Today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe Range Rover once represented the epitome of luxury off-roading. It's now priced like an off off brand, but is it still cheap enough to get you off?
You could potentially go off-roading in yesterday's 1989 Lancia Delta Integrale, that is of course if you were willing - as the present owner apparently was not - to dig it out of the Edmonton snow. Sadly its lackadaisical presentation and condition (I hadn't even noticed it had a busted left-rear door latch) proved overwhelming to even its legend, and it went down in a 53% loss.
While not quite as mythical as that '89 Lancia, today's one year newer Range Rover Country still manages to exude an aura of genteelness, and was once as fine an example of British upper crustiness as one could find outside of
Brooks Brothers Savile Row.
The thing of it is, much like the British Empire before it, these old Range Rovers have fallen on hard times, much due to their also legendarily British reputation for poor durability. It's not the major structural elements mind you - the mostly aluminium body and sturdy ladder frame are, respectively, as rust proof and stout as you could imagine. It's the rest - everything from drivetrain components and power window motors, to the oh dear god, air suspension - that cause owners to curse the cars and Crown.
This one looks to be in better shape than most - the leather of its seats showing a nice patina rather than a parting of the ways, and most of the interior components seeming still securely attached to their original locations. Hell, I can't remember the last time I saw an old Range Rover like this with seat-back pockets that didn't flop onto the rear passengers knees.
Mechanically, there's not much in the way of description from this New Hampshire dealer - but it being a dealer you can probably bet the truck at the very least meets DOT standards for sale. The 1990 RR was the first year to have the 180-horse 3.9 EFI V8 - which you old Buick fans will probably look upon with great fondness. That's backed up by 4-speed ZF automatic and power is sent to all four wheels through a Hi and Lois LT230 transfer case.
The ad notes that there is 181,000 miles on the clock - an impressive feat for a US-residing Range Rover - and over that time it has picked up a few boogers here and there, but overall the body looks to be in decent shape. Plus, how hard could it be to pound dents out of aluminium? There does seem to be what looks like a bullet hole in front of the left tail lamp unit, and the back bumper is missing its rubbers. Additionally, the nose looks weird for not having the Range Rover lettering across the face of the hood, and the Land Rover badge is misplaced to the left.
On the plus side, the wheels are those crazy seventies style three-spokes that were factory on these, and this Country is one of the small ones - the wheelbase being the shorter 100-inch span, which I think looks the best.
These trucks once topped the heap as far as luxury off-roaders here in the US were concerned - the G-wagon not landing here until 2001 - and commanded a $38,575 base when new. Now, this one can be had for less than a tenth of that price, and you'd have to ask, does it have more than a tenth of it's life left in it?
For the 1990 model year Land Rover sold 5,315 Range Rovers in the US. The general lack of durability drove resale values down to the point where major repairs frequently cost more than the value of the vehicle, and they would end up in the junkyard. It's a vicious cycle and continues to this day when really clapped out RRs can be had for, well, for free sometimes.
But let me tell you about another car that went through a dark period, just like this. Chevy's Corvair, by the late seventies was just another old car, and one that had been vilified and branded as something only a sadist would allow their family to ride in. As such those Corvairs also dropped in value, pretty much to the point where you could easily pick up a six pack of them without even having to pull out your wallet. Today, however, there are few left, and those that did survive now command some pretty reasonable coin.
The question then is whether this Range Rover - being seemingly itself a survivor - is worth $2,995 to own and use, and potentially see its value go back up?
What do you think, is this - or any 1990 Range Rover - worth $2,995? Or, is this Range Rover a Country that requires too much Visa to visit?
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