At $12,900, Could This Supercharged 1997 Range Rover Be A Total British Steal?

Photo: Craigslist
Nice Price Or Crack PipeIs this used car a good deal? You decide!

Forced induction sounds pretty aggressive, but when applied to the civility of today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe Range Rover it just sounds cool. Let’s see if this custom second gen’s price makes it sound like a good deal.

Being “green” has always been a polarizing piece of political identity, with the Left long derisively tarred by the Right as “tree-huggers. Yesterday’s 1987 Porsche 924S was also green, but it was green in fact, not in the ecological sense. That home-baked hue turned out to be one of the few factors not in the car’s favor. Even that couldn’t overcome its seemingly tidy and major problem-free presentation however, especially when paired with its modest $3,500 asking price. That swayed the majority and earned the car a solid 85 percent Nice Price win.

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See, it actually is easy being green.

There’s little that’s green—either in a conservational or any other form—about today’s 1997 Range Rover. That’s owed, respectively, to its being powered by a custom-modded supercharged V8 and the fact that it’s been painted in an unassuming lab coat white.

I think that with all the talk of the new Defender floating about these days, this is a great opportunity to look back on another, perhaps long forgotten Range Rover, the second generation P38. Did you even remember that these were once a thing?

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The P38 was not named for Lockheed’s famous twin-engine fighter/bomber but instead for a more mundane source—the Solihull studio where it was primarily designed. It came two and a quarter decades after the debut of its predecessor, but would prove over the course of its production run to be far less enduring or endearing.

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The new truck rode on a frame adapted from the extended wheelbase first gen and carried slightly modified editions of its Buick-sourced all-alloy V8 engine. A ZF four-speed automatic did shifting duties on the American editions, and of course there’s a two-speed transfer case leading to AWD. An air suspension holds everything up. 

Styling of the P38 was a modern take on the traditional Range Rover cues and that made it somewhat anonymous. If you passed one today, I doubt you’d even notice it. The trucks were developed by Land Rover prior to the company’s sale to Ford, and unlike sister brand Jaguar, the Range Rover never adopted any obvious parts from their new overlords.

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Unlike its predecessor which enjoyed an amazingly long run, the P38 was killed off after only eight model years. It was replaced by the BMW-designed L322 after Ford unloaded the British brand onto the Germans.

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A short run, anonymous styling, and no Ford parts to point at and laugh? Why the hell are we even looking at this ’97 P38? Well, let’s take a deeper dive.

First off, see that bonnet bulge? No, its not just happy to see you. That bump in the already tall nose is there to clear the twin-scroll supercharger that’s been plunked atop the 4.6-litre aluminum V8.

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The Eaton supercharger and popped-out hood was the work of Cameron Concepts of San Diego, California, and was sanctioned by Land Rover and their Special Vehicles Operations team. It also received an Executive Order from the California Air Resources Board (CARB) so it’s emissions compliant in that state and probably all the others as well.

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There are no reliable spec sheets for the factory-approved blower addition, but with the stock motor making 225 horsepower, you can bet that the pressurized version could do a good bit more.

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The more hirsute mill isn’t the only trick up this P38’s sleeve. The ad notes additional custom work on the interior, including a quartet of gauges in the dash, expanded wood trim, and a suede headliner atop all that. The biscuit-colored leather looks to be holding up well and comes adorned in contrasting piping all around.

The exterior is Alpine White and aside from the bonnet pimple is dull as dishwater in appearance. That may be a good thing since it masks the truck’s performance potential. There’s 141,000 miles on the clock and no mention is made regarding any issues, a rarity with any Range Rover listing. A clean title wraps up the truck’s bonafides.

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The seller says the truck cost over $90,000 when new, as though holds any sway over its value today. Yes, Range Rovers have perilous depreciation—it’s part of their appeal. The P38 being the ‘lost Range Rover’ seems especially venerable to devaluation. This is a fairly unique example and that may make it the exception to the rule. We’ll just have to find out.

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The seller is asking $12,900 for this supercharged P38. Tangentially, all Lockheed P-38s were supercharged as well. If you wanted to fly under the radar, this may be the perfect ride in which to do so. The question for you is whether it’s worth that $12,900 asking.

What do you think, is this blown Range Rover worth that much as presented in its ad? Or, does that price make you want to forget this P38 entirely?

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You decide!

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San Francisco Bay Area, CA Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

H/T to Linda B for the hookup!

Help me out with NPOCP. Hit me up at rob@jalopnik.com and send me a fixed-price tip. Remember to include your Kinja handle.

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About the author

Rob Emslie

Rob Emslie is a contributing writer for Jalopnik. He has too many cars, and not enough time to work on them all.