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Project Madonna. 1993 Range Rover 3.9 Vogue SE - Finishing touches.


Jack D
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This tale starts a long time ago, in 1998 to be precise.  Coming off the M1 in Northern Ireland a young lad sat in the back of a 1997 Ford Escort 1.8TD. A GLX in bright red, for you perverts.  Gazing out the side window my eye caught something, a shape which has stayed with me all these years.  It was a Range Rover towing a horse trailer accelerating laboriously uphill away from a roundabout, its rear end squatted right down.  There was something enchanting about it.  I heard the noise it made.  Low, warm and knackered.  I knew Range Rovers existed but were really quite rare in Northern Ireland in the 1990s.  I was up until that point only aware of the existance of the P38 yet this was clearly and unmistakably from the same bloodline.  It looked so decrepit and derelict by design.  Like a Range Rover that had melted a bit at the corners.  I knew at this point that it was the car for me.  Twenty two years has passed and that particular Range Rover is now almost certainly dead but here is the story of mine, it's spiritual successor. 

 

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The day started like this,  I took the obligatory flat cap and a banana to what I assumed would be another dissappontment.  I've looked at quite a few and there are many out there which dissapoint. 

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A couple of hours later I was in the furniture capital of Great Britain looking under an old Land Rover, and you know what?   It wasn't that bad.   It drove terribly but it was all there and appeared never to have done any rough work.

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The best part was in here.  Where they've all been knocked about, this one just hadn't. 

I paid up and negotiated a set of three spoke wheels from the seller.  She's going back standard boys and here's the story. 

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A neighbour of mine had one in the late 90's.  Rode in it a few times and they are magnificent.  The way the glass comes right down to your waist, the sound, the seats - they're just great.  Proper motor. 

Along with a P38 they're about the only LR product that I would roll the dice on owning.

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So I should clarify that this is not happening in real time.

First job was to get a bodyshop on the task of repainting this used bonnet.  It had a rather fetching twin coachline on it so I measuered it up and got some of it ordered.  The colour is Ardennes Green over Sorrel Brown/Beige interior.  Next job was to stick it in for an MOT to see how bad it was.  I was expecting horrors.  In truth the "off the system" MOT only failed on about five things.  Nevertheless I embarked on a major refurbishment.  I like my cars to be right and my girlie would be abusing driving it. 

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Right.  Brakes.  We'll have new ones I think.  Discs, pads, calipers (pleasingly made by Lockheed), lines, flexis.  Front and rear, right and left and all that ABS stuff too.  It'll be towing a lot so we might as well have it right condisering how inexpensive old Land Rover parts are.  IMG_5142.thumb.jpg.33a7babd0c76f7336e68e9aa6710fbc5.jpgIMG_5144.thumb.jpg.e86a37e3d01cc52310947e6664c51cb6.jpg

As you can see I have been using MK1 Axle stands courtesy of British Rail.  Old coils pictured, temporarily stopping it chinning the ground. 

At the same time my good friend J and I were doing this work, My pal C got to work stripping these wheels which had been ingraciated with remoulded off road shit rubber and tubes.

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I approve!  A workmate had a 1987 Vogue 3.9 back in about 2000 and I got to drive it a couple of times.  It was very pleasing and if I thought I could get one as nice I'd be all over it (assuming I had any money, lol).

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Great spec (vogue se) and ultimate colour combo (Ardennes/ tan) love these and kudos for tacking one, I’ve got the fear of rotten inner structures so avoid (and I can’t afford one anymore 😆)

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Next on the agenda was the welding.  It was full of bran flakes and moths in the usual areas, rear door shuts, front inner wings and a tickle at the rear crossmember.   Someone pointed the sparkly stick at it for long enough to vanquish the bran flakes.  It was no longer liable to snap in half in the breeze.  BL did a *wonderful job making sure there were no rust traps in the design. 

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The jobs snowballed while we were in there as they always do.  Ended up rebuilding the hubs with fresh bearings and seals.  The goal was a truly non leaky Range Rover in every regard. 

 

Meanwhile the wheel man had done a blinder on the body coloured three spokes.  Most people think these are a bit *nice but they chub me right up. 

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These tyres are absolutely marvellous.  They'll give you 90% of what a full off road knobbly noisy bastard will while retaining braking ability and acceptable noise levels.  11/10. 

 

 

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10 hours ago, bezzabsa said:

what wheels were on it when you got it????

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I believe they are called “boost”.  From a late defender.  It also had some nasty tint film on the windows.  You can see here that the pillars are quite badly faded also.  This was all to be rectumified later.  

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This brings back happy memories. I had a 1990 Ardennes Green 3.9 V8 Vogue SE in rare manual flavour-it was more than capable of surprising other cars with how well it could shift.

It and an 88 3.5 Auto I owned at the same time cemented my love for Range Rovers. It's not a coincidence I now drive an Epsom Green L322.

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31 minutes ago, Landy Mann said:

Very nice the RRC, has it escaped having a dodgy LPG installation as well?

I think it was dodgy single point LPG conversions on these that gave LPG a bad name in the eyes of folk in the UK for about 30 years after.

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1 hour ago, Landy Mann said:

Very nice the RRC, has it escaped having a dodgy LPG installation as well?

No nasty LPG conversion, sadly it has been converted from air suspension to coils though.  

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2 hours ago, Landy Mann said:

Very nice the RRC, has it escaped having a dodgy LPG installation as well?

This miffs me slightly, the (IMO not always justified) view that LPG installations are dodgy. Properly done, they can run perfectly well on gas, but I agree that a shonky conversion is enough to put you off. I drove one where you'd switch it to petrol to overtake, as on gas it wouldn't rev high enough to change gear when you floored it!

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I wouldn’t say I avoided one that had an LPG conversion as such but I would say that I was slightly pleased that it didn’t have one.  I viewed five, three of which had LPG.  None had working LPG.  

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On the two LPG RRC's I've been involved with the system never worked properly. I suspect lots of land rover owners with prefer to spend money on suspension lifts rather than getting the LPG set up properly. 

As I was one l once told, if you can't afford to run it on the correct fuel, you can't afford to run it ..

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24 minutes ago, Landy Mann said:

As I was one l once told, if you can't afford to run it on the correct fuel, you can't afford to run it ..

But if you had the choice between paying 135p/litre, and 60p/litre, with *absolutely* no effect on the way it drove, would you still choose to pay more? I can totally understand it if there was a difference in performance mind, as with the single point systems.

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  • Jack D changed the title to Project Madonna. 1993 Range Rover 3.9 Vogue SE - Finishing touches.

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