It seemed like a good idea at the time even though they always do.
Ever since I was a tiny child, bouncing around within the sideways-facing jump seats at the back of my Uncle’s Land Rover, I wanted one. Living in the UK they were everywhere, so there was no hurry. You could get an ex-military Defender for about three grand. Fit a better turbo-diesel, get it to run on cooking oil and yes it was the car for the zombie apocalypse.
Then I moved to america. With more public land and second or third cars being common, the Land Rover seemed like a much better idea. But bloody hell, have you seen the prices?
Individuals were asking $100k for restored NA-spec Defender 110s. The Lara Croft-style 90s were opting for half that, and all had thirsty V8s. The plan was shelved plus an E-Type became my new mission.
But wouldn’t you understand it, after years of idle searching, an ex-MoD 1986 Land Rover 110 FFR popped up in the local Craigslist. It belonged to a collector who listed it for just one week and tried reasonably hard to convince me it absolutely was slow and pointless.
Being a collector, I hoped he’d found a good one. It seemed in reasonable condition considering its life like a military vehicle.
Admittedly it’s an eccentric choice of transport but it’s left-hand drive and has the non-turbo 2.5L diesel. There’s an indication riveted to the dash warning you against exceeding 60mph. I should be so lucky!
Still, the 110 will be a great project: not merely because it’s already broken down…
The first task, however, is to find a local method to obtain spare parts and inspiration.
Whilst the Land Rover was as functional as I’d expected, the latest 2013 Range Rover was significantly more capable than anticipated. It was ridiculously impressive on our Arizona trek and dealt with the off-road portion much better than any $100k grand tourer should.
We went ‘Squatching; inspired by my fascination for Animal Planet’s Finding Bigfoot TV series, as you’ll read.
When we reached out to the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization for assistance with the TV, story and founder presenter Matt Moneymaker was kind enough to respond in person. It turns out he’s a huge Land Rover fan and has owned several.
We hoped to add Matt inside our story but Discovery Channel’s lawyers found all sorts of good reasons to prevent it from happening. We were happy to do business with Tim Zamiski in his place, who was a fantastic guide.
If you want to discover how we got on with the Range Rover, we have a video at www.europeancarweb.com
We also took a video crew to our track test together with the FR-S, GTI and M3. It’s around the Motor Trend YouTube channel in the Head2Head section.
If only it absolutely was European, in addition, i got suckered into getting involved in Wide Open Throttle on a single channel to describe our tongue-in-cheek bias for the GTI and M3 – there’s very little wrong with all the Scion!