1982 Land Rover, Range Rover Classic

1982 Land Rover, Range Rover Classic


Status: Sold to Drew B., of Chatham, NJ
Manufactured: Great Britain
Imported: Benavente, Portugal
Engine: 2.5L VM Turbo Diesel
Transmission: 5-Speed Manual

This one is different. It’s not correct. It’s not for the purists. This is the product of having a dozen Range Rover Classics roll through your shop over a couple months and having both an itch and an opportunity to do something different.

The itch: Whether on Instagram or the Web, I’m bombarded with images of Land Rovers every day. Frankly, people do some pretty amazing stuff to their trucks and have been for decades. Whether it’s the factory sponsored Camel Trophy trucks or your everyday Rover enthusiast, the capability of these trucks has long inspired people to modify, customize, and convert their rigs into something deeply personal. For me, this line of work is an opportunity to disconnect. Say what you want, but driving a diesel-powered, manual transmission Range Rover Classic is not the time for a conference call. For me, they’re an opportunity to escape; to focus on the drive, to focus on the truck. To focus on getting there as much as arriving. We don’t dump navigation screens or big modern touches into our trucks. That’s what the 2019 Range Rover is for. Classic vehicles are the closest thing I’m ever going to get to time travel. Close the door, turn the key, and move down the road as one might have in years past. As such, the itch to customize in a way that leans into the character of these trucks – rather than running away from it – has been hanging there for a while. For me, that meant thinking about what a rig might look like if you designed it to complement an outdoor lifestyle, not necessarily just a ‘trail rig.’

The opportunity: This truck is a 1980. It started life in France, where it migrated to Portugal. Somewhere in France, the 3.5L twin-carb V8 was removed and replaced with the 2.5L VM turbo diesel. The body too, was changed with the cab from a later truck. Why? No clue. When the truck migrated to Portugal, someone annotated that it was a 1982, not a 1980. In Europe, they track the “Date of First Registration” and I suspect it was first registered in Portugal (or France, for the matter) in 1982. It’s legally here in the US, but the point is, this was never going to be a truck for the purists. The icing on the cake though was the rear seat; it needed to be re-upholstered. The idea of re-upholstering a seat and then apologizing for the mismatch in the year was unattractive.

So we thought. We thought about what an outdoor truck meant. Overlanding is popular these days, but we’re not overlanding experts. But we do like driving old trucks, and we do like going outdoors. My hobby outside cars is cycling; loading a touring bike with a tent, food, a flashlight, and some repair gear and hitting the C&O Canal Towpath for two days of cycling is my two-wheeled equivalent to what we do here at Commonwealth Classics. This led to the most important thought of all: Call Lost Whiskey.

Mark and the team at Greenspur aren’t new on our site. We’ve done work with them in the past, taking photos up on their mountain and leaning on them for inspiration. But Mark Turner’s new project of passion is Lost Whiskey; a distillery determined to crank out top-notch whiskey and bourbon right here in the Old Dominion. Mark likes whiskey, sure. But Mark also is a product of Wyoming. He was raised under the big sky near mountains and animals. Fresh air. Green. Blue. Sun and moon and stars. And transplanted in the DC-area for years now, he started to have his own itch. To bring people together. To encourage people to not just go outside but to disconnect. Turn the phone off. Have a conversation. Watch the sunset while a fire’s light flashes on your cheeks. If you have the opportunity to speak with him, you’ll quickly learn it’s not a marketing pitch. It’s who he is; it’s how he wants to live. To that end, Lost Whiskey is packaging their bottles in 375ml containers, not the more common 750ml bottles. Each bottle has a leather strap across the top with a barrel number, and a story number. Mark wants you to uncork a bottle with a friend or two and sit down to talk. Share stories or make a new one.  The strap has a grommet on it; when you’re done, put it on your keychain. Remind yourself of the adventure. Their team has even started their own podcast, sitting down and sharing stories over whiskey, and sharing those stories with the world. Their mountaintop cabin is a modern, concrete, off-the-grid shelter perfect to complementing this analog vision. See it in detail here:


Lost Whisky was the perfect analogy for what we wanted to do with this Range Rover.

We started with the ride. New shocks and springs raised the truck 2” so we could fit the 235/86/16 Goodyear Wrangler’s on the new white Wolf-style tubeless rims. Lighting came next; a custom lightbar mounted on the front bumper holds Hella 500FF and Hella Rallye 4000 series auxiliary lamps, while amber Hella 550’s are bolted underneath. A beefy skidplate was added as well as a cage up on the roof. The lights are controlled with a custom fabricated panel near the center console.

The most noticeable addition is the box in the rear. The box, constructed with pine, has two 40” sliding drawers out the rear. The drawer hardware is designed to support 500lbs, meaning these things can be loaded down with gear. The front of the box has two flip-top storage compartments for access by the driver or passenger. The box itself was designed such it can support the weight of a person, lest you need to camp in the truck for a night. Two LED strips inside the truck shine line down into the cargo area, and another two alight the rear for accessing the drawers at night. Anchor points on the top of the box help secure cargo, while a 120V power converter bolted to the side helps charge phones and laptops in a pinch. A bottle opener on the left rear bumper is the final touch to say we put our mark on it from bumper to bumper.

Inside the box, we’ve inlaid two bottles of Lost Whiskey’s High Wheat and four tumblers. Included with the truck are a Yeti cooler, firewood tray, camp axe, camp saw, a Gerber multi-tool, ropes, rachet straps, a jerry can, and some spare tie-downs.

This isn’t a restored truck. It’s not perfect. There is missing trim. Some dash parts don’t line up perfectly. The passenger rear fender needs some paintwork. But this was never supposed to be a restored truck. I want you to go outside; to find a side track off a road and turn down that dirt lane to explore without fear of scratching your truck. Find your big sky.

We want to thank Lost Whiskey for collaborating on this project. The photos were taken at their in-progress site in Markham, VA, where the Lost Whiskey rack house and off the grid shelters will live. The first shelter was completed last year and was celebrated by Washingtonian Magazine after winning one of Washington’s Top 12 New Houses of the Year for 2018, an award given by the Washingtonian and the Washington Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. Zac Gasper, pictured in the photos of our truck, is Greenspur’s design director. See more from the Washingtonian here: Washingtonian Top 12 Houses of 2018.

I’m not sure how to wrap this up. It’s already way longer than it should be, but there was a story to tell. It feels like it needs a Craigslist personals ad:

Two-door Range Rover Classic seeking outdoor-loving owner. I’m a diesel-powered truck with a 5-speed manual. Owner who knows how to drive stick is definitely a plus. I’m big into the outdoors and would love an owner who shares the same interests. I don’t come with baggage, but I have room to carry yours.

Thanks to the team at Lost Whiskey for the location - http://www.lostwhiskey.com/ and a special thanks to Earth Trex for the aerial photo and video - https://earthtrex.com/

Driveline. Truck has the 2.5L VM Turbo Diesel paired with a 5-speed manual transmission and high-low transfer case. Dual battery setup. Odometer reads 60,000 km. Truck has been raised 2” from stock with new shocks and springs. Five new LT235/85R-16 Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac E wrap five new wolf-style tubeless 16” steel wheels. A beefy skid plate has been added to the front. Shift lever is about an inch shorter than stock. Transfer case engages with ease, and the gearbox moves up and down without issue.

Exterior. White paint presents nicely, contrasting against black trim pieces. A custom light bar was fabricated to hold Hella 500FF and Hella Rallye 4000 series auxiliary lamps, while amber Hella 550’s are bolted underneath the front bumper. All the lights are independently controlled via switches mounted next to the emergency brake in the center console. Load bars and a roof-mounted cage are in the top, where the spare wheel is currently residing. We opted to include a fifth full-size spare, knowing it would no longer fit in the OEM location inside the truck to the left. A Bulldog high-lift jack is mounted against the roof rack. Truck has a tow hitch, though it’s still the European spec. Passenger rear fender needs paintwork to match the truck. The chassis and body appear rust free. A Yeti bottle opener is mounted on the rear bumper. Side steps have been added to assist getting in and out of the truck. Even at 6’-1”, I find them to be a more comfortable approach with everyday use.

Interior. Currently configured to seat just two with the stock tan fabric seats in the front. The rear bench seat has been removed, though can convey with the truck if the owner wishes (needs to be reupholstered). Truck does not have air conditioning. The seatbelt on the driver’s side in the rear has been removed to permit the jerry can to be accessed more easily, though the seatbelt and all the associated hardware convey with the truck. Interior is largely stock in the front, with an aftermarket radio and speakers, and the switch panel fabricated from thick-gauge steel to withstand the forces of use. Two LED light bars have been installed inside the truck to illuminate the cargo area, while another two LEDs are installed inside the rear tailgate to illuminate the box at night. A custom cargo box has been installed in the truck, constructed with pine, stained, and covered in exterior-deck weatherproofing. The box has two 40” sliding drawers with large, beefy drawer hardware, with two flip-top compartments behind the front seats. 120V power converter is hard-wired to the truck to permit charging of standard three-prong devices, as well as a single USB port. Truck conveys with a Yeti cooler, firewood tray, camp axe, camp saw, rachet strap, rope, Gerber multi-tool, jerry can, Bulldog high-lift jack, two bottles of Lost Whiskey’s High Wheat, and four tumblers. Enough to get you started on your first adventure.

Interested? Contact Us for more information. 

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