22 Jan 2013

Diary of a Range Rover restoration - Part 1

Phil Wall is restoring a 1989 Range Rover Classic.  We'll be bringing you regular updates in Diary of a Range Rover restoration (label 'RR Restoration').  In part 1 Phil tells us how he came upon the Range Rover and mulls what work needs doing.

The Beginning

This is a blog of two firsts - my first time blogging, and the first time I have attempted to restore a Range Rover Classic, in fact the first true restoration of any vehicle I've owned, as opposed to the 'keeping it on the road' variety of maintenance.

As I've been driving rather nice company cars for the last 7 years, this is the first bit of proper spanner wielding I've done in quite some time and will be very honest about the successes, failures and costs involved.

I wanted to keep a log of the work and thought a blog might be an interesting new way to do this, and I may even get some helpful knowledge and advice from those who have been through this before.

I'll start with a little bit of history as to the how and why I now own this MOT-less 1989 Range Rover...

A couple of years ago, we decided that we needed to move our horse out of local livery and started looking for a suitable piece of land of our own (living in Warwickshire, trading up to a house with 'Room for a Pony' requires a substantial mortgage), but we found a 5 acre yard with stables and a ménage near Southam, in a beautiful location with plenty of bridleways nearby. This was the point at which I realised I now had the perfect excuse to buy a tractor. Which, with limited funding, is easier said than done, as it turns out.  Plan B was required.

Plan B has changed over time - it started out as being an old Land Rover or 4x4 of some description, in running order but no MOT or chance of one, which could be used to pull paddock rollers, chain harrows and paddock slitters around doing general paddock care until it expired, to be replaced.

Various discussions with work colleagues turned up a 1992 Range Rover, CAT D write-off due to rear impact.  But unfortunately I narrowly missed out on this one.... but what if I now bought a decent Range Rover Classic and restored it so it was MOT worthy? 

It would mean I could swap back my Discovery 4 for a Jaguar and use the Classic in cases of inclement weather... and Louise's (Mrs W) Range Rover Sport would be the tow car.  Now that felt like much more of a plan!

The car I bought (unseen!) is from a colleague who was the 5th owner and bought it in 2003. It has spent the last 4 years in a garage awaiting restoration.

So that's the back story complete - but where am I with this now?

I dropped G184YND off at Crossroads Garage, Napton for Jim to give it the once over, and provide me with a list of what would deliver an MOT fail - a 'To Do' list for me over the coming months, if you will.

The list is long, but thankfully shorter than I expected - but challenging in areas.  So here the journey and the spanner wielding begins!