 4470mm
Width 1778mm
Height 1778mm
Kerb weight 1724kg
Common problems
• Interior trim is important, so check for damage, including the headlining, which tends to sag.
• Check the chassis for rust, but the main rust issue is in the body structure: A-posts, B-posts and the door shuts, rear tailgate, rear load floor, sills, inner wings and underbody. 
• Be wary of LPG conversions, unless certified and serviced. Although LPG is often frowned upon in the classic world, a well set-up LPG kit can make a V8 Range Rover much more usable. 
• V8 engines like oil changes, so look for a good service record and a quiet top end soon after start-up. A noisy top end may need a new camshaft and valve gear, which is actually quite involved.
• Later models received more electrical gadgets which all need to be tested before buying. 
• Noise from below needs new bushes and joints to cure, but check for transmission wear/noises, too. 
Model history
August 1969: Land Rover builds the first Velar Range Rover prototype, for development and testing work.
1971: Original three-door Range Rover 3.5-litre V8 carb model launched
1980: Four-door Range Rover introduced, along with an option for an automatic transmission.
1986-1989: Range Rover 3.5-litre EFi 
1986-1992: Range Rover 2.4 VM turbo diesel 
1989-1996: Range Rover 3.9-litre EFi V8 
Owners clubs, forums and websites
• www.landroveraddict.com 
• www.rimmerbros.co.uk
• www.rrr.co.uk
Summary and prices
These early first-generation Range Rovers are now all recognised classics, and although many examples are still needing work, there is good reason to invest time and money in them. They are still a very practical family car and, as ever, a totally capable off-roader.  
Early three-door cars are among the most valuable models, as well as the particularly special CSK editions. Expect to pay upwards of £25,000 for something in really good condition, with less desirable models costing from £6000-12,000. 
Later, more plush models represent the best value today, as they offer more comfort, just as much style for considerably less money. 
Range Rover Classic 3-door Range Rover Classic 3-door Range Rover Classic 3-door Range Rover Classic 3-door
Last updated: 28th Jul 2016
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Range Rover Classic
9995 24995 GBP
  • Lot 128

    1994 Range Rover Classic LSE

    £7,500 - £9,500 est. £7,500 - £9,500 est.
    Auction Date: 29 Nov 2017
    Leominster, Herefordshire, HR6 0DE
    • Engine size: 4.3
    Auction Date: 29 Nov 2017
    £7,500 - £9,500 est. £7,500 - £9,500 est.
    Auction Date: 29 Nov 2017
    01568 611122 View contact number
  • Range Rover Classic

    £9,995 £9,995

    1990 LIMITED EDITION RANGE ROVER CLASSIC 2 DOOR “20th ANNIVERSARY EDITION - One of only 300 produced - First registered 06/1990 with chassis prefix “GA” - Since 1997 has the LR 200 Tdi Intercooled Turbo Diesel Engine - Odometer Reads 305,000 Kms - We believe this engine has covered around 200,000 Kms - Spanish Registration Left Hand Drive - Starts first time and drives flawlessly - Chassis is Rust Free - Never been restored or modified - No Lights on or Leaks - Interior is complete - Boot area tidy for a Classic - Just Passed Spanish Annual ITV Inspection - Now valid for 1 year - Recently Serviced - Paintwork in good condition for its age. There are some minor dents and scratches. - Paperwork all correct – export no problem - Car can be driven away today or we can arrange delivery by transport to your destination.– please ask for a quotation - More photographs are available upon request. - VIDEO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fet_MkvL8fg - Car is available to view anytime in Marbella, Spain. - We are specialists in the sale of two door Range Rover Classics from Spain for delivery throughout the world. - For any further information please contact us Tel: (+34) 677.451.017. Also Whats App Email : automaganto@gmail.com Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/automaganto/

    • Year: 1990
    • Mileage: 125000 mi
    • Engine size: 2.5
    For sale
    £9,995 £9,995
    Spencer Jones
    0034677451017 View contact number
    Spencer Jones
    0034677451017 View contact number
  • 1972 Range Rover Classic "Suffix A"


    This is one of the first series "Suffix A" LHD Range Rover with 3 doors and the front mirrors. Chassis #35801940A - Delivered new to Austria in "Masai Red". The car was fully frame up restored between 2014 and 2016 and is now in "as new" condition. The restoration is very well documented. The car is painted in "Sahara Dust" with light brown fabric textil interior. Imported into Switzerland in 2016 and Swiss Veteran registered EUR 79'500 http://www.grabersportgarage.ch/1972-range-rover-classic-suffix-a.html Swiss VAT paid

    • Year: 1972
    For sale
  • Range Rover Classic 1985 Efi

    £12,750 £12,750

    A very original un restored early Slat front grill Efi from 1985. Chassis number SALLHAML7CA271905. Bronze paint and cloth bronze trim. This is a rarer manual gear box. There is very little rust and it has never been apart for welding. Recent service and new steering box. Not used enough and no undercover parking so its time to pass it on. The car has been used by Jaguar Land Rover for various events due to its original un molested condition. Contact owner direct on 07834 558760

    For sale
    £12,750 £12,750
  • Range Rover No. 26 SOLD


    This is the very first of the Press Cars built for the launch of the Range Rover in 1970. Chassis number 26 is actually the first ever production Range Rover manufactured, and although retaining many pre production features such as the super rare aluminium bonnet, it is built to production standard. Registered on the 27th May 1970 as the first of the 20 Press cars, it is believed therefore to be the first car registered as a Range Rover. The previous 25 were registered as Velars and were used for engineering development. This is the first Range Rover registered to Land Rover on a Solihull number plate. We have restored 231H over an extended period, taking our time to find the correct parts to rebuild this highly important vehicle to as correct a specification as is possible. We believe NXC231H to now be one of the best Range Rover Classics in existence. We were lucky enough to source new front seats, pairing this with the near perfect rear seat is what sets this 231 apart from other restorations which fail to have the correct interior trim. The car has just been the subject of several specialist magazine articles which are being published in July 2014 and has covered road test mile

    • Year: 1970
    For sale
  • Range Rover Overfinch 3.6 TDV8

    £24,995 £24,995

    Ivory Hide with Java Piping Piano Black Veneers Electric Memory Heated Seats Multi Function Steering Wheel Cruise Control Navigation DAB Radio CD Multiplay with Ipod & USB Harman/Kardon Logic 7 Sound Overfinch Styling (Side Skirts, Front & Rear Bumpers) Heated Steering Wheel Voice Command Heated Rear Seats Sunroof Dash Camera Yellow Brake Calipers Reversing Camera Front & Rear Parking Distance Control 22″ Anthracite Overfinch Alloy Wheels Full Land Rover Service History

    • Year: 2010
    • Mileage: 64400 mi
    For sale
    £24,995 £24,995