1991 Land Rover Range Rover Classic

1991 Land Rover Range Rover Classic


Status: Sold to Michael W. of Wake Forest, NC
Manufactured: Great Britain
Imported: Mallorca, Spain
Engine: Uprated 2.5L VM Turbo Diesel
Transmission: LT77 5-Speed Manual

A year ago – maybe more - there was a two door Range Rover Classic advertised for sale outside Madrid. The owner had stripped it down, lifted it up, painted it this fabulous metallic copper, and clad the truck with fender arches and bigger wheels. It looked oh-so-good. I missed my opportunity on that one, and our build up of the white Range Rover Classic earlier this Spring was our first attempt to see what we could pull off ourselves. We had fun with that one, but learned quite a bit: People like whiskey, but prefer their kids more. Who knew? So, we went back to the drawing board once this Eastnor Green truck showed up at our shop.

Purchased in Mallorca and imported around March of this year, it was a bone-stock Classic in mediocre shape. The bumpers were ratty; the body had scratches, and driving it to the port in Spain revealed something sinister – not sure what – but something terribly wrong with the front end. Above 70kph it wanted to shake. The full extent of the problem revealed itself the day we tried using it months later, along with its winch, to yank a truck out of the mud: The 4x4 system wasn’t working at all. The front axle was seemingly disconnected from the driveline.  

You get the gist. This became another opportunity to experiment. The single-stage paint color was reminiscent of the earlier ‘Suffix’ Range Rover Classics from the 1970’s into the early 1980s, and with the addition of some reproduction Suffix parts Land Rover just started offering recently, the opportunity to build a Suffix tribute build came about.

What did we do? In no particular order:

“Suffix” bits: We pulled an early Range Rover Classic steering wheel out of cold storage and paired it with scuttle badges and a vertical front grille, allowing the Eastnor Green paint to help pull the truck back in time about a decade.

Driveline work: The stock intercooler was replaced with an uprated unit from AlliSport in the UK for more power and was paired with a new OEM turbo. Five anthracite Wolf 16” wheels were married to new BF Goodrich Mud Terrain T/A KM2s. New springs and shocks lifted the truck 2”. The entire front axle was rebuilt; the CV joints had failed on both sides. A differential guard was added to the front.

Trail bits: An ARB front bumper was added with a Warn M8 winch and twin Hella 700FF auxiliary lights. Unhappy with having to throw the oversized spare on the roof of our last truck, we worked with Sledgehammer Fabrication here in Marshall VA to make an ARB-styled rear bumper with a swing-away spare carrier.

It’s a neat truck; far from perfect, but one we hope will actually get used. The dents, scratches, and remnants of tree-branches of yore add character to a truck that now has character hanging off of it in spades. Interested in something cleaner? Check out our line of limited Suffix-inspired builds for the opportunity to build a truck similar to this, with fresh paint and bodywork, custom upholstery, and a rebuilt driveline – along with plenty of other goodies.

We photographed this truck on Main St in Middleburg, VA. Drive through town at almost any given time and you’re certain to find a Range Rover, though almost always a new one. Today was no exception (we saw four). There’s no other story here; Tom and I spent the morning tucking the truck here and there to capture it among brick and stone rather than trees and trail. Against a backdrop of new Audi’s at the Salamander Resort it looked absolutely foreign, though our new friend Cooper the valet was an awesome sport. Thanks again, Cooper.

After that Tom did donuts in the dirt while I snapped away on the camera. We’ve been working on this thing for a few months now. It’s good to blow off some steam, right? Thanks for looking.

Driveline. 2.5L VM 4-cylinder Turbo Diesel mated to 5-speed manual transmission with manual high-low transfer case. The Range Rover is full-time 4WD. Truck currently shows 156,797 miles (252,341 kilometers). The truck has an uprated intercooler from AlliSport that is reported to bump power over 20% from stock. To feed that intercooler, we replaced the 27 year old turbo with a new, stock unit. The result is a good amount of oompf from the old diesel. The truck has no issue cruising at 70-80mph in 5th gear. It currently requires cycling the glow plugs a couple times to get started when cold. The front axle was rebuilt and a differential cover installed. Truck has a 2” lift with new shocks and springs.  Five new BF Goodrich Mud Terrain T/A KM2 tires installed on new anthracite 16” wolf wheels.

Exterior. Eastnor green paint is the original color though the bodywork is commensurate with a used trail truck. There are scratches, dents, and other small imperfections. The chassis is delightfully dry. I refuse to call anything rust-free these days unless it’s been rebuilt, but all our suspension and bumper work had us crawling around the chassis quite a bit and we were thrilled at how clean it looks under the years of dirt. A new ARB front bumper was installed and paired with a Warn M8 (rated for 8,000 lbs) winch and Hella 700ff auxiliary lights. In the rear, a custom fabricated rear bumper with integrated swing-away spare tire carrier keeps the oversized spare on the rear where a proper tire should go. It’s positioned such that the glass can open and shut without moving the tire, and the entire assembly swings open easily. An early vertical front grille and scuttle badges were added to the exterior.

Interior. The stock tan interior is largely intact and can seat 5. The driver seat has a ~1” round hole. There are other minor defects throughout the interior, though gauges, lights, signals, and HVAC systems work, with the exception of the Air Conditioning. The truck is equipped with A/C, though the R12 system currently doesn’t work. The system should be converted to R134 in the process of getting it functional. The aftermarket head unit does work, though there’s huge room for improvement. Power windows work.

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