RANGE ROVER SPORT SERIES GUIDE
SERIES ONE COAST TO COAST
LAND ROVER’S FIRST HYBRID
6X6 DEFENDER FIRE TENDER
BARBOUR DEFENDER 90
DISCOVERY 5 AT THE MUDDY CHEF
CONTENTS WINTER 2017—18 Series 2 / Issue 1
32 ROAD TEST
2017 DISCOVERY SI6 We spend a week on the road with the new Discovery 38 A+G INTERVIEW
JLR’S JOHN EDWARDS Talking special Land Rovers with the head of SVO 42 BEPSOKE
BARBOUR DEFENDER 90 East Coast Defender builds a true British icon 75
A BRITISH FIRE TRUCK IN THE BIG APPLE It’s not every day you see a 6x6 Defender in Manhattan 58 ADVENTURE
NORTH BY NORTHWEST Coast to coast in a Series One pickup in three days 68 PERSONA
IN THE HANGAR WITH SPIKE FERESTEN A Hollywood car guy on his Land Rover passion 75 SERIES GUIDE
RANGE ROVER SPORT 2006-2013 A look into Land Rover’s first performance vehicle 42
GOODS + GEAR
Allow us to get philosophical
Products for a life of adventure
Breaking down complex matters
Land Rover world news
Land Rovers around the planet
A look at what’s in our garages
North American club reports
Build your mastery on the trail
History told through vintage ads
North Americaâ€™s Independent Land Rover Magazine
WINTER 2017â€”18 Series 2 / Issue 1
Publisher Bryan Joslin
Creative Director Daniel Marcello
Editor in Chief Stephen Hoare
Art Director Christopher Holewski
Copy Editor Greg N. Brown
Photographers Dillon Bonk Nick Dimbleby Jonnathan Hiesler Edo Itam Logan Michelo
Contact Alloy+Grit Magazine PO Box 5043 New Britain, PA 18901 www.alloyandgrit.com
Cover Photo Daniel Marcello
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CENTER STEER Bryan Joslin
MEMBERSHIP HAS ITS PRIVILEGES From our very start, we knew that connecting with true Land Rover enthusiasts meant connecting with Land Rover clubs. What we hadn’t factored was just how unique the American Land Rover club scene is. Compared to other European enthusiast brands, the biggest difference lies in the fact that there is no national Land Rover club. Buy a BMW, Audi, Porsche, Mercedes-Benz, or Jaguar, for instance, and you can typically join the local affiliate of some greater patriarchal order. Invariably you’ll be part of a well-run organization that plans a variety of driving and social events throughout the year and is just as welcoming to newcomers as long-time members. As a Land Rover owner, there’s no such assurance. Our clubs tend to be more regionally focused, which is fine if you live in an area with a high enough concentration of not only Land Rovers but also Land Rover enthusiasts. There are a number of great clubs throughout the country, predictably in areas where you can best take advantage of our vehicles’ inherent strengths – California, Texas, Colorado, New England and the MidAtlantic states in particular. If you live in Iowa or Mississippi, you’re kind of on your own. But you probably already know that. The Internet certainly fills in part of the gap left by the absence of a national Land Rover club. There are discussion forums, of course, but more recently Facebook has become the de facto hub for ‘virtual’ clubs. In some ways, these Facebook groups offer the same sense of community and technical support offered
by membership in a traditional club. Some of these groups are also global, and sometimes more specific in their member focus. If you only want to hang with other Range Rover Classic owners from around the globe, there’s a group for that. Own a G4 Discovery? That’s cool; join the G4 owners group. And none of them costs you anything (outside of Mr. Zuckerberg knowing more about you than your own family does). But like so much else in our modern world, what’s often missing from these quasi-clubs is a genuine connection to other people, the kind you only get in the physical world. While it’s convenient to share pictures and ask questions from your phone, there’s no substitute for actually walking around a rare truck you’ve never seen, or being invited along for a ride. It’s impossible to know the smell of a Series II that’s traveled five continents or to experience the good vibrations of a diesel Defender through ten square inches of Gorilla Glass. We still believe there is value in real-world clubs, and while it may sound self-serving, we’d really like to see them grow and succeed. To help develop a stronger club culture, we’re laying down a challenge for 2018. At this time next year, in the Winter 2018-19 issue of Alloy+Grit, we will recognize one North American Land Rover club with the distinction of “2018 Alloy+Grit Club of the Year,” and we’ll make the award an annual honor. Our decision will be based on a number of factors, but membership numbers alone aren’t as important as the quality of the club
“We still believe there is value in real-world clubs, and while it may sound selfserving, we’d really like to see them grow and succeed.” experience for its members. Specifically, we’ll be looking for clubs that 1) are welcoming to all Land Rover enthusiasts, but especially those entirely new to the brand or the scene, 2) that plan and successfully execute a variety of driving and non-driving (social) events throughout the year, 3) that communicate well with members and prospective members alike, and 4) support and encourage responsible use of vehicles and the land. It’s as simple as that. To make our determination, we’ll be doing our best to get out to as many of the club events as we can throughout 2018. Help us out by sharing you own club’s successes. We look forward to a great year of Land Rover camaraderie and encourage you to show us how it’s done.
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THE BRIT Steve Hoare
A YEAR TO CELEBRATE As we go into our second year with Alloy+Grit— that’s Series 2 if you check the spine—it occurred to me that 2018 will also see a couple of major anniversaries for Land Rover. It has now been seven decades since the first production “Land Rover” rolled out the doors in Solihull, effectively giving birth to the brand, and it has been sixty years since the start of Series II production, which is a nicely coincidental tie-in to the start of our own “Series 2.” Seventy years is a good long time for a British automotive brand, though it’s not a particularly notable anniversary as they go. Google tells me it’s customary to give platinum to observe seven decades, so perhaps I’ll drop some new Bosch spark plugs in the old Discovery. Land Rover will undoubtedly spend the year celebrating its major milestone in more spectacular fashion. It’s been close to five decades since I first got into Land Rovers at the age of twelve— the same year the Range Rover was launched. At the boarding school I attended in Essex, a group of us found and revived a long-forgotten Series One Land Rover rusting away on the grounds. Too young to drive, some friends and I volunteered to marshal at a local Land Rover club where they held competitive trial events. I was hooked. That Land Rover inspired me to pursue engineering, so upon leaving school I completed an apprenticeship with a TRW
subsidiary, starting out in the illustrious world of steering and suspension components for cars, trucks, and buses. I later moved on to more posh surroundings at Aston Martin‘s development department before eventually becoming involved with the environmental testing of military and aircraft engines. Throughout my career, however, I was never without a Land Rover. For giggles, I recently calculated that during my lifetime I’ve covered over a million miles at the wheel of countless Land Rovers! I love driving a Land Rover or just being in one, be it a Series, Defender, Discovery or Range Rover. Some I love better than others, but each has its own certain “something” that just keeps me coming back for another. The people involved with Land Rovers also make them fun. They’re typically unique, positive, fun-loving, salt-of-theearth people. They also tend to be problemsolvers—handy people to have around when something goes wrong, as happens from time to time with Land Rovers. What’s my point with all this? Well, I suppose Land Rovers and the fascinating people they speak to have a way of getting under your skin, for better or for worse. For me, it’s been for the better. I’ve had a lot of fun with the vehicles and meeting some truly interesting people. For forty-eight years, regardless of life’s ups and downs, I could always rely on a good time
“For 48 years, regardless of life’s ups and downs, I could always rely on a good time … around a Land Rover” either being in or around a Land Rover and with the people who love them. If cars were people, some of our Series vehicles would now be old enough to sign up for Medicare. But that doesn’t mean they should be sent off to retire quietly. Keeping our lovable icons in front of the next generation is the ultimate way to keep them young, so let’s use this anniversary year to get them out to as many events as we can around the country. Let’s help tell the story of where this all started. As we celebrate Land Rover’s seventieth birthday, let’s hope they continue to inspire future generations of unique individuals and problem-solvers.
2018 LAND ROVER UPDATES Land Rover has announced several changes to the North American lineup for 2018. A new Defender is not among those changes, but weâ€™ll be watching later in the year for that big announcement. For now, here is what you can expect to see when you visit your Land Rover dealer this year.
Discovery The all-new Discovery has only been available since mid-2017, but in its second year it is already receiving some updates. All models now get the 10inch touchscreen with Touch Pro Navigation, and emergency braking is now standard across the lineup. A second-generation head-up display replaces the original HUD, available on HSE and HSE Lux models. Finally, based on demand for the 3.0-liter diesel engine in SE and HSE models, it will now be offered on HSE Lux models as well. Base prices range from $52,090 to $67,490. Later this year the Discovery SVX will make its debut, though pricing and specs are not yet finalized.
Discovery Sport All models will be powered by the 2.0-liter Ingenium turbo four-cylinder, paired to a ZF 9-speed automatic. Two versions of the engine will be offered; a 237hp version will be the standard engine on all models and a 286-hp version will be available as an option on HSE and HSE Lux models. The Dynamic Package automatically gets the high-output version. Auto-dimming exterior mirrors are available, along with a new 12-way power seat option. Adaptive cruise control and blind-spot monitoring are now available as stand-alone options. Base prices range from $37,795 to $52,895.
Range Rover Velar The Velar went on sale in July of 2017 as a 2018 model. No changes have been made since its launch. 8
Range Rover Evoque The same two Ingenium engines found in the Discovery Sport will be available for the Evoque. The available Wi-Fi connection has been upgraded to 4G. The twodoor Evoque hardtop has quietly been dropped from the 2018 North American lineup, though it will continue to be built and sold in other markets. Base prices range from $41,800 to $57,800.
Range Rover Sport Already entering its fifth year, the Range Rover Sport receives a mild cosmetic update for 2018, consisting of revised headlights, grille and front bumper. Inside, the updated Sport benefits from some of the features that have debuted recently on other models, such as the dual 10-inch screen Touch Pro Duo infotainment system first seen on the Velar, and the Activity Key and Advanced Tow Assist options as seen on the new Discovery. A gesture control for the sunroof blind allows for touch-free opening and closing. A revised Range Rover Sport SVR now makes 575 hp. Mid-year, the Range Rover Sport P400e plug-in hybrid will debut as a 2019. Base prices start at $66,750 and rise to $113,600 for the SVR.
Range Rover The full-size Range Rover also receives a new face for 2018, with similar headlight, grille and bumper treatments, plus integrated exhaust outlets in the rear. The Touch Pro Duo and Gesture Sunblind feature also make their way into the flagship. A new 24-way power seat option makes it first appearance, as does cabin air ionization. Power for the SVAutobiography models is now 557 hp [editorâ€™s note: confirmed different figure than the RRS SVR @575 hp]. Prices range from $87,350 to $207,900. A hybrid version of the Range Rover, the P400e, will arrive mid-year as a 2019 model with a base price of $95,150. 9
FOUR LR TEAMS COMPETE IN THE 2017 REBELLE RALLY The second running of the women-only Rebelle Rally took place between October 13-20, with teams starting out near Lake Tahoe and trekking across 1200 miles of desert before finishing near San Diego. The grueling seven-day rally raid consisted of 36 teams altogether, with 33 in the 4x4 class and another three teams competing in the crossover class. This yearâ€™s rally saw four Land Rover teams compete, all of them running 2012-2014 LR4s in the 4x4 class. The top finishing Land Rover was piloted by Jo Hannah Hoehn and Susie Saxten, who placed 10th overall in their slightly modified LR4. The Alloy+Gritsponosred team of Deborah Najm and Amy Martinez finished 18th in Debâ€™s unmodified daily driver, the only Land Rover to run in the Bone Stock category. Karen Hoehn and Dana Saxten came in 22nd, with Erin Williams and Alyson Hamilton right behind them. Full results of the 2017 event are posted at rebellerally. com/live-scoring. The dates for the 2018 Rebelle Rally have been set for October 11-20, including inspection day and awards gala. The course will once again start near Lake Tahoe and end near San Diego, though the route will change. Registration is now open and a total of 50 entries will be accepted, with a deadline of September 10, 2018.
SEMA 2017 SHOWS GROWTH IN OFF-ROAD MARKET We travelled once again to Las Vegas for the 2017 SEMA show, the annual gathering of the aftermarket industry. Land Rovers are still few and far between at this event, though we counted more this year than last. While Land Rover may not be the start of the show, the off-road market in general is hotter than ever. A number of new products debuted with universal applications. Among the more impressive new finds, Cooper Tires showed off the new Discoverer A/TW, an all-terrain SUV tire that attempts to balance on-road and off-road priorities. ARB also introduced its LINX multi-function interface that uses your smartphone screen to control lights and other accessories without adding switches to the dashboard. The few Land Rovers at the show were mostly Defenders, including a 110 station wagon from East Coast Defender at the Warn booth. The Velar also made its debut on a couple of wheel and tire displays. 10
STRONGEST SHOWING YET FOR OVERLAND EXPO EAST The Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina, once again hosted Overland Expo East. This year’s event was blessed with warm sunshine, making for a great fall weekend with fellow overland travelers. Still a relatively new event on the East Coast, Overland Expo East is becoming a wellattended gathering of both vendors and participants. The vendor row was fuller this year than last, with several new vendors on the lawn. The overland motorcycle scene is also as strong as ever with what seemed like hundreds of BMW GS bikes packed to the gills with camping accessories. With Camel Trophy drivers offering driving instruction at the 7P International exhibit, BFGoodrich demoing tires on classic Defenders, and Land Rover’s own driving instructors guiding guests on the Land Rover Experience driving course at the Biltmore, there is a wealth of opportunities to drive other people’s trucks on site. Camping on-site remains one of the draws of this three-day weekend, and the number of Land Rover groups that traveled and hung out together was impressive. Based on vehicles in attendance, LR3s and LR4s seem to be having a moment, making up a significant portion of the crowd. We’re already looking forward to OEE 2018.
Social & Driving Events A selection of upcoming Land Rover enthusiast events in North America. February 2018
March 3, 2018
Spruce Creek Cabin Weekend
Broken Arrow Trail Run
January 6, 2018
February 3, 2018
March 3-10, 2018
New River Canyon Trail Run
Death Valley Part Deux
New River, AZ
January 13, 2018
February 16-19, 2018
March 9, 2018
SCLR Open House and New Member Run
Maine Winter Romp
AZLRO Members BBQ
February 23-25, 2018
March 28, 2018
January 20, 2018
LRCSD Pancake Breakfast
Inyo Mountain/Saline Valley Trail Run
Anza Borrego Wildflower Run
Fiesta Island, CA
January 26-28, 2018
February 24, 2018
2018 Winter Safari
AZLRO Truck Show/Rover Revival
January 6, 2018
Desoto Mine Trail Run
Lake Arrowhead, CA
Borrego Springs, CA azlro.org
What a re you w a i ti n g f o r? Expert driving instruction course built by Land Rover Specially constructed adventure bike training tracks 390+ different skills classes & seminars for 4WD & motorcycle adventuring, from first aid to outdoor cooking to advanced recovery, riding, and driving—480 session-hours taught by the world’s overlanding experts 300+ exhibitors, including authors & filmmakers Local food, the Overland Film Festival, & more Day passes or Overland Experience packages Onsite camping
CAMPING TICKETS ARE LIMITED & WILL SELL OUT Book online
SE P T 2 9 – O C T 1 , 2 01 7 ASHEVILLE, NC, USA At the Biltmore Estate
MAY 18 – 20, 2018 FLAGSTAFF, AZ, USA At Fort Tuthill County Park
OverlandExpo.com Photo top: Classic at the Canyon, sunset, by Anthony Sicola. Photo, inset: by Henri Danen.
ROVERS CLUB FALL ROBESONIA PHOTOGRAPHY Bryan Joslin
The Pennsylvania-based ROVERS club met in the woods of Robesonia for the fall running of its traditional English-style trials event. Hosted on the McMullans family property, a number of new trails were cut into the loose, rocky soil on the mountainside, making for a challenging event. A combination of tight maneuvers and challenging terrain meant different advantages for different vehicles, but in the end, the monster rigs of Randy Williams and Dan Grip of British Boneyard handled everything the course threw at it. roversclub.org
ROAV MID ATLANTIC RALLY PHOTOGRAPHY Logan Michelo
The Rover Owners Association of Virginia held its annual Mid Atlantic Rally (MAR) on October 5 in Pembroke, VA. Despite a reputation for historically being “Muddy And Rainy”, the weather held up for his year’s event, perhaps to the disappointment of some long-time participants. Nevertheless, MAR went on as planned with a solid turnout. A wealth of raffle prizes meant most people walked away from the dinner with gifts in hand. roav.org 14
AZLRO FALL RALLY PHOTOGRAPHY Bryan Joslin
If youâ€™ve been following our club reports, you know that the Arizona Land Rover Owners club is one of the most active and engaged clubs in the country. Their fall rally is a weekend-long festival of off-roading and socializing that takes full advantage of the incredible natural surroundings of the Arizona desert. From a basecamp in the former mining community of Goldfield outside of Phoenix, as many as ten unique trails groups took off for the nearby hills for three full days of trail rides. Off the trail, the evenings were filled with dinners and drinks at the on-site restaurant, with a Saturday night banquet ending in a raffle of more than $30,000 in prizes. azlro.org 16
YOUTH TRAIL LEADERS OF AZLRO Getting young people involved in club events is a great way to ensure future members, but it also makes for a perfect opportunity to establish good habits on the trail. AZLRO has a formal Youth Trail Leader program that teaches young drivers between the ages of 16 and 18 the critical skills of off-road driving, recovery, wilderness first aid and communications in preparation for being a certified trail guide as an adult. At the moment, three teen members of the club are going through training. And as chance would have it, all three happen to be girls. Grace Howard, Gabi LeBlanc and Izabella Rhomberg have gone through most of the training together. Gabi and Grace have also completed recovery training with Bill Burke. azlro.org
ÉVÉNEMENT PIERRE GAUTHIER PHOTOGRAPHY Dixon Kenner
The landscape of northeastern Canada offers excellent opportunities for true expedition-style overlanding. In August, a group of Land Rover enthusiasts from Canada and the American northeast trekked across central Quebec for the 17th annual running of the Événement Pierre Gauthier, or simply the EVP. The group set up camp at public campsites and spent the days on the trails from August 5 through 12. ovlr.org 18
GOODS + GEAR
Barbour Defender Hales Jacket
SDO Defender Grille
GOODS + GEAR
Backpacker’s Pantry Camp Meals Freeze-dried camp food doesn’t have to kill your appetite. Backpacker’s Pantry puts together lean, high-protein dried meals for hikers and travelers that you’d actually eat at home. Quality ingredients and flavorful combinations make the difference, with a host of curries, noodles, and stews available. Packaged in two-serving, heat-and-eat pouches, most meals require little more than boiling water and several minutes to reconstitute in the resealable pouch (which makes a good trash bag when empty). Backpacker’s Pantry can also accommodate a variety of special requirements with options for vegan, gluten-free, dairyfree, nut-free, soy-free or reduced-sodium diets.
From about $8 a meal at BackpackersPantry.com or select outdoor retailers
ARB Puncture Repair Kits Whether you drive on- or off-road, chances are good you’ll puncture a tire at some point. A puncture repair kit can be an invaluable piece of gear to keep in your recovery bag, putting you or a trail mate back on the road within minutes. ARB’s Puncture Repair Kit contains all the critical supplies needed to quickly plug a tread puncture: pliers, a reamer, lubricant, thirty self-vulcanizing repair cords, and a pressure gauge. Also included are replacement Schrader valves, valve caps (including for TMPS-equipped vehicles) and a valve core tool. Everything is contained neatly in a compact, bright orange plastic case.
About $42 from ARBUSA.com and most 4x4 outfitters
Land Rover Defender Collection by Orvis Barbour and Land Rover go together like fish and chips. This relationship has gone next-level with the launch of the new Land Rover Defender Collection by Barbour. Available exclusively through Orvis, the nine-piece collection is based on Barbour classics, including signature waxed-cotton coats, field shirts, sweaters and tees. Featured here, the Hales Jacket is one of Barbourâ€™s most popular waxed jackets. A mix of modern and traditional materials, it combines a waxed-cotton shell for water resistance with modern Teflon-coated wool back and elbow pads. A quilted lining adds warmth, and an available hood shelters you from heavy rain. Designed for easy movement, itâ€™s an ideal driving coat. Available in Olive Green or Navy Blue (as shown).
From $59 at Orvis.com (use search: Land Rover) 23
GOODS + GEAR
Kelty Ardent Daypack If you’re like us, you don’t leave for a trip without your vital electronics. The Ardent Daypack from Kelty is perfect for stashing a camera and a tablet in its box-shaped main compartment. A padded laptop sleeve is built into the backside for protection, with a Velcro-secured flap wisely located on top to keep you from ejecting it accidentally. A number of additional pockets and slots are stealthily integrated into this handy carry-all, perfect for keeping vitals (cell phone) close at hand or essentials (passport) well protected internally. Two deep external side pockets are perfect for holding water bottles.
$80 at Kelty.com
Strangers like Angels By Jan Forman If you’ve ever dreamt about travelling around the world in a Series Land Rover, read this first. Back in 1977, British couple Alec and Jan Forman purchased a used Series III 109” and embarked on a 14-month, 40,000-mile trek through 29 countries across Europe, Africa, and Asia. Their only two navigation aids were a map and a compass, yet they managed to cross the Sahara Desert and travel the world’s highest road in Nepal, among the many places they saw. The Formans have recreated their journey from letters originally sent home to family and from pictures taken along the way. Written in a typical British style, every adverse encounter typically starts and ends with a cup of tea or coffee. The book chronicles the couple’s adventure but also highlights the surprising kindness of complete strangers they encountered. Since many of the places they visited would be off limits to today’s travelers, their retelling of carefree travels from a bygone age (not so long ago) makes for an uplifting read. The Land Rover itself is still in the Formans’ ownership, and they’re using funds from the sale of the book to return it to its former glory.
About $28 on Amazon.com or Explmore.com
SDO Defender Grille Ditch your Defenderâ€™s factory plastic grille for a solid aluminum unit from SeriesDefender Outfitters. SDO starts with a plate of 3/16â€? aluminum and then CNC-mills 5/8â€?-diameter octagonal holes to create a stout piece with improved airflow. The quality is outstanding, with even the top three inches of the grille rollformed to match exactly the curvature of the original grille. Finished in black powdercoat, this grille is a more rugged alternative compared to the original equipment plastic grille. Available for vehicles with either in-cabin or frontpanel hood releases, SDO also offers the grille with genuine Land Rover badges. Fitment is easy using the same eight mounting screws as the original piece.
$500 at SeriesDefenderOutfitters.com
GOODS + GEAR
Lifestraw Water Filtration Drinking from what looks like a pristine stream in nature can be just as hazardous as becoming dehydrated. Lifestraw offers two ways to purify water on the go, with its line of Go filtration bottles and straws. Both incorporate a two-stage filtration process, removing contaminants like water-borne bacteria, protozoa, and even chlorine from municipal water down to 0.2 microns for safe drinking and cooking. The filter also removes odor and improves the taste of the water. The Lifestraw Go is available as a refillable/usable BPA-free plastic bottle or as a personal travel straw made from stainless steel.
From $45 at Lifestraw.com
Mountain Khakis Alpine Utility Pants When traveling, you have to be able to depend on all your gear. Alpine Utility Pants from Mountain Khakis are as rugged as they are timeless. Reinforced, doublelayered and triple-stitched in high-stress zones, theyâ€™re designed to hold up in the harshest of conditions. Made from heavy (10.4 oz) two-ply, 100% organic cotton in a proprietary double weave, theyâ€™re cut in either relaxed or slim fits in popular sizes and colors. The legs also incorporate a useful tool pocket for storing a Leatherman or other personal tool.
From $95 at MountainKhakis.com or select outdoor retailers
Traxxas TRX4 Defender If a radio-controlled Defender is as close as youâ€™ll ever get to owning one of these iconic machines, you may as well make it a good one. Built on a steel frame and featuring a two-speed transfer case and locking differentials, the Traxxas TRX4 Defender is built for serious fun in the harshest of terrains. The Traxxas Defender is a faithful replica of the popular 110 station wagon. It comes outfitted with all the adventure gear youâ€™d expect to find on a real Defender: a full roof rack with jerry cans and high-lift jack, a snorkel and a functional spare tire. The truck arrives ready to run, with no assembly required. Controller is included, but battery pack is sold separately, with two options available.
From $479 at Traxxas.com
GOODS + GEAR
Tembo Tusk Camp Table A good camp table needs to be compact and sturdy. It helps if it’s expandable too. Fabricated from a steel frame with a rugged bamboo work surface, the Tembo Tusk camp table is a trusty workstation. Space-saving removable legs attach to the frame with thumbscrews, requiring no tools. Once assembled, multiple tables can be ganged together in a variety of configurations using the hooks and hoops on each side of the table frame. It all packs flat at less than two inches and stores in a padded bag. Table measures 15” wide x 30” long x 29” high.
$245 at TemboTusk.com
Project Camper Window Shades Camping inside your Land Rover is the definition of roughing it, but a little privacy still lets you retain a degree of dignity. Project Camper from Germany now offers magnetic-mount window shades for several Land Rover fitments, letting even the most immodest of campers feel secure. An improvement over mere curtains, these Germanengineered window treatments not only block out prying eyes and stray light, their padded design also acts as heat and sound insulation, improving sleep conditions any time of the day or night. No drilling is required to install; simply apply the self-adhesive metal strips to your vehicle, and the shades will pop into place, self-locating on their internally sewn magnets. When not in use, the window shades fold up and store in an included carrying bag. Available in a number of colors in either individual pieces or in kits, Project Camper currently offers window shades for Defender 90/110/130 station wagons and LR3/LR4 (Discovery 3/4).
From about $165/set at project-camper.de 28
GOODS + GEAR
Adirondack Guide Boat Kit There may be no more beautiful accessory on the roof rack of a vintage Land Rover than a cedar rowboat. A classic hand-built New England-style guideboat can set you back as much as a mint Range Rover Classic these days, but if youâ€™re handy (and patient) you can now build your own from a kit and save handsomely. The Adirondack Guideboat Company now offers its namesake product (which normally sells from about $15,700 in a 13-foot length) as a ready-to-build kit for about a quarter of the price. Each kit includes all of the wood and metal parts required to complete the guideboat, including cut and beveled cedar planking, spruce ribs, cherry seats and gunnels, and pine bottom board. Solid brass hardware includes rowlocks, oarlocks and stem bands. Cherry oar blanks are typically included, but the company is upgrading winter orders to finished cherry oars at no cost. Construction time is up to you, but what better way to stay warm over the winter than by building your own boat?
From $3,800 at Adirondack-Guide-Boat.com
Global Lens Daniel Marcello Indonesia is one of the last places in the world where you can still do some truly hardcore off-road driving, if only by necessity. After meeting members from several Indonesian Land Rover clubs passing thorugh New York and seeing how they conduct their events, we put this incredible country next on our list. The Land Rover clubs in Indonesia are extremely active and run some of the toughest events and gnarliest excursions. If you really want to get them talking, just bring up Camel Trophy; it may as well have been the national sport back in the day.
each IOX expedition is to reveal the beauty and enchantment of Indonesia in areas that are rarely seen by their people. Excursions usually lead down old forgotten trails that have long since grown over, leaving the teams to face unpredictable conditions. Over the course of two weeks, drivers and their teammates encounter some of the most brutally unforgiving rainforest imaginable. There are no restrictions on the type of vehicles that can enter or the types of modifications made, except a requirement for a roll cage and a working winch. Other than that, anything that offers an advantage against Mother Earth is welcome.
In the spirit of the Camel Trophy, an off-road club based in Jakarta started Indonesia Off-road eXpedition, or IOX, back in June 2011. IOX events are similar to Camel Trophy, but on steroids. Expeditions typically last about fifteen days, and participants must take care of all their own needs, including getting to and from the event; these aren’t catered luxury drives at five-star resorts.
This year’s IOX ran from October 7-21, making its way from Kendari to Makassar, some 1,500 miles off-road. Anyone game for teaming up with us for next year’s IOX? Photos by Edo Itam IOX - facebook.com/indonesiaoffroadexpedition
A committee made up of the participants plans and administers each event, and the entry fees collected all go into the running of the events. The main objective of
EVERYTHING BUT THE KITCHEN SINK Driving a new Discovery with $6,000 worth of cooking gear to the Muddy Chef Challenge WORDS Bryan Joslin PHOTOGRAPHY Bryan Joslin
e didn’t expect to be taking a new Discovery to New England this summer. The plan had been to pack up our own Discovery II for a week on the road in Vermont and New Hampshire before making a weekend stop in Manchester to take part in the Muddy Chef Challenge, a one-of-akind event based around cooking out of your Land Rover (see sidebar). But, mechanical fate intervened, and our Disco threw a fit two days before our scheduled departure. We resolved instead to load up my wife’s BMW wagon for our vacation rather than cancel because of a temperamental old truck. When our friends at JLR heard we were going to roll into a Land Rover event in a BMW, they scrambled to make sure we had a proper vehicle. So that we could save face and represent the Green Oval properly, a generous Land Rover operative lent us her personal company car, a fresh-outta-the-wrapper Discovery HSE Lux with a gas V6. I was gratified by the offer and by her professional generosity—Above and Beyond, indeed—and a day later the demo
showed up on my driveway just in time to load it up for next morning’s departure. I had already spent some time behind the wheel of the new Discovery at the media launch in Utah (Alloy+Grit, Summer 2017) and came away especially impressed with its refinement, so I knew it would be a perfect vehicle for the road-trip portion of our family vacation. More concerning was whether there would be room for everything needed to participate in the cooking event. Between my wife and our 12-year-old daughter, the number of pillows, tote bags, shoes and outdoor gear that usually accompany us can fill up our own Disco for even short getaways. We still had to find room for a camp kitchen, two Dometic cooler/fridge units, a week’s worth of food, a tent and sleeping bags. Frankly I’m not sure how we would have ever fit everything in the BMW, even if half of it ended up on the roof rack as planned. Fortunately, I never had to find out. Packing the truck was a game of 3D Tetris, starting with the essential kitchen items and 33
then filling in around them. The Austrianmade Camp Champ kitchen setup—a $5,800 jewel of marine plywood containing a fourburner stove, complete service wear for four, and a full complement of high-end cookware and cutlery—took up half of the floor behind the second row. The larger of the two fridge/ coolers went next to it, and bags of food supplies were tucked alongside for easy access. The smaller Dometic fit perfectly in the footwell behind the driver’s seat, keeping cold beverages within reach while on the road. We also stocked the Discovery’s built-in center console cooler with several cans of cold, fizzy caffeine (my one admitted vice), though they never were chilled as well as were those in the auxiliary units. With the critical cargo in place, it was obvious we’d need to use the roof space if we were to get everything to Vermont. I pulled the universal cross bars off my Discovery II and improvised a set of mounting brackets and hooks from hardware store…er, hardware. Luckily, this Discovery showed up wearing
the optional roof rails, allowing such an adaptation. With the cross bars secured, I was able to mount our generic half-basket and rack sack to contain our duffel bags, tents, sleeping bags and other personal, non-perishable items. My daughter suffered no shortage of space behind my wife’s co-pilot seat. Her territory stretched as far as the center armrest, outfitted with as many USB ports as necessary to power up her anti-boredom devices. Overall, however, it was a tight squeeze, but we managed to pack a lot into and onto the new Discovery. Compared to the previous model LR4, there’s definitely less cargo space, mostly up high and near the corners, where the more sloped rear window accounts for the bulk of the 9.0-cubic-foot reduction in volume. As a bonus, however, we found additional space for small, soft items beneath the floor, where the third-row seats were folded. We also found the various storage spaces, like the deep center console bin and deep door pockets, genuinely useful for all the little things you keep at hand for extended trips. We hit the road the following morning for what would be a roughly six-hour drive from our home outside Philadelphia to Manchester, Vermont, site of the Muddy Chef event. Even with a rack and additional weight on the roof, the Discovery motored down the road with no apparent effort. We had easily added back most, if not all, of the 800 or so pounds the
Discovery had shed in the transition from its previous steel integrated body/frame platform to the new model’s all-aluminum monocoque design, but even when fully loaded the truck felt athletic enough to handle all traffic conditions and steep hills. The supercharged V6 barely spoke up except when squeezed hard, which summoned the distinct growl of the twin-screw blower that normally sits silently in the valley between the cylinder heads. Wind noise, even with the disrupted airflow created by the roof rack, was never a problem, reinforcing my initial observations of the new Discovery’s high levels of comfort. The 22-inch performancerated Goodyears were mum as well. Every bit of the outside world remained well outside, at least in terms of intrusive sound. Thankfully, the new Discovery retains its predecessors’ commanding driving position and excellent outward views. Say what you will about the styling, at least the designers put the top of the door panels low enough to allow one’s elbow to rest comfortably on the edge. It’s wide and flat, too. Someone still knows why we like driving these things. And while the A-pillar is thick and sweeps back more steeply than before, the Discovery still affords stunning vistas in almost every direction— except rearwards if, like our test vehicle, it’s loaded to the ceiling with cargo. Needless to say, we rolled into Vermont
in fine fashion and remarkably relaxed. We managed nearly 20 mpg on this leg of the trip, something my own Discovery could never achieve. The weekend was off to a great start. Unpacking the Discovery unearthed a handful of quirks that only come to the surface with real-word use. The first and most obvious as I moved around the vehicle to unpack it was the length of the rear doors. The doors’ swoopy boomerang design gives the Discovery a sleeker, faster profile; it’s a dynamic detail that lends a sense of motion to the vehicle even when it’s stationary. More importantly, the design also makes it easier to get in and out of the back seat and to load children in car seats. Unfortunately, it also can reach out and jab you in the chest until you learn to compensate for its unusual projection. The door handle creates an optical illusion; it looks like it’s in a traditional position relative to the nearest door edge, but it’s actually positioned well forward of the rear edge of the door. You expect the door to sweep right past you—and the lower section does—but you get sucker-punched by the protruding upper half. Unloading the roof rack proved similarly frustrating, largely because this Discovery wasn’t equipped with running boards. The surface of both the front and rear door sills is essentially arc-shaped, with no flat or level surfaces on which to step upwards. Repeated attempts left my feet fighting for grip on uneven trim pieces, particularly in the rear door sills. Anyone who’s owned a Discovery I or II knows the challenge of narrow rear door openings, and ordinarily I’d just use the rear tire as a step, but the load was too far forward in this case to use the rear tire, and without the suspension being lifted, there was too small a gap in the wheel well to get a foot inside. I also found the maximum duration for retained power accessories (particularly the power seats) to be too short for a utility vehicle. I was constantly “rebooting” the vehicle so I could move seats around to unpack and rearrange. Also, nine USB ports is phenomenal, except when you have bigger accessories like electric coolers that have a traditional 12V plug. A couple more old-fashioned “universal power ports” (aka, cigarette lighter sockets) would have been handy. One feature that charmed me with its functionality was the power folding tailgate platform. While I still prefer a good split
tailgate, the extending platform served just as well. We sat and ate from it in the mornings, enjoying generous protection from the full cargo door opened above us. And during the cooking competition, it served as our prep station, giving us a place to cut, measure and mix in advance of the next step. As a bonus, we never had to worry about smaller items jumping out of the cargo area upon opening the door, since the upright flap doubles as a deep protective lip to keep inside items inside. Unlike most of the other participants at Muddy Chef, we didn’t take advantage of the local off-roading. The terrain on even the mildest runs was a bit too extreme for a borrowed, unmodified vehicle, so instead we participated in some of the on-road activities. The one exception was the off-road training course built into the woods adjacent to the campsite. It was effectively a muddy forest trail with some deep elements, pitched to us as easy enough for any stock Land Rover on stock tires to complete. It, too, proved to be a bit more aggressive than anticipated, and we managed to drag bottom on the Discovery even at full suspension lift. It wasn’t until we got home and rinsed the thick layer of mud off the wheels that we discovered just how littered the Vermont soil is with granite. In two short runs through the training
“We rolled into Vermont in fine fashion and remarkably relaxed, managing nearly 20mpg on this leg of the trip.”
course we managed to inflict Spirographstyle scratches onto the faces of all four wheels. Despite our best efforts and genuine caution, we damaged the virgin truck on its maiden trip, an embarrassing “first” for me. The relaxed pace and social nature of the Muddy Chef event made for a truly great time as we got to know so many interesting Land Rover enthusiasts. We didn’t win anything, but had great fun sharing our efforts and sampling the work of those around us. When it was over, we packed the Discovery up and headed further north to the opposite corner of Vermont for a couple days with friends. As before, the Discovery performed exceptionally well during our return home, flawlessly completing the roughly 700-mile trip. Equipped as it was with the Capability, Towing, Drive Pro, and Dynamic Packages— plus a generous list of stand-alone options— the list price came out to just under $82,000, and I’m not sure I’d change a thing if I were
ordering one myself. It also turned in an impressive 19.5 mpg overall on the trip, fully laden and with the air cranked for midsummer conditions. The fifth-generation Discovery is impressive on so many levels. In some ways it is more refined than a last-generation Range Rover, and it’s far more practical as a utility vehicle to boot. Its less controversial shape may make it more appealing to the masses, though it sacrifices a bit of utility in that attempt. A wonderful companion for family trips, the newest Discovery is faithful to its past yet casts an eye forward in its higher levels of comfort and convenience. It also makes a damn fine kitchen on wheels.
THE MUDDY CHEF CHALLENGE
s Land Rover events go, the Muddy Chef Challenge is a true original. Open exclusively to Land Rover owners, the nucleus of this largely social gathering is a three-course cooking competition, all of which must be prepared from a vehicle-based camp kitchen with no advanced preparation. Around that main event is draped a weekend of off-roading and such challenges of outdoorsmanship as falconry, fly casting, and skeet shooting. Plus, the entire state of Vermont offers a Plan B if none of that is of interest. Organized by Eric Yohe and held every year since 2008, the Muddy Chef has taken place at Lime Rock Park in Connecticut in past years but moved to Manchester, Vermont, for 2017. Manchester (home to outdoorsy outfitter Orvis) turns out to be the perfect setting for such an event. The three-day weekend really started on Thursday, when most people arrived on site, checked in for the event and set up their campsites. Another wave arrived on Friday, which was technically the first driving/ activity day, with guided off-road trail rides, a couple of unguided onroad excursions to notable destinations, and a full menu of sporting activities mostly originating at the Orvis flagship store in town. Friday night’s highlight was the Chopped Challenge, an optional cooking event that borrowed its format from the popular Food Network show. Teams had one hour to prepare a meal of their choosing but had to incorporate mystery ingredients revealed to them just before the start of competition. The pressure was discernable, with teams trying to figure out
how to use elements as varied as broccolini, celery root, and strawberry Zinger snack cakes. With only six teams competing on the Orvis lawn, the Chopped Challenge was more of a sideshow and a great opportunity to spectate and mingle with other owners and their Land Rovers. Saturday offered a full slate of driving and sporting activities, but the main event started in the late afternoon as teams began gathering their cooking supplies and setting up their kitchens for the cook-off. By 5:00 pm, we were hard at work on our appetizer, a peach/cucumber gazpacho made from local fruit (bonus points were given for buying local). A half hour later, judges were on the move, sampling everyone’s results. The main course came next, with just a half hour to prepare our cheesy grits and sautéed shrimp dish before judges made the rounds. Finally, we prepared a simple dessert of grilled local peaches stuffed with Vermont goat cheese and topped with pistachios. By dessert time, the sun had set and everyone was feeling generous with their overruns. Drinks were flowing and campfires were glowing. It was one of those good times you wish could continue for days. Awards came Sunday morning after most folks broke down camp and packed up. By mid-day, the event was all over, and we were already talking about our plans for next year. The Muddy Chef Challenge will return to Manchester, Vermont, in July 2018. And if Vermont isn’t really your neck of the woods, you might check out the Muddy Chef Challenge Arizona, coming to Mesa in April 2018. 36
SPECIAL OPS A+G INTERVIEW
Jaguar Land Roverâ€™s John Edwards talks about building future classics as the head of Special Vehicle Operations. WORDS Alloy+Grit Staff PHOTOGRAPHY Land Rover
our years ago Jaguar Land Rover launched a new division called Special Vehicle Operations. SVO’s mission is to stretch the boundaries of performance and personalization, drawing from the company’s production lineup. At the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show, Land Rover showed off the updated 2018 Range Rover Sport SVR, 2018 Range Rover SVAutobiography, and the production concept 2019 Discovery SVX, and we sat down with SVO managing director John Edwards for insight into the company’s growing development of special vehicles.
building cars of distinction, cars that will be future classics. We want to build vehicles that will ultimately feature in magazines like yours. We want people to say, do you remember when Land Rover brought out the Discovery SVX? We want the SVX to be a car that people talk about forever. We have 450 dedicated designers and engineers focused on the SVO business. It’s a big business. If you think about the revenue, you’ve got five thousand vehicles a year at probably a hundred thousand dollars per car or more on average. Do the math; that’s a big business.
Alloy+Grit: How comprehensive is SVO’s brief?
How early in the development cycle do you determine an opportunity for an SVO vehicle?
John Edwards: We have permission to take every car in the portfolio and push the boundaries. We push the boundaries in terms of three dimensions: luxury, capability, and performance. Right now we have three Land Rover products. We have the Range Rover Autobiograph, which is about luxury, the Range Rover Sport SVR, which is about performance, and of course we’ll soon have the Discovery SVX, which is about capability. So these are all niche vehicles within our main lineup. Including Jaguar V models, we’ll sell around five thousand [SVO] units worldwide. The U.S. is our biggest market. We also have permission to produce exclusive editions, or what we call Collector’s Editions. The Jaguar Project 7 is a good example – we made just two hundred and fifty of these D-Type-inspired F-Types. It was the first car we did when we were set up three and a half years ago. We have scope to do as much as we want. We’re set up as a business within the Jaguar Land Rover organization. We work with the main business, but we’re set up as a separate business. I have a separate income statement, cash flow, investment profile. We’re there to make a return. But really importantly, we’ve got the objective of developing a really powerful sub-brand. So the SVO brand – the SV letters in the roundel – ultimately we want that to represent something special. As a result, everything we do has to have design and engineering integrity, so we’re not interested in just having cosmetic derivatives. We need cars that are special. We talk about
The core business [Jaguar or Land Rover] will develop the [model] program. We’ll get involved a couple of years before launch, but not right from the get-go. That sometimes causes us some challenges. The core business develops a car, and they want to optimize that car. What we then do is take it and try to push the boundaries. They take it to ten and we take it to eleven. And sometimes that creates a bit of tension internally. But at the end of the day, everyone in our group is a car enthusiast, and we’re building something special. How does the SVO development cycle work? It’s a matter of technical feasibility. Does it meet our standards, our DNA? Then, can we do it? What’s the investment look like, what’s the business case look like, what’s our capacity? We’ll talk with the core business; we’ll talk to the U.S. market, for instance, and say, hey, we’ve got this crazy idea, what do you think? And we’ll take their input. Usually we’ll listen to it, but not always. Sometimes we’ll just say, well, sorry but we’re going to do it anyway because we think it’s a cool idea. Depending on the investment level of the program, I can just go ahead and sign off on the investment. I’ll always talk to the CEO [Ralf Speth] about what we’re doing as a courtesy. Some of them, the level of investment will require his blessing. We tend to work to the mantra of asking for forgiveness rather than permission. But we’re charged with acting as a business within Jaguar Land Rover; the boss wants us to be agile and nimble and entrepreneurial, 39
and to do that you have to be quite decisive. There’s a real danger in our business that you can find lots of people who need to rubber stamp a decision, and all of a sudden it’s taking a long time to sign a program off. I try to be quite decisive; I take some risks, but then if it goes wrong I’m accountable, and if it goes right I say, I told you so. Internally, is the SVO group like a team of rock stars? Do I look like a rock star? Let us rephrase that. Is SVO an echelon within the company that to join requires a certain level of achievement? Increasingly, yes. I think you can enjoy yourself, but it’s a hard place to work. We talk about having a Formula One mindset. By that we mean the car’s got to be ready Sunday at two o’clock on the grid. There’s no point in showing up at four o’clock. We do what we have to do to be there on the grid. We’re always trying to do things in a slightly compressed time scale, so it puts big pressure on the teams. They work very hard, but they also play hard; they’re enthusiastic. Increasingly, if people come to [SVO] and they prove themselves and go back to the core business, it would be what I would call a career accelerator. What outside influences might inspire an SVO project? First of all, I give credit to Ralf Speth. He’s always believed that these two brands offer more potential than perhaps some of us who’ve been with the business…well, I’ve been with Land Rover for twenty-five years, and I didn’t necessarily have the same self-belief that Ralf does. It was different times, back then. And he’s had the belief that we can do much more, that we can push our products further. The product range we have now is much more developed and of a higher quality than it’s ever been, so we’ve got the building blocks to go further. There’s a great momentum in our business right now, and our customers are loving it. We look at brands like [Mercedes-Benz] AMG. Our brand is different, because we talk
that our customers don’t [know] is that I can see into the future. I know what the future looks like, and we’re definitely not abandoning that part of our business. Right now it might look like it to some people, but they’re not seeing the whole picture. They’re looking at it somewhat superficially. Do you think you can make an SVO business case for any model in the lineup? A Discovery Sport SXV, for instance? It’s conceivable. We look at that all the time. We’ve got designers and engineers, and part of their brief is to come up with crazy ideas and commercial opportunities. So trust me, I’ve got Discovery Sports. I‘ve got concepts for Discovery Sport SVX, Discovery Sport SVR, and we’ve probably got some ideas about what a Discovery Sport SVA might look like. And in principle, we could do that on every single model in our lineup. My job is to choose the winners, make the best case. Again, they all have to deliver [financially], they all take investment, so we have to be careful. But in theory, yes, any vehicle in the range.
about luxury, performance and capability; AMG is pretty much focused only on performance. We look at brands like [BMW] M, we look at Bentley and Rolls-Royce in terms of their personalization and luxury, even Maybach to a certain extent. But the allterrain space is unique. We’re dealing with a new breed of customer. We’re learning what these clients really want in a relationship. They’re not buying a mode of transport; this is an extension of their personality. What we’re increasingly finding is our customers typically have a whole host of vehicles. They’re really demanding and have very high standards. Very discerning. But if you can treat them right and communicate with them effectively and give them the right product, then they become part of the family. What kind of customer input do you gather to find out where there is an opportunity for SVO product? Depends on the project. Some projects, we’ll produce what we call Car Zero. We’ll just
produce a car and put it out there and see what we get; the Discovery SVX is an example. We’ve never done a clinic. We’re constantly talking to our customers, and I think our instincts are pretty good. Talk about the business case for the Discovery SVX. I’m a Land Rover guy by background and I’m a little bit frustrated that some people look at the Discovery and, because it looks much more premium and much more refined, they assume it’s not capable. It frustrates me, because I know it is incredibly capable. So one of the reasons for doing Discovery SVX was to reinforce that fact. It’s to say to people, hey, just remember this is an incredibly capable vehicle and here’s proof of that. The business case is pretty clear, I think. I’m very confident that the demand for that will be strong. There’s a very strong desire for that car. I know we’re not talking about time lines, but you know, we’re going to replace this [pointing to a picture of a Defender on the pages of Alloy+Grit]. The thing that we know 40
You haven’t hit a ceiling yet with Range Rover. There’s certainly still territory to conquer, especially with Bentley and Rolls-Royce and even Aston Martin entering the SUV space. Is it conceivable that customers can truly tailor their Range Rover at a price, and are you prepared for that level of business yet? In terms of personalization, yes. We’re doing that already today in terms of colors, materials, veneers, embroidery, and stuff like that. Trust me, some of our Range Rover owners will come in and spec out another £50,000 worth of options on top of a £125,000 vehicle. And at an even higher level, we’re doing full restorations on the Classics. When Bentley announced they were doing an SUV, I was asked if it was a threat. And my response was I’ve got massive respect for Bentley, but I see this as an opportunity. I think they’re going to help create a market that Range Rover can move into. I think it’s proven to us that it’s really a growth opportunity.
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP Range Rover SVAutobiograhy takes interior appointments to new heights; Discovery SVX promises to be the most capable Discovery ever; Range Rover Sport SVR cockpit focuses entirely on the driver experience.
The British Are Coming Two of England’s national treasures join forces with a team of British ex-pats in America to create one mighty. WORDS Bryan Joslin PHOTOGRAPHY Dillon Bonk
t’s hard to imagine a more quintessentially British pairing than a Land Rover Defender and a Barbour field coat. Sharing such attributes as stylish functionality and security in extreme climates, the two are as closely linked as a pot of ale and Sunday roast. For all we know, Maurice Wilks was wearing a Barbour when he scratched out the first Land Rover silhouette in the Welsh sand. In many ways these two icons of English country life are throwbacks to bygone times, yet each has retained a timeless appeal that bridges nostalgia and the cutting edge — the true definition of a classic. To fortify this connection, and to celebrate the two brands’ shared “modern antiquity,” Barbour’s American office commissioned a one-off Defender 90 for restoration and enhancement to a unique specification. The finished vehicle is currently touring the east coast to promote the Land Rover Defender Collection by Barbour, making stops at Orvis retail stores where customers can enter a sweepstakes to win this extraordinary truck later this year. The American Defender was created in the wake of an earlier custombuild carried out by Land Rover’s own Classic division for Barbour in England. That project started out as a very late-production UK-spec Defender 90 XS hardtop, which left the factory in November 2015. Land Rover Classic acquired the vehicle for the project and turned it over to the works team, which is more accustomed to restoring decadesold Series vehicles. As the Defender was barely a year old when the conversion started, most of Classic’s effort was spent on customization rather than restoration. Inspired by the company’s signature Beaufort waxed jacket, Barbour’s UK Defender was converted to a soft top and, to match the jacket’s color, given a fresh application of a custom green paint. A full overhaul of the interior involved re-trimming the seating and door panels with
Barbour’s signature tartan cloth, a version of which also was used to cover a special roof. Completed in June 2017, this original Barbour Defender toured Land Rover stores in the UK during the fall and winter as a promotional vehicle, and so excited was Barbour by the finished project, the company felt that America should have a version of its own. A U.S.-spec model would be needed if eventually it were to be handed off as a prize, so that meant finding a suitable 1994, 1995, or 1997 Defender 90 NAS. It also meant finding a shop that could handle the conversion to Barbour’s branding, and the anticipated restoration required of a twenty-year-old truck. Oh, and all of this in a short window of time so the finished project could tour the U.S. simultaneously with the British Defender’s UK tour. There’s no shortage of quality Defender restorers, particularly on the east coast where Barbour and its U.S. retail partner Orvis are both located, but the problem was most of the quality shops are booked months or more in advance, and they tend to be more focused on nutsand-bolts restorations than on custom builds. Oh, and Barbour didn’t even have a vehicle yet. With only a concept in hand and a deadline established, Barbour was directed to East Coast Defender, of Kissimmee, Florida, which builds personalized Defenders for high-value clients. ECD certainly would have no trouble meeting the very specific criteria for the Barbour project, but, more importantly, most of the shop’s builds begin with well-worn English imports, so it’s also highly versed in the intricacies of restoring these old classics. This shouldn’t surprise, because the owners, brothers Tom and Elliot Humble and Scott Wallace, are themselves English imports who first set up shop here in 2013. As befits a bespoke tailor, though of machinery rather than cloth, the firm follows a strict process of appraisal, design, and application. A 43
vehicle at ECD typically starts at the tear-down station, spending exactly four days undergoing a methodical disassembly, during which every part is cataloged and assessed for either disposal or preservation. Most of the body and trim end up being replaced with new parts; it’s simply more cost-effective to source and finish new body panels, for instance, rather than spend time sanding, straightening, and perfecting old panels. Once it’s stripped bare, the chassis and mechanical systems are judged as suitable, or not, for the project at hand…and then the build can begin. As it turned out, the Barbour project would be able to bypass this phase. Because, as it turned out, the search for a donor vehicle went no further than ECD’s storage lot and a nearly mint 1995 NAS 90 station wagon. With little more than 30,000 original miles accrued, ECD had taken it in as a partial trade for a custom build, and it quickly became the ideal candidate with its manual gearbox and Coniston Green paint. When the body was separated from the chassis to determine the scope of work needed, the team was surprised at how well the original vehicle had fared. Rather than take the usual restoration route, the Barbour Defender skated through the company’s East Coast Overhaul shop, where Defenders typically receive routine service and lighter modifications. By early spring, the project was under way. The goal was to create a twin, though not necessarily an identical one, to the UK Barbour Defender. In order to keep the registration process simple, it was decided the engine would remain spec’d out to its original 3.9-liter gasoline V8 configuration. The original Coniston Green paint was deemed an acceptable hue for the American version, helping speed up the restoration process. Painting everything in a custom color, like that
applied by Land Rover Classic to the British Defender, would have held up the process far too long. Fortunately, the chassis needed only minimal attention to bring it up to ECD’s standards, requiring none of the welding repairs generally dictated by a twenty-year-old Defender. Instead it got a light cleanup and was treated to a full repaint in black bedliner. The original engine, while still relatively fresh for its age, was replaced with a rebuilt 3.9 unit from RPI in England, which was treated to a mild Kent cam for a bit more top-end grunt. ECD chose new Ashcroft axles to replace the factory units, but replaced the brakes and suspension components with new original-equipment hardware. In-house, the team overhauled the driveshafts and rebuilt the original R380 gearbox and LT230 transfer case to ward off future demons. Mechanicals now sorted, the crew turned to the bodywork. The first objective was to convert the station wagon body to a soft top, something the shop does frequently for its private clients, who often commission beach runners from bog-stock British utility wagons. Completely
BELOW At home outside the Orvis Outlet in Manchester. OPPOSITE, CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT Wood Momo wheel adds warmth to stock Defender interior; Aluminum shift knob; Barbour tartan fabric and brass zipper hardware create custom door pockets; Canvas top bearing the Barbour logo; Simple cockpit; Tartan and leather front seats; Steel wheels look the business.
“…the appeal of the Barbour Defender lies in its understated execution, perfectly in line with the two brands it represents.”
resprayed in a glossy application of Coniston Green paint, the flawless bodywork was carefully refitted. Setting the panel gaps and aligning the panels is one of the most critical stages of rebuilding a Defender, and ECD takes pride in the final result. The body was treated to sparse but functional upgrades in keeping with the vehicle’s heritage theme. No winches or brush guards, no light bars or snorkels, just a pure Defender, a country truck. A set of BFGoodrich all-terrains are mounted to Wolf steel wheels that replace the original 16-inch alloys. The wheels and fender flares are finished in matching Coniston Green, adding a retro flair to the aesthetics, while black checkerplate adds protection to the wing tops and doorsills. One concession to improved performance is the addition of contemporary LED headlights, which replace the old halogen units and provide better light while reducing the load on the notoriously fickle headlight switch. A canvas top from Rovers North stretches across the integrated roll cage to provide foul weather protection while also serving as the canvas (literally) for the crucial Barbour branding. Inside the truck is where the Barbour connection really comes to life. The standard Defender seats – two buckets in front and two side-facing benches in the rear – have been re-trimmed in a new saddle-colored leather with cloth inserts crafted from Barbour’s tartan cloth. Barbour
provided the cloth along with its own zippers for the custom zip-closed storage pouches built into the front doors. Open the doors of this truck, and the concept flashes to life. Additional refinements include an upgraded audio system incorporating a Kenwood receiver and Infinity speakers. A wood and aluminum Momo Indy steering wheel lends a classic charm. And because it started life as an American-spec truck, the Defender is equipped with factory air conditioning for a comfortable environment regardless of whether the top is on or off. Corporate mash-ups don’t often come together this well. No doubt part of the appeal of the Barbour Defender lies in its understated execution, perfectly in line with the two brands it represents. “It would have been easy to go too far,” explains Elliot Humble, East Coast Defender’s Operations Manager, suggesting the Barbour highlights are just right. We find no reason to argue the point. The Barbour Defender will be getting its exercise on the road over the next few months as it makes brief appearances at Orvis stores primarily along the eastern shore in support of the sweepstakes. Its new owner, to be announced after Father’s Day 2018, will also bag enough Barbour and Orvis loot to fill the cargo space. We’d be happy with just the Defender… and maybe a pot of ale to celebrate. 49
An ex-pat Brit converts a familiar old workhorse into a weekend leisure wagon. WORDS Steve Hoare PHOTOGRAPHY Daniel Marcello & Jonnathan Hiesler
bright red fire engine is almost as much a symbol of New York City as Lady Liberty herself. Across the five boroughs, the New York Fire Department protects the nearly nine million residents with more than three hundred and forty engines and trucks, and the overwhelming majority of these are behemoth tankers and ladder trucks from Seagrave. Not surprisingly, no NYFD vehicles are made by Land Rover—which is why, while recently wandering the streets of Manhattan, I was astonished to see a chimera of sorts, a hybrid beast that, unlike the legendary fire-spouting monster, was built to fight conflagrations—a 6x6 Defender 110 fire tender. Naturally, I raced across the street to investigate the unfamiliar truck, laying a hand on the fire engine’s hood as though to confirm its reality. No mirage, the rig’s right-hand steering wheel and remnants of livery were clues to its British origin, but how did the truck end up in America? The stor y begins in October 1987, when this Defender left Solihull, as a 3.5-liter V8 gas-powered 110 station wagon, for HCB-Angus, a well-established specialist coachbuilder based in Totton, near Southampton. HCB-Angus estimated the modifications to make it a fire vehicle would take 910 manhours and had agreed to deliver the completed apparatus within fourteen weeks of receipt of the chassis. The 110 chassis actually was sent first to Carmichael, another customizer licensed by HCB-Angus, to undergo the first part of its transformation, a second rear axle and suspension to complete the conversion to a 6x6. It was then returned to HCBAngus for installation of the custom body and fire equipment, which consisted of a 1,000-liter water tank and a gas-driven pump to do the business. The completed fire truck passed extensive on-road testing with a representative from the Dorset Fire Brigade on February 25,1988, presumably on deadline. The testing reports make interesting reading: Not only did the vehicle undergo tests of acceleration (0-50 mph in 23 seconds) and brake fade (obtained
0.71 G in emergency brake test) but also of body stability. Fully outfitted, it could roll 36 degrees before becoming unstable. Certification completed, it was now officially a 6x6 One Ten Land Rover Light Water Tender. HCB-Angus assigned it serial number 6370, part of an order for three vehicles to be used by the Dorset Fire Brigade. The trio was acquired for fighting heath fires and spent time at Lyme Regis and Gillingham. All three vehicles had consecutive UK registrations and HCBAngus Serial numbers: E367PFX, E368PFX, and E369/PFX, and 6370, 6370.1, and 6370.2, respectively. The Land Rover proved an ideal vehicle for its designated task, as it was able to reach remote locations and carry enough water for most heath fires. During service it was modified further by the Dorset Fire Brigade’s own workshops before being released from service and sold to Westland Helicopters. At Westland, “6370” was on call in case of airfield fires, which required the installation of a 140-gallon water tank and foamspraying machine, the configuration when it was finally retired to civilian life. Responsible for its immigration to the U.S. was Jacques Selby, of Charleston-based Relic Imports, who had purchased the vehicle directly from Westland Helicopter. If you think importing a Defender into the U.S. is unnecessarily complicated, you should try doing it with such unusual equipment and fittings on board. Under the auspices of fighting drug runners, terrorists, and apparently any thing else strange or out of the ordinary, the chaps at Customs and Border Protection kept the Land Rover for an extended period of time, probing it for any untoward secrets. Unfortunately, that meant that instead of using scopes and instruments to search the empty 140-gallon tank, CBP agents carved out three large “inspection ports” in the sides of the tank with a plasma cutter, rendering it useless. The border agents also confiscated the onboard electrical
“It’s not uncommon for Tom to come down in the morning and find flowers across the windshield and hood, a testament to just how popular the fire department is in New York City.”
generator and foam machine. We can only imagine how these items might have any thing to do with our various “wars,” but it’s a shame that a historic first-response vehicle, one that ser ved the public for thirty years, should have been disfigured in such a way. Bureaucratic hurdles behind them, Jacques and a close friend who races in NASA Pro Rally Racing agreed that the Land Rover would make an ideal race support vehicle. Plans were made to outfit it with an on-board welder, generator, toolbox and even a TV. However, the project never caught fire, so to speak, and progressed only as far as being named “Big Red.” Enter the stor y Tom Langley, himself a 2012 import from the UK and now working in IT recruitment in the Big Apple. Having settled in, his love of field hockey and skiing sent him on a search for suitable transport to get Tom, friends, and gear around the city and beyond for their downtime fun. Not unnaturally, a Land Rover was his first choice. Tom began searching for a Land Rover 110 around Thanksgiving in 2016 when he came across a red 6x6 on eBay. The listing failed to hit its reser ve, and soon Tom was in contact with the seller, eager to strike a deal directly. He soon found himself on a f light to Charleston, South Carolina, hoping the vehicle was as good in person as it looked online. When Tom first saw the vehicle before him, he immediately fell in love. “I couldn’t resist,” he recalls. As soon as the deal was struck, Tom realized he’d plunged headfirst into the deep end, a kind of baptism by water tender. And this was his first venture into Land Rover ownership! Anxious as he was to proceed, the 110 stayed in Charleston until July of the following year while Tom figured out some of the logistics and implications of his purchase. Late last summer Tom finally collected his red treasure. His first obser vation was not unexpected for a Brit who grew up with fuel-sipping compacts. He recalls driving the vehicle back
from South Carolina and calculating single-digit fuel economy. “It was bloody horrific,” he recalls, but then immediately excuses the Land Rover’s thirst as an overly rich mixture due to removing the engine-driven high-pressure Albany auxiliary pump. Well, sure, and the fact that the 110 is as aerodynamic as a brick fire house. Tom has finally formed a vision to transform the unique 110 into something of a modular vehicle, offering quick-release options for three different activities: overlanding, people carrying, and mobile bar service. To accommodate these goals requires meeting overlapping needs, such as soundproofing and installing an auxiliary heater that can warm up the entire vehicle (and not just someone’s ankle like the current one). Tom is fortunate that the Land Rover is still very original, down to the 6x6 modifications comprised of standard Land Rover axles and suspension components, so repair parts are fairly easy to find. The standard 3.5-liter gasoline V8 is due for a service in order to coax all 114 of its horses back to full gallop (okay, full trot), the brakes need rebuilding, and some other general service items need to come current—along, of course, the sorting out of a few electrical gremlins. In somewhat of a shock, this heav y-duty Land Rover was equipped with a standard 12-volt electrical system (not the 24V system on some heav y-duty models) and only one battery. That’s probably why it was equipped with a portable generator to power additional lights and accessories. Tom intends to fit a second battery for leisure accessories, and roof-mounted solar panels to create a fully rechargeable vehicle. There is also talk of a winch being fitted, a useful addition for venturing on tougher trips. For overland travel, the back body will be transformed into a bedroom with indoor camping amenities, such as a hatch to the rear compartment so luggage and gear can be accessed without 55
having to step outside. Once completed, Tom and girlfriend Irie expect to test out the accommodations with a trip to Nova Scotia and Newfoundland in the coming summer. Should all go well, a more ambitious outing is planned—driving through South America to Patagonia. For people carr ying, the rear compartment has been adjusted to fit several bench seats to accommodate up to six additional passengers. Tom’s goal is to be able to take at least eight people, complete with gear, on trips to the slopes. Skis will probably be stored in the body space that once housed the fire ladders. The final option in the modular rig will be a mobile bar. Measurements have already been taken, and Tom assures us three full-sized kegs can fit in the rear gear compartment. The final design is still a work in progress, but he’s confident you’ll see the finished result at one of several Land Rover events he hopes to attend this year. Several special features are being left intact (since the CBP didn’t confiscate all the toys): the f lashing blue emergency lights, the sirens, and the public address system. Tom has already had some fun with the PA, using it to occasionally trade barbs with pedestrians and once with a small sailing vessel as paced the Land Rover along the shore! While Tom would love to complete all the modifications in time for the upcoming event season, he’s already discovered that parking the Land Rover on New York streets (and trying to work on it in situ) brings multiple problems and delays. Police officers stop and stare. Perhaps they’re just admiring his parallel parking skills, as the Land Rover is always inch-perfect
to the curb, despite its original right-hand drive configuration. More often than not the officers are just checking in to see if Tom and the fire engine are okay, perhaps assuming that Big Red is still on call, ready to roll. Once they determine the Land Rover is no longer in service (and not a native), the questions about its history and provenance begin to f ly. It’s not uncommon for Tom to come down in the morning and find f lowers across the windshield and hood, a testament to just how popular the NYFD is in New York City. Big Red may not actually be one of New York’s finest, but that hardly matters; it’s big and red and looks the business. If there’s any doubt about its appeal, the bright yellow custom license plate up front tells you exactly what everyone seems to think about it: “HAWT!” Spoken like a true New Yorker. Special thanks to Aiden Fisher for the in-depth research on HCB-Angus. Aiden has published several books on HCB-Angus Fire Engines, available online.
Special thanks to NYFD Engine Co. 14 for giving us the opportuntiy to shoot in and around their station.
Three idiots travel north by northwest in a Series One 107 Pick-up WORDS Daniel Marcello PHOTOGRAPHY Daniel Marcello
hen Brandon Rabbie buys a Land Rover, getting it home is usually the beginning of an adventure. It doesn’t seem to matter whether he buys a truck in Canada, Colorado, or Australia; his desire to drive his latest acquisition home under its own power, oceans excepted, is an overwhelming force. So when he called to tell me he’d just bought a Timm Cooper 107 and asked if I wanted to go get it with him, I did not hesitate, and three days later we were on a flight together, headed for Seattle with a plan to drive it back home to New York. I own a Series One, so I knew what I was getting myself into. They are unbearably loud, brutally uncomfortable, and probably the most dangerous machine I’ve ever driven. For those who aren’t intimately familiar with the Series One, introduced in 1948, a quick review: Take a tin box, paint it green, climb inside the box, and you’re driving a Series One. They aren’t just modestly equipped; they simply aren’t equipped…with anything. You get four drum brakes (that pull whichever way the wind isn’t); you get seats (well, foam stuffed into green plastic bags anyway); and that’s it. No armrests. No headrests. No sun visors. No radio. No cupholders. No A/C. No floor mats. No seat belts. No dashboard. These trucks consist of thin, vibrating sheets of metal that find sweet spots of harmonic resonance around 50 mph, if you can get there. They have absolutely nothing, and that’s what I love most about them. With that in mind, why I should I be so eager to spend several days
crossing the country in one? First, this is no ordinary Series One. A very special craftsman named Timm Cooper built it, and I knew this truck would work flawlessly. Second, when would I get another chance to drive across the United States in a Cooper-built Series One? This would be an adventure for the books. If Timm Cooper’s name doesn’t ring a bell, all you need know is that some consider him the Carroll Shelby of Land Rovers. He’s not a restorer, and he doesn’t do glammed-up LS conversions to impress your beach buds. What he does best is take iconic Land Rover classics and re-engineer them from the ground up. Want your Series II rolling on 42-inch tires, locked Eaton axles, and driven by a completely serviceable 350-hp American engine while retaining the classic appeal of a vintage Land Rover? Call Timm. Some people might deride him for modifying the bulkhead of a rare 80-inch, but if he can make that early Series One outperform a brand-new Ford Raptor, would you do it? The answer is probably yes. Timm has pushed the boundaries for years, taking chances that others simply won’t. He is a true Land Rover nut in the purest — and “unpurist” — way. The 107 (introduced in 1954 and so named due to its longer wheelbase) that Brandon bought was no exception. From the driver’s seat, you’d see little out of the ordinary: a headlight switch, five gauges in the center of the bulkhead, and three pedals that could have been borrowed from a forklift. Through the split windshield, which looks to be made of stained glass purloined from some old church, you’ll see 59
a tiny doughnut on the bonnet. You won’t see the fuel tank under the passenger seat’s green foam bag. But, fire this truck up, and everyone in the vicinity will knows it’s far from ordinary. New, these old British tractors put out 50 hp; based on its exhaust note alone, Brandon’s has probably seven times that number. Power for this 107 comes from a Chevy 327 with a hot cam that really lights up above 3000 rpm. It’s bolted to an old-school NP435 four-speed tranny, Series II transfer case, and Series II HD axles with 3.54:1 Range Rover diffs. The front brakes have been converted to discs; the power steering is from a Range Rover P38. Mechanically speaking, it’s pretty stout. Visually, it’s a study in simplicity, with only a custom bed altering the lines of the classic Series One silhouette. The 107 was in pretty good shape when we arrived, needing only a couple of minor alterations to get it ready for the long haul. Because sixteen hours a day for 3,500 miles in any Series truck can get a little tiring, we figured even the slightest improvements were worthwhile. We decided seat belts might be a good idea, so we hooked some in and made sure they were properly zip-tied down. We fitted new 35-inch tires to keep the revs in a sweeter spot, ultimately raising our milesper-smile rating, cut some Plexiglas for rudimentary side windows, and also fitted a random canvas top that Timm had laying around. You know, just in case it rained. Despite our best efforts to weatherproof our chariot, we could not adjust the typical panel gaps and poor (well, no) weather seals that invariably afflict all old Land Rovers. We did, however, use up two entire rolls of duct tape to create makeshift seals and close up the
remaining gaps. As nothing else appeared leaking or loose, the truck looked good to go. Portland was our first stop. As if two suckers weren’t enough potential casualties of this trip, we also enlisted our friend John Costello to join us, and we’d need to pick him up at the airport first. On our way there, we made a quick detour to Land Rover’s Research and Development Incubator, where our friend Ben Ellis invited us in to check out some of the new projects. Needless to say, we saw no door seals constructed of duct tape. That evening, Jeff Briggs had arranged a wonderful get together for us at Toby and Nicole Pond’s house, where we were joined by Brian Hall from Defenders Northwest, and Paul Van Orden with his 101 Forward Control. Land Rover owners are some of the most accommodating people I’ve met, and it was heartening to share stories and laughs all night with kindred spirits before hitting the road for several days of unexpectedness. The following day we joined the Pacific Coast Rover Club for the All British Field Meet, where we ran into more familiar names and faces. Terri-Ann Wakeman was there promoting her latest book, and Timm Cooper and Erich Neal had driven down from Seattle to showcase some new frames they were fabricating. We bailed on the ABFM a bit early so we could lay down some miles and get a good start on our THIS PAGE, NEXT PAGE CLOCKWISE FROM TOP 35” Tires are fitted to give a better rev-range; Command center; An original Series One catalog description of the interior; Gorgeous Oregon countryside; Always filling up.
The Land-Rover driving compartment offers excellent accommodations for three people and provides comfort and roominess uneqaulled in a vehicle on this type. Pedals and levers are so arranged that drivers of any stature may easily operate them, while the position of the seats gives a very high degree of control. There is good forward visibility through the deep, two-piece toughened glass windshiled. Left-hand steerting can be fitted if required.
cross-country trip. Our goal was to make it to Ontario, Oregon, before nightfall, but not before a quick drive to the top of Mount Hood to take in the view. All three of us were now together for the first time, and suddenly the 107 felt a bit snug as we settled into our three-across seating positions. Brandon was driving, John took the middle seat (at least for the time being), and I sat pressed against the right door. To allow John a little more space on my side, I would occasionally stick my feet out the window. Shoulder space was the most precious, and from this point on, our upper torsos and heads would sway and bounce in cadence with every curve and bump in the road. At the time we started our journey, Oregon was suffering from massive forest fires, and we drove east into a cloudy haze unlike anything we’d ever witnessed. The rank odor of burnt landscape permeated the truck’s cab, and a thin film of dust and ash rained down
on us all day and night to Ontario. Just like riding a motorcycle, when travelling in a Series Land Rover you see, hear and smell everything you encounter, for better or worse. We developed a pretty solid rotation schedule to switch things up. Every hour and a half or so, we’d get out for a stretch…and for all too frequent fueling stops. We’d calculated we were getting about nine miles to the gallon; on a ten-gallon fuel tank, that’s every ninety miles. When there was no service station within the tank’s range, we would have to pull over and refuel from our race-style spare fuel cans. We did not have the Jerry cans you might expect to see on a Land Rover, because on a Series One the fuel tank is under the passenger seat, and you need to be pretty precise when you hit the hole. We would all abandon the truck for five minutes, clean the glass, make sure nothing was leaking, take a leak or not, rotate drivers, and hit the road again. We each took four- to six-hour stints in the driver’s seat. Cabin
awash with noise, we could not, except for piercing screams, hear each other, so on these long night runs we’d make sure at least two of us were always awake. A casual glance over to the driver to make eye contact offered some assurance he was still alert enough for the task. A head nod up and down, it was time again to stop for fuel. Sitting “bitch” for this trip took on a whole new meaning. Nothing can describe the experience of losing several hours of precious life in the middle seat of an early Series truck. With your right foot positioned on the passenger-side foot well and your left foot tickling the gas pedal, the four steel rods rising up out of the floor constantly bedevil your crotch. Remember that split windshield? After a very short while, vision and mind became completely disjointed by the two-inch galvanized strip between the two panes. But, center seat had two very important tasks: keep the driver awake and run the high/low switch for the headlights. For some odd reason the truck’s headlight switch was a three-position type. Every time traffic came barreling down the opposite lane, the guy in the middle would flick the high beams back to low beams, but with a brief moment of complete darkness between clicks. Not that it mattered much — the 107’s headlights might as well have been candles flickering in the wind. In Alpine, Wyoming, we paid a visit to my uncle, who has a small obsession with flying machines. He took us for an unbelievable flight over the Grand Tetons and around Jackson Hole. Immediately after landing we were back in the 107; it was getting dark; we were exhausted;
we had to get to Casper before the end of the day; we estimated it was a six-hour drive from Alpine. As we moved east and climbed higher into Yellowstone, the temperature dropped into the low thirties. We were soon wearing two jackets each, and a sleeping bag lay across our three laps. The sky was pitch black, and the long straight roads played with our vision. We’d lost our passenger-side window soon after leaving Alpine, but frankly we were surprised our shoddy job had lasted that long. And yes, we went back and looked for the window but soon agreed it was kind of pointless to look for a small piece of clear Plexiglas in the freezing dark. We pressed on regardless, and it soon was clear that the right passenger would be enjoying the new bitch seat. We drove for what seemed like an eternity on this straight, narrow road without ever seeing another car. There were no stars to look at either, as the sky was still full of smoke, but the moon was a brilliant burnt orange orb thanks to Mother Nature’s incredibly organic Instagram filter. It was a bit creepy, but the most surreal experience was after pulling over on the side of the road to refuel. After removing our headphones and earplugs, the utter stillness of the acrid atmosphere was unnerving. If not for our ears ringing like we’d just left a rock concert, we could have heard a pine needle drop. The night driving continued to mess with our perception. We were refueling so frequently that it felt like we were stuck in some strange time warp. Didn’t we just fuel up twenty minutes ago? How are we still
on this same straight bit of road? Are we going anywhere? Everything looked the same as at the last stop. We were very tired, deaf, and more than a bit delusional and delirious. Then it was my turn to drive. My right eye was completely wrecked from sitting in the windowless seat during what had become an eight-hour ordeal. My contact lens was so dried up, I could use only my left eye while the right one was closed, trying to relieve the itch. The road was now lined with pronghorn and jackrabbits, apparently bent on suicide. Our 80-mph pace slowed down to 60 as we neared Casper. Needing to crash, in real beds, we spotted a motel on the outskirts of town. It was now three in the morning, and we were still behind schedule. Brandon made the decision that we’d need to hit the road by six to make up time. I went to the front desk and asked for the most murderous-looking room that would sleep three guys for just three hours. The man behind the desk said he had one room in the corner that fit the bill, asking for the make and model of our car. I pointed to the only truck in the parking lot he could see and grumbled, “We drove that thing…you’ll hear us leave in three hours.” We could have used a lot more sleep, but our friend Robert Wollschlager was expecting us in Omaha, Nebraska, the next day. That would be our half-way point, still at least ten hours ahead of us. As I was packing up and heading to the truck, I remember thinking
how amazing it was that this old 107 had come this far without any problems — yet it was slowly destroying its human cargo. If the center seat dilemma weren’t bad enough, the roar from the missing window deafened and blinded us one by one, and the damp air turned the entire cabin into a wet mess as shivers coursed down our backs. We hit the road driving straight into a rising, blinding sun, but soon it warmed up the cab and helped evaporate the dew. It wasn’t until the morning’s first gas station fill-up and coffee break, though, that we all got our grooves back again and felt better about the new day’s drive, which turned out to be smooth and uneventful. We had a warm welcoming as we pulled up to Robert’s house. Rob had organized a little Rover get-together, and it was good to see familiar faces again and tell them stories from the trip. Beer and Cohibas came out, and we got blamelessly drunk. We’d earned it. The following morning found us at the local hardware store for the necessaries to make improvised improvements on the rig. We cut two new Plexiglas windows, but this time we used four-inch-wide Gorilla tape to seal them to the doors. We zip-tied some loose items down and found a wooden rod that would support six shop towels over our heads to ensure the canvas top stayed nice and taut. We were feeling pretty good about the day ahead. An hour later the canvas top decided it had had enough. What started as a tiny slit above the driver seat had turned into full-blown cowboy tassels, flapping in the wind. We pulled over and removed what was
left of the top, figuring we’d rough it for a while (as though we had a choice). Dark clouds on the horizon ahead of us suggested otherwise, and we made a quick detour to Lowes for more shopping: One 48 x 52inch blue tarp — no, make that a black tarp; esthetics matter — a rivet puncher, ratchet straps, more tape. Our intrepid trio attacked the new problem like surgeons. Brandon measured out the windshield tabs and punched new rivet holes for the perfect fit. It was done so well, in fact, it left us questioning how many times he’d done this procedure before. John added tape to the underside of the tarp for reinforcement. I put braces up inside to help give the tarp a snug fit. We tugged on the back corners and for security added ratchet straps around the outside and another one over the top. It looked like shit, but we figured that meant it would stay put.
Sure enough, we hit the road and drove straight into a torrential downpour. Now the cockpit’s cacophony was joined by the rattle of giant raindrops hitting plastic film at 80 mph. And sure enough, we soon noticed water seeping in between the folding windshield frame and the bulkhead. There isn’t, of course, a seal there. Little bubbles were pushing through and dripping down to our feet. At least the driver had a windshield wiper; the passenger didn’t. With air circulation inside the cab now sealed off, the temperature began to climb, and the humidity became unbearable. We had no choice but to take off the windows to avoid slow, soggy suffocation. As we burned east through Ohio and into Pennsylvania, the reality of going back to our day jobs started to hit us. I didn’t relish being back in the office, but I sure was looking forward to a hot shower and a warm
THIS PAGE, OPPOSITE PAGE CLOCKWISE FROM TOP Full exposure to the elements; Middle of nowhere fill up; Makeshift tarp job; Lucky charms for the ride; Should have been sponsored by Preparation H and Tylenol; We got tired of looking at the gauges so we made our own.
bed. The rolling Appalachian Mountains were a comforting reminder that we were almost home. With each mile we got closer to the city, and soon we were stopping off at familiar gas stations and rest stops. As we lined up to enter Lincoln Tunnel, we were greeted like heroes with thumbs up and a barrage of cell phone paparazzi. It was all for the truck, of course. Little did they know the hell we had just endured, let alone the unimaginable odds of us simply arriving intact. The tunnel dumped us out below Times Square, and we finally felt like we were home – battered and bruised but still with smiles on our faces. Was it hard? Absolutely. Would I do it again? Call me; I’ll book the tickets. That we made such a long trip in such a short time with no actual mechanical failures is truly a testament to the craftsmanship of Timm Cooper. Weatherproofing aside, the Series One worked flawlessly. A victory celebration of sorts was in order, in honor of Timm. Brandon threw the 107 into first, dumped the clutch, and continued to light up every street we drove to get back to Queens.
Today’s modern expedition rigs can disconnect us from the raw, unfiltered travel experience many of us covet. Everyone is sealed up in a climate-controlled environment, coddled in leather seats, every comfort of home within fingertip’s reach. Infotainment screens tells us everything we need to know. Conversation can carry in normal voices, but we’re more interested in what’s on the radio or social media from our rolling hot-spot. Whatever happened to the gritty romance of travel that comes only through hardship and discomfort, against the odds? The best part of this trip was being thrown off guard, when the expected became the unpredictable. Except for the polluted atmosphere near the wildfires, I loved being able to taste the air in the places we drove; I basked in the sun’s warmth as my arm hung out the window; and I never felt more alert than when frigid air iced the hairs on my neck when the temperature plummeted. As every Series One owner knows, travel should be immersive, something you simply can’t experience from the comfort of a home on wheels. Travel with less, and I promise you’ll enjoy it more.
Spike Feresten The former Seinfeld writer turned Car Matchmaker on why Land Rovers new and old are the perfect match for his lifestyle.
t’s no secret. Hollywood is filthy with Land Rovers – particularly Range Rovers. In fact, so many clog the streets, it’s clear you haven’t really made it in Tinseltown until you’ve bought your first Range Rover. Rite of passage or cliché of a rich clique, maybe, but sometimes that first Range Rover is more than just shallow evidence of a fat paycheck. Sometimes it’s the first realization of a lifelong dream of a real car guy who ended up in Hollywood, working alongside other real car guys. Spike Feresten is one of those real car guys, beginning long before he wrote a check for his first Range Rover when he was a writer on a little television show about nothing called Seinfeld. Birthplace of his enthusiasm was the coast of Massachusetts, and the first vehicles to capture his heart were the Series Land Rovers he saw, bristling with fishing rods, being used by local surf fishermen to chase their prey along the shore. Standing at the open door of the Santa Monica Airport hangar that serves as his man cave, he recalls those early days along the Atlantic. “My family did not understand what a Land Rover was, but I’m descended from fishermen. Sword fishermen. Clammers. Rum runners,” he laughs, a Steinbeckian saga clearly playing out in his head. “Whenever we’d go to visit our family on Nantucket or Cape Cod, I would see these old Land Rovers on the beach and would just lose my mind. A lot of times they would have fishing pole holders on the front, and guys were chasing bluefish and striped bass in them. I made a pact that I would be one of those guys someday — if I could ever afford to get one of these Land Rover thingies.” For years, Land Rovers remained an elusive fantasy. Today, however, Feresten has his own Series truck, a 1971 Series IIa, and considers his Range Rover Sport as the perfect vehicle for the intersection of his chaotic professional and family lives. After starting out as a writer on Saturday Night Live and later for David Letterman’s late-night talk shows, Spike migrated west to
WORDS Bryan Joslin PHOTOGRAPHY Bryan Joslin
work on several other projects, including The Simpsons. Being able to comfortably afford his first Land Rover really came with success spawned by Spike’s first writing credit on Seinfeld — none other than the legendary episode, “The Soup Nazi.” He wrote for that classic comedy for three seasons before the show came to an end in 1998, and it was during that time he was initiated into the Range Rover fold in true Hollywood fashion. “At the end of the street where I lived, Doheny Drive, is Hornburg Land Rover. And I remember driving by one day and seeing this big silver Range Rover and looking at it with my friend. We went back to the house and grabbed some coffee, and I said, ‘You know what? I’m gonna go buy that Range Rover right now.’ And we did. We drove back, and I said, ‘I want that. I don’t even want to test drive it. I know I’m gonna love it.’ And I wrote a check for it. I was so happy; I got in it and felt like I was at home. “It was one of my favorite cars ever. We would launch that thing... just point it at Las Vegas, and we’d all be there. The guy I was hanging out with a lot was a bass player, and he was hanging around with the Foo Fighters, so he always had these new cuts from the band. I went to music school, and the shape of that thing — that big hollow shape — is
perfect for music. Still is today,” he says, fondly recalling cranked-up jams on past trips. “I remember driving to Las Vegas, and I said, ‘You know what we can do? Forget the highway, we can stop right now and drive right out into that desert. Let’s do it!’ And we did. We turned right off the highway, changed the suspension setting, and bolted out right into the desert. And how are you not in love with a vehicle in that moment when you know you can do all of that?” Spike later admits that, despite his admiration for that truck, there weren’t always Land Rovers in his life after that. “I’ve jumped out of them a couple of times, and both times it felt like a big mistake. Once was for a Mercedes E-Class, which was a painful two-year lease when my friends would just look at me and shake their heads. ‘Why are you driving what the school moms in my neighborhood drive?’ they would taunt. I don’t know. I had kids. I was just thinking ‘daily driver.’ But what I forgot was how much I love these vehicles and how easy they are for me during the week to do everything I need to do.” It was only recently that Spike finally got his Series truck. And it happened completely by accident. “Series Land Rovers were always
the ones I was hunting on eBay to kill time. That’s what a lot of us [writers] do when we don’t want to work; we’re procrastinating on eBay Motors. I’m always going, ‘If I were going to buy one, it would be this one.’ And one day I’m up in my office and I’m supposed to be writing a half-hour script that’s due like…now. A comedy script that [the producers] are waiting for. And I’m looking at old Land Rovers online. “I find this Marine Blue 1971 Series IIa, and the auction is ending in like 15 minutes and the bidding was only up to like sixty-eight-hundred dollars. I’m just sitting there and I’m supposed to be writing, and I’m not. I went, ‘God, sixtyeight-hundred bucks?’ So I quickly pour over the listing. I never buy stuff off eBay, but it looked okay from a few feet away in the pictures. The galvanized steel wasn’t visible and the wheels were painted black, but, you know, it’s a truck. I figure that’s why it’s so cheap, and the bids will probably go up.
I remember driving to Las Vegas, and I said, ‘You know what we can do? Forget the highway, we can stop right now and drive right out into that desert. Let’s do it!
“So I bid sixty-nine hundred. And now I’m the top bidder, but there’s still a few minutes left here. Surely somebody’s gonna snipe it. But no one snipes it. And suddenly I’ve won the truck. I didn’t even look to see where it was in the country. I didn’t call them or anything,” he laughs, still in disbelief. “As I’m realizing the gravity of my mistake, my wife walks into my office. She says, ‘What did you just do?’ and I go, ‘What!?’ She says, ‘You look really guilty,’ and I say, ‘I do?’ And I am just panicked. She comes and looks at the screen and says, ‘Did you just buy that Land Rover?’ And I say, ‘Yes, I’m sorry, I didn’t know I was going to win it.’ She was very upset with me that I was just impulse-buying cars. I had already bought two other cars that week, so she was not happy. “Turns out the truck was right in the [San Fernando] Valley, in Van Nuys. So I go out to see it, and the guys selling it say, ‘We know who you are. If you don’t want it, we’ll understand. You can back out if
you want.’ And I’m looking at the truck and thinking, ‘Why?’ Turns out it needed a bit of work, and they just didn’t want the sale to blow up in their faces. “I asked if it ran. ‘Yeah!’ I asked if I could drive it home. ‘Sure!’ So I say, ‘Great, I’m going to take it! I’m happy. I’ll take care of the rest of it.’ And that was the beginning of my life with the Series Land Rover.” Though Feresten drove it home, the truck did require some sorting out before it was ready for family life. “I took it to Pete at Marina Motors. You should get to know him. And soon; he’s gonna die! He’s about eighty and chain-smokes Camels that he lights with a blowtorch. He’s insane. He was Letterman’s guy when Letterman had AustinHealeys, and he’s the Land Rover expert locally. I brought the truck to him and said, ‘Look, you’ve got to make it safe for me and my kids.’ He did a bit of chassis work and the brakes, a little bit of engine work. All said and done, I put maybe another ten grand or so into it. We put a smaller tire on the bonnet so we could see over it, and here it is. And I’ve been driving it ever since.” He recognizes that the Series Land Rover finally seems to be having its moment on the West Coast. “There are more and more old Series trucks out here. They’re infectious. All it takes is to see a guy driving around in one with his sunglasses on having a great afternoon, and you go, ‘I want to be that guy!’ They’re everywhere. There are three in my neighborhood, and the guys just park them on the side of the street. I’m seeing more in Malibu. And it’s a very passionate group of guys. They don’t necessarily daily-drive them, but they certainly use them as they were intended, running errands and doing chores.”
He’s come to appreciate the simplicity of his truck. “It’s one of the few things in my collection that I’ll actually lift the hood and work on stuff. I’ll get my parts from England and install them myself. That’s been very gratifying. I’ve broken down three times in this truck, and all three times I’ve been able drive away in it.” Knowing that no old Land Rover story is complete without particulars of roadside peril, he elaborates. “The first time I broke a driveshaft. I called Pete and said, ‘I’m in the middle of San Vicente in Brentwood and people are honking at me. What should I do?’ He told me [Spike breaks into a European accent that slightly resembles that of the Soup Nazi himself], ‘You see the yellow lever? Bang it down and pull yourself on the front wheels!’ And sure enough, I’d lost the rear shaft but still had power at the front wheels. “The second time it died was vapor lock. It was really hot out, and the car wasn’t sorted yet. I just had to let it cool down. The third time it just stopped. Dead. It was ignition points, but I eventually got it going and got home. The only other car I have like that is my ’58 Porsche Speedster. It’ll run on half an engine. It’ll get you there. This truck always has my back.” Waxing philosophical, Feresten sees parallels between the two veterans. “There’s some crossover between the old Land Rovers and the old Porsches. Aesthetically they’re both very pleasing designs. There’s a purity and a balance and a simplicity. Also, Porsche is an engineering brand, and in Land Rover you have something that has a relatively low center of gravity and is engineered to take you just about anywhere.” Spike readily admits his is not a perfect truck, but it’s ideal as a carefree driver. “It reminds me of Massachusetts, it reminds me of home. That’s the purpose it serves in my collection. I’ll take it home this weekend, and I’ll drop my wife off on Saturday at the farmer’s market, and then we’ll load it up with all the crap for the weekend. The kids play
BELOW The desk in Spike’s hangar reflect his varying vehicular interests.
“They’re infectious. All it takes is to see a guy driving around in one with his sunglasses on having a great afternoon, and you go, ‘I want to be that guy!” in it. No fishing rod holders, though. I did that with a Jeep in New York, and they were immediately stolen,” he says with a rueful grin that says he’s only half kidding. “If I ever get back to the East Coast, this truck will be coming with me for sure. That’s the one thing I haven’t done with this one; I haven’t had it out on the sand, I haven’t chased blues in it. For now I just drive it around here. But you know, when you see the birds working [the fish], you want to be chasing birds down the beach, you just get in and drive, and grab [the fish] and eat them. It’s the best. Every once in a while I think about getting rid of this one; it’s not the most perfect truck. I sometimes think about what it would be like to have a more accurate preservation example.” Reaching back to his childhood, he says, “When you’re a kid you want two things. You want the fastest car, and you want the truck that can take you anywhere.” The 911 GT3 in his hangar is clearly the much faster vehicle, but his current Range Rover Sport almost snags both fish with one net. “This new one was delivered in the rainiest month LA has seen in years. So it was instantly in mud. On my second day owning it, I was shooting a pilot in Death Valley, with Charlotte McKinney, in the mud. So I’ve got my brand-new vehicle up there in the deep mud, and I’m loving life. Now I’m very much emotionally attached to it. And, you know, we load the kids’ bikes on it. We’ve already taken it on two road trips, and I’ve already had my off-road experience in it. It just delivers over and over and over again.
“I don’t think that story’s out there enough, about how these were engineered to be farm equipment and tractors. I don’t do it a lot, because it’s kind of a rude behavior, but when I do see a mom slow down to take a speed bump [in a newer Land Rover], I try to educate her on why she doesn’t really need to do that. To me, Land Rover is, ‘Do Anything, Go Anywhere.’ Never more so than with these new ones. You can show up at a black tie event and be right at home, and then crash it through the deepest mud and drive it up to the doors in water. I mean, what more do you want?” That passion often comes through on Spike’s current TV show, Car Matchmaker, where he introduces car shoppers to vehicles that, by his own assessment, are better fits for their wants and personalities than for any rational need. He’s thrown Land Rovers out there as potential matches for many of his guests. Regardless of whether his suggestions are taken to heart, he knows where he’ll be spending his money in the future. “It took four Land Rovers for me to realize I’m never not going to be driving one of these. The first one was a Range Rover, and the next three were Range Rover Sports. I had to have that contrasting experience [without one] for me to appreciate this thing. For a while I had a rule that I wouldn’t lease the same thing back to back. And that was a stupid rule. Once you find something you love, you should stick with it.” You can watch Spike on Car Matchmaker, currently running on NBCSN, or hear him on Spike’s Car Radio, available on PodcastOne and Apple Podcasts.
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RANGE ROVER SPORT L320
Land Roverâ€™s first concept car becomes a production star. WORDS Alloy+Grit Staff PHOTOS Land Rover 75
t was January of 2004, and no one saw it coming. As part of Ford’s Premier Automotive Group since 2000, Land Rover was still finding its place amid strange new siblings like Volvo and Lincoln. The American lineup consisted of the Freelander (still fresh if something of a misfit), the Discovery II (now a dinosaur), and the impressive (because BMW developed it) third-generation Range Rover that had debuted barely a year earlier. Those of us gathered in Detroit’s Joe Louis Arena expected to see the Discovery’s replacement, but we never imagined Land Rover would actually use the occasion to show off its first-ever “sports car,” if only as a concept. When the smoke settled and the light show ended, there on the stage in front of thousands of gathered journalists was the Range Stormer Concept in stunning metallic orange. Wide and low with a fast roofline, it had the looks of a desert racer awaiting livery for Dakar. The silhouette was familiar but distinct — clearly a Range Rover, but not the polite gentlemantype we’d come to know. This was a Bond villain on wheels, if the Lamborghini-style scissor doors weren’t the first clue. Land Rover teased, insisting it was only a concept – “for now,” of course. Naturally, that
was a bluff. Exactly one year later, at the 2005 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the wild and edgy Range Stormer morphed into the world debut productionready Range Rover Sport. The overall design carried over nearly intact, aside from gaining two doors and conventional door hinges all around. What the concept promised in terms of dynamics, the production model more or less delivered as well. With it optional 390-hp supercharged V8, the Range Rover Sport was the fastest Land Rover to date, and it had the handling and braking performance to match. The fact that both the concept and production versions were first revealed in Detroit was a strong signal that the Range Rover Sport was aimed straight at the American market, and it quickly became the best-selling model in the lineup. It was a different kind of Land Rover, to be sure, but it brought a lot of new customers into the fold. And while traditional Land Rover enthusiasts did not initially embrace it, the Range Rover Sport packed a serious load of off-road kit, sharing its mechanicals with the extremely capable third-generation Discovery (LR3). As is often the case, time has been kind to the once-eschewed Sport, now deep into its second generation, and enthusiast hearts have 76
even softened a bit. It turns out the sportiest Range Rover (and the LR3/Discovery 3 with which it shares its expensive bits) has been a pretty robust rig, both on and off the trail. The concerns over its lack of solid axles have been largely overcome by fairly reliable electronics that keep power going to the wheels with grip, even if that’s only two or three at a time. And the aftermarket is finally responding to owners eager to equip one for a second life of adventure.
THE HEART OF A DISCOVERY IN A RANGE ROVER SUIT If there’s one thing parent company Ford understood, it was sharing platforms for profitability. And with a focus on building volume with its English acquisition, Ford knew if the brand were ever to grow, it would need more models in the lineup. With an eye on the new crop of non-traditional SUVs like BMW’s X5 and Porsche’s Cayenne, management saw an opportunity to expand on the Range Rover’s appeal by focusing on a younger, more performance-oriented buyer. Given the intended market, this sportier Range Rover could sacrifice a bit of ultimate luxury so long as it made up for it with style and performance. By necessity it would have to be priced more aggressively than
“The Range Rover Sport, with all its equipment and electronics, has actually proven to be a rather reliable model.” the traditional Range Rover, so sharing this new model’s development and production investment with the higher-volume Discovery made perfect sense. As Ford picked up the ball from BMW and developed the thirdgeneration Discovery (LR3), the Range Rover Sport progressed in tandem. As a result, the Range Rover Sport shares much of its major architecture with the LR3. That starts with an Integrated Body Frame chassis – literally a monocoque body dropped onto a box-section frame – creating a stout but dense body structure. The wheelbase was shortened by 5.6 inches as the Sport would not be required to accommodate a third row of seats. The Sport would share its base engine, the 300-horsepower 4.4-liter Jaguar-derived aluminum V8 (AJ41), with the LR3 along with its ZF 6-speed automatic gearbox (no manual
gearbox was ever offered). Thrust would be channeled to the new electronically controlled full-time four-wheel-drive system, including the Terrain Response System foreshadowed in the Range Stormer concept. A two-speed transfer case with electronic center differential lock was standard equipment. A locking rear differential was optional. The Range Rover Sport would also use its stablemate’s four-wheel independent air suspension, with three available ride heights plus an extended mode for low-speed maneuvering, riding on 19-inch alloy wheels. A new option, Dynamic Response, was an evolution of the earlier Active Cornering Enhancement, using hydraulic force to engage or disengage active anti-roll bars for more level cornering on the road while delivering greater suspension articulation off-road. Even with a base curb weight of 5,468 pounds, the Range Rover Sport delivered respectable performance. But if its 8.7 second 0-to-60 time wasn’t good enough, a supercharged version was also available. Power – 385 hp and 390 lb-ft – came from a 4.2-liter version of the same Jaguar V8 (AJ33S) using the same architecture as the 4.4 but with a smaller bore for durability. A twin-screw Eaton blower mounted between the heads added up to 13.1 psi of boost to the intake charge (after moving through an air-to-air intercooler) to give a significant jump in performance, dropping that 0-to-60 time to just under seven seconds. To balance the extra grunt, the front brakes were upgraded with larger discs and
BELOW Twin-screw Roots-type blower gave the Supercharged models extra punch off the line.
six-piston Brembo calipers. The wheels were larger to clear the new hardware, and Dynamic Response was made standard. If the new Sport were to position itself as a Range Rover, then clearly the styling would need to be significantly different from the LR3. Many of the signature Range Rover elements were brought into the Sport’s design: the vertical grille, clamshell hood, floating roofline, and sloped tailgate. This basic form was tweaked for a faster appearance with a shorter greenhouse and a lower, more aggressively angled roof. The tailgate itself was a single-piece design, opening upward, a departure from the traditional Range Rover split tailgate, though the upper glass section still opened independently for quick access. Inside, the Sport’s close connection to the LR3 was more obvious, though appointed with less wood and leather than the full-size Range Rover. The aesthetic in the cabin was more technical than stuffy, however, perfect for the younger buyers that Land Rover hoped to lure into its showrooms. It still retained the signature command driving position – high and dominant – so as not to alienate any existing Land Rover owners. Launched as a 2006 model with a base price of $56,750, the Range Rover Sport immediately shot out of the gate with the kind of sales success the company was hoping for. More than 28,000 were sold in the first year alone, and for most of its run the first-generation Sport was Land Rover’s bestseller in North America, surpassing even the LR3 on which it was based.
Continuous refinements were made throughout its eight-year reign, but the biggest came in 2010 when the V8s were both upgraded to 5.0-liter versions, adding more than 100 horsepower to both models and putting them on par with an ever-growing list of competitors from Porsche, BMW and Mercedes.
2006 The first-year Range Rover Sport was rolled out in three model variations. The entry-level (if it can be called that) HSE specification included bi-xenon headlamps, satellite navigation with 4x4 information display, leather interior, power sunroof and Harman Kardon stereo with in-dash CD changer. The HSE Lux upgraded the headlights to adaptive units that turned with the steering and added a cold climate package as standard (an option on HSE) along with upgraded leather upholstery and wood trim. The Supercharged model, which was available from the start, built on the HSE Lux specification. Premium leather sport seats with deeper bolsters replaced the standard seats. Dynamic Response and locking rear differential were included. Base prices started at $56,750 for the HSE and jumped to $69,750 for a Supercharged. The Range Rover Sport was available in an amazing array of color combinations. Paint colors included Chawton White, Bonatti Gray, Java Black, Giverny Green, Tonga Green, Buckingham Blue, Cairns Blue, Zambezei Silver, Arctic Frost, Maya Gold, and Rimini Red. The Supercharged model was also available in Vesuvius Orange, a nod to the Range Stormer concept vehicle. Interior trim was offered in Ebony, Alpaca, Aspen, and Ivory. Land Rover sold an unprecedented 28,575 examples of the 2006 Range Rover Sport in the U.S. alone, plus another 1,161 in Canada.
2007 After a smoking launch, the Range Rover Sport cooled off a bit for its sophomore year. The basic packaging remained the same, with HSE, HSE Lux and Supercharged models rounding out the lineup. A new radio with digital audio receiver and Sirius satellite radio became available as an option and was standard on the S/C. Personal phone integration was also added across the line. Stornoway Grey replaced Bonatti Grey, while Tonga Green, Maya Gold and Cairns Blue disappeared altogether. Upholstery options remained unchanged, though Supercharged buyers could now opt for the less aggressive non-sport HSE Lux seats. The base prices jumped to $57,950 for the HSE and $71,250 for the Supercharged. Sales dipped considerably to just 10,056 in the U.S. and 834 in Canada.
2008 The same three-model scheme continued into the Range Rover Sportâ€™s third year, but several improvements came along across the board. The steering column was now electronically adjustable, and the six-way power passenger seat became an eight-way seat, adding tilt adjustment to the seat bottom. A limited-edition Supercharged model made its debut with just 250 copies built (see below). Colors were largely carried over except for the addition of Lucerne Green in place of Giverny Green; the Aspen interior option was dropped.
Prices rose modestly to $58,500 for the HSE and $71,950 for the Supercharged model. Sales rebounded a bit before the full impact of the global economic crisis took full effect. In the U.S., a total of 19,126 units were delivered, while Canada held steady with another 826 sales.
2009 Not much changed for 2009 as the Sport prepared for its first major facelift. Modest alterations included new clear side marker lamps and clear lenses on the taillights. Inside, trim items like door pulls and dashboard vent bezels were upgraded to the Noble finish. The color palette changed noticeably, both inside and out. The full paint range included Alaska White, Zermatt Silver, Stornoway Grey, Atacama Sand, Bournville Blue, Buckingham Blue, Cairns Blue, Izmir Blue, Lucerne Green, Galway Green, Lugano Teal, Rimini Red, and Santorini Black. Interiors choices included Almond, Tan and Nutmeg, plus Ebony and Ivory. Base prices for both models rose only slightly by $650, but the global economic crisis was showing its impact. Sales plummeted to a mere 8,176 units in the U.S. and just 651 in Canada. Dismal as that change may have been, the Range Rover Sport was still leading the brand in sales, outselling the full-size Range Rover by more than threefold. Two special packages, the HST and the HSE Stormer, couldnâ€™t create enough demand to offset the weak economy.
2010 The first major change to the Range Rover Sport came in its fifth year with the move to the new 5.0-liter engine family, significantly boosting output in both supercharged and naturally aspirated models. In addition to the new engines, the 2010 models also received new bumpers, a new two-bar grille design, and LED lighting (taillights and front turn signals). Inside, the door panels and dashboard were revised, while the instrument cluster received a TFT screen that displayed a larger array of driver information. The new V8 was a 32-valve design as before, but the 5.0-liter displacement delivered a punch that elevated the Sport into new territory. The standard Range Rover Sport now made 375 hp and 375 lb-ft of torque, nearly as much as the previous Supercharged model. With the blower bolted on, output climbed to 510 hp and 461 lb-ft. The Range Rover Sport SC inched its way ever closer to the promise of the Range Stormer concept vehicle, delivering a 0-to-60 time of just seven seconds. The model hierarchy remained intact: HSE, HSE Lux and Supercharged. A special edition Sport Autobiography was introduced for the first time, adding another level of luxury and exclusivity to the range. Base prices rose accordingly for the new performance levels, beginning at $60,495 for HSE and $75,395 for the SC. These were still tough times in the automotive market, but sales managed to 80
rebound a bit with help from all the changes. American sales tallied up to 11,066; Canadian deliveries went back into four-digit territory at 1,042 units. The color chart was mostly carried over after all the 2009 additions. Ipanema Sand replaced Atacama Sand, and Cairns Blue was retired for Bali Blue. Nara Bronze was added to the lineup while Lucerne Green dropped off. To the already generous interior options were added Ocean and Arabica hues.
2011 After such a major overhaul of the lineup the previous year, the Range Rover Sport saw no significant revisions for 2011 aside from some equipment packaging changes. The HSE Lux models added contrasting stitching to the seats, door panels and center console as well as extended leather covering the dashboard and door trims. The Autobiography model that had been a special edition was now a regular option. A GT special edition came out during the 2011 model run, based on the naturally aspirated Sport but dressed up with 20-inch wheels, a body kit and partial Alcantara trim. Baltic Blue took the place of Buckingham Blue while Fiji White replaced Alaska. Late in the run, Siberian Silver was introduced as a replacement for Zermatt Silver. Interior colors remained as before. Base prices remained unchanged compared to the previous year. Sales approached pre-crisis levels: 16,809
deliveries in the U.S. and another 1,696 throughout the Provinces. The Range Rover Sport remained Land Roverâ€™s bestseller in North America by a healthy margin.
2012 Mostly a carryover from the previous two years, the 2012 Sport gained a couple of new features. The infotainment system now featured voice controls, and a power liftgate became available. The key fob also changed, adding passive entry with push-button starting in a more compact housing. Prices rose modestly at $400 across the lineup. The non-supercharged Sport GT limited edition returned, and a special edition LSE was created as well. Color changes amounted to Sumatra Black replacing Santorini, Orkney Grey replacing Stornoway, and Indus Silver joining the spectrum. The Range Rover Sport was showing its age a bit compared to sexier new offerings from the Germans. Sales took a dip to 11,470 and 1,103.
2013 With an all-new model waiting in the wings, Land Rover pulled out the special equipment to send off the first-gen Range Rover Sport with its head held high. Packages and equipment carried over with no new additions to the options list. The brake package was upgraded on all models, with bigger front and rear discs; calipers on Supercharged models were now
more visible with their fresh red finish. The base price for the HSE remained intact at $60,895, while the Supercharged and Autobiography models went up $400 each to $76,495 and $87,195, respectively. Aintree Green took the place of Galway, and Firenze Red came in to relieve Rimini, while the interior palette grew to include Lunar trim in addition to the seven existing options. Despite an all-new model on the way, finalyear sales for the L320 Sport were strong, with the U.S. posting roughly 16,000 units and Canada another 1,400. And with that, the Range Rover Sport L320 came to an end, replaced in 2104 with the all-new, aluminumbodied L494 model.
model year. Only the wheels differed, with the HST receiving 20-inch diamond-turned alloys instead of the Stormer wheels. It is believed only 40 examples of the HST were produced.
2009 HSE Stormer Package A special trim package for the nonSupercharged Sport HSE model, this added the 20-inch Stormer wheels as well as numerous interior upgrades, such as ebony leather on the seats and door panels with contrasting stitching. No production limit was set.
As part of the extensive 2010 upgrades, the model line expanded to include the more exclusive Autobiography, which debuted first as a limited run of 250 examples for 2010, all of them top-spec Supercharged models. Finished in Santorini Black on the outside and a choice of three two-tone (Ebony with either Tan, Ivory or Pimento) leather interior options, the Autobiography also featured a new 20-inch wheel design. Rear electronic diff lock, adaptive cruise control, and rear seat entertainment were all included as standard. Special Autobiography Sport badging was applied to the tailgate as well as the wood door inserts, and it was also stitched into all four headrests. The Autobiography package became a regular model for 2011 and beyond.
The 2008 Supercharged Limited Edition was essentially rechristened HST for the 2009
SPECIAL EDITIONS 2008 Supercharged Limited Edition Building on the already popular Supercharged model, Land Rover decided to dial up the drama a bit with a special run of 250 units equipped with 20-inch Stormer alloys, flush aero bumpers with body-colored lower trims and an extended roof spoiler, and a revised exhaust treatment. Inside was a standard rear seat entertainment system plus the luxury interior package. Adaptive cruise control was also included.
Based on the non-Supercharged HSE model, the Sport GT debuted in 2011, combining 20-inch five-spoke alloys with the body kit from the style package to create a menacing-looking naturally aspirated special edition. Originally offered only in Fiji White, a later run was also produced in Santorini Black. The interior featured leather/ Alcantara seating and was trimmed in Anigre wood. The LOGIC7 premium audio system was part of the package and included HD and satellite radio reception. Total production could not be confirmed for 2011. The limited edition returned for 2012 with broader color options but was otherwise largely carried over. A total of 400 were produced. For 2013, the GT limited edition once again appeared, though it was becoming much less limited. A total of 750 were made, 450 of which were Santorini Black; the balance were Fuji White.
2012 HSE Limited Edition A run of 350 specially equipped HSE models was built, all of them equipped with the most popular options in the Range Rover Sport lineup. This included the premium audio system, climate comfort package, and 20-inch five-spoke alloys. A number of unique color combinations was offered, but otherwise there is no special badging to signify the Limited Edition.
2013 Supercharged Limited Edition A final hoorah for the first-gen Supercharged Sport, the LE was finished with red leather, carbon fiber in place of wood trim, and the 17-speaker Harman Kardon sound system. Three hundred were painted Santorini Black, and 200 were finished in Fiji White, closing out the run of special-edition L320s.
BUYING ONE TODAY It may come as a surprise to many past Range Rover and Discovery owners that the Range Rover Sport, with all its equipment and electronics, has actually proven to be a rather reliable model. Old stereotypes die hard, however, and a lot of people still assume these vehicles are cursed with fragile engines and spooky electrical issues. By and large, this just isn’t true. With any later-model used Land Rover, you’ll want to look for a vehicle with a thorough maintenance history. Oil changes are critical, but so are other scheduled services like brake fluid and differential services. The transmissions on these trucks, however, are best left unserviced, as they’re filled with a fluid designed to last the life of the vehicle. Look for clues like matching tires to help indicate whether a previous owner has taken shortcuts in service. As the Range Rover Sport shares most of its major component systems with the LR3/ LR4, most of the issues that pop up on that model range tend to rear their heads on the Sport. These mostly amount to premature wear on stressed components like bushings, bearings and brakes, all related to the vehicle’s rather excessive weight. The integrated bodyframe construction and predominantly steel bodywork resulted in a hefty truck, with curb weight starting at around 5,500 pounds empty. Figure on replacing front lower control arms regularly; between 70,000 and 80,000 miles is a typical lifespan. Brakes and tires also wear
more frequently as a result of their having to control a rolling bank vault. As the Range Rover Sport uses a four-wheel independent suspension, maintaining alignment will help reduce wear on bearings and tires. The standard air suspension on these vehicles works hard too. Compressors regularly wear out, but rebuild kits are available if you’re handy. Otherwise, replacement compressors are a fairly quick change, if more expensive. A new compressor will run in the $500-800 range. Air springs will eventually require replacement as well, especially if the truck is exercised off-road. These will run around $300-350 each, and it’s usually a good idea to take care of them in pairs (per axle) or as a full set. But these are all essentially maintenance items, not unlike replacing worn-out shocks on a conventional suspension. Most electronics have proven reliable with time. Poor battery recharging can lead to strange error codes, sometimes rendering the vehicle inoperable. Often a new battery is the remedy, though alternators are less robust than ideal if used in harsh conditions. The oldest of these Sports are now only a little over a decade old, so it’s possible years from now new patterns may emerge. But based on what we know now, there’s no reason to be scared off by the prospect of owning a wellkept Range Rover Sport.
MODIFICATIONS For a long time it was nearly impossible for Range Rover Sport owners to buy most of the popular off-road accessories available for other vehicles. But with so many of them on the road and aging gracefully, a lot of overlanders and off-roaders are starting to pick them up, and the market for Sport accessories recently has taken off. Two companies in particular are leading the market with mods for the Sport: Lucky8 and Main Line Overland. Wheels and tires remain a major obstacle for most off-road use. The Sport was equipped from the factory with either 19- or 20-inch wheels as standard. On non-supercharged models through 2012 with the smaller brake package, an 18-inch wheel from an LR3 will fit, allowing for taller sidewalls without changing the overall diameter. The standard 255/50-19 tire has a smallish diameter of just 29 inches. By fooling the air suspension into lifting the chassis slightly
using 2-2.5-inch lift rods, such as Lucky8’s Proud Rhino Rods, a tire up to 33 inches in diameter can squeeze under the unaltered body of a Sport. To go larger (up to about 35 inches), some trimming of the front fender liners and undercarriage will be required. More extreme fitments have been achieved but at the expense of trimming rear doors and front fenders, along with seriously reduced turning radius, as with Main Line Overland’s project (see Alloy+Grit, Fall 2017). As with other air suspension-equipped Land Rovers, there are numerous coilspring conversion kits that allow you to lift your vehicle (albeit at a fixed height) while eliminating the potential for air system failure on the trail. Locking front and rear differentials are available from ARB.
While the Range Rover Sport shares many hard points with the LR3/LR4, the shorter wheelbase makes it difficult to use items like LR3 rock sliders without first modifying them. Similarly, an ARB front bumper for an LR4 will bolt up to a Sport, but it won’t easily blend with the grille and lighting treatment. Terrafirma makes a concealed winch mount that retains the factory bumper if you choose to stay stock. One other consideration for serious travelers is the Range Rover Sport’s thirst, especially the Supercharged. The 23.3-gallon tank might be fine for the daily commute, but crawling in low range or climbing hills all day will make that tank seem small quickly. Main Line Overland has been adapting an LR4 auxiliary tank to work in the Sport, more than doubling its original range.
“Old stereotypes die hard, however,
and a lot of people still assume these vehicles are cursed with fragile engines and spooky electrical issues. By and large, this just isn’t true.”
2006 - 2013 RANGE ROVER SPORT L320 HSE 2006-09
108.0 188.5 69.6 75.9 63.2 63.5 Steel/Aluminum Unibody on Frame 5468 38.1 30.2 20 29 6.8-8.9 19.7 19.0 x 9.0 Alloy 255/50R19
108.0 188.5 69.6 75.9 63.2 63.5 Steel/Aluminum Unibody on Frame 5670 38.1 30.2 20 29 6.8-8.9 19.7 20.0 x 9.5 Alloy 275/40R20
108.0 188.3 70.2 76.1 63.2 63.5 Steel/Aluminum Unibody on Frame 5540 37.8 34 25 29 6.8-8.9 19.7 19.0 x 9.0 Alloy 255/50R19
108.0 188.3 70.2 76.1 63.2 63.5 Steel/Aluminum Unibody on Frame 5816 37.8 34 25 27 6.8 19.7 20.0 x 9.5 Alloy 275/40R20
Engine Type Displacement (cc) Bore (mm) Stroke (mm) Compression Valvetrain Valves/Cylinder Power (hp@rpm) Torque (lb-ft@rpm) EPA Economy (Cty/Hwy) Fuel Capacity (Gal) Towing Capacity (lbs.)
V8 Gasoline 4394 88.0 93.0 10.75:1 DOHC 4 300@5500 315@4000 12/18 23.3 7716
V8 Gasoline Supercharged 4196 86.0 90.3 9.1:1 DOHC 4 390@5750 410@3500 12/17 23.3 7716
V8 Gasoline 5000 92.5 93.0 11.5:1 DOHC 4 375@6500 375@3500 13/18 23.3 7716
V8 Gasoline Supercharged 5000 92.5 93.0 9.5:1 DOHC 4 510@6000 461@2500 12/17 23.3 7716
Transmission Type Transfer Case
6A Hi/Lo, eCDL
6A Hi/Lo, eCDL
6A Hi/Lo, eCDL
6A Hi/Lo, eCDL
Double Wishbone, Air Spring Double Wishbone, Air Spring
Double Wishbone, Air Spring Double Wishbone, Air Spring
Double Wishbone, Air Spring Double Wishbone, Air Spring
Double Wishbone, Air Spring Double Wishbone, Air Spring
4-wheel disc, ABS 13.3 13.8
4-wheel disc 14.2 13.8
4-wheel disc 13.3 (14.4 - 2013) 13.8 (13.7 - 2013)
4-wheel disc 14.2 (14.9 - 2013) 13.8 (14.3 - 2013)
Dimensions and Capacities Wheelbase (in.) Overall Length (in.) Overall Height (in.) Overall Width (in.) Front Track (in.) Rear Track (in.) Body Type Contruction Curb Weight (lbs.) Turning Circle (ft.) Approach Angle (deg) Breakover Angle (deg) Departure Angle (deg) Ground Clearance (in.) Max Wading Depth (in.) Wheels Tires
Suspension Front Rear Brakes Type Front Diameter (in) RearDiameter (in) Interior Seating Capacity Cargo Space Behind Second Row (cu. ft.)
QUALITY CUSTOM PARTS FOR LAND ROVER VEHICLES
SeriesDefender.com 202.656.9749 firstname.lastname@example.org
BRING OUT THE CHAIN GANG When you need to get through winter’s worst, be prepared to chain up for serious traction. WORDS Steve Hoare PHOTOS Staff
or a lot of us, the arrival of winter means a chance to test our driving skills in more challenging conditions. Snow and ice demand special attention, requiring us to adjust not only our driving technique but sometimes even our truck’s equipment in order to make traction. We’re fairly certain Sir Isaac Newton did not derive his First Law of Motion from behind the wheel of a Land Rover, but that law does tell us that a 5,000-pound-plus vehicle in motion will stay in motion until acted upon by another force. Normally that opposing force is friction in the form of tires gripping the pavement, but winter conditions change the equation entirely. Sir Isaac probably had the math to solve the problem, but for us mere mortals, when tires alone can’t ensure grip, it’s time to call for backup—tire chains. Yes, additional traction can come from a number of solutions, and tire chains are just one form. In certain conditions, the quickest way to get more grip may be to simply lower tire pressure for a larger footprint on the road. Kitty litter, sand, and traction mats (e.g., MaxTrax) can also get you out of a jam
quickly, but those aren’t practical for traveling the length of a snow-packed trail. Besides, we really want to talk about hardware! First things first: If you live in an area that enjoys long stretches of sub-freezing weather and regular snowfall accumulations, you need a set of winter tires. Beyond their deep treads, designed to claw away at snow, true winter tires are constructed from compounds that remain pliable and grippy even on cold surfaces. Most winter tires also allow for metal studs to be screwed into the tread pattern, greatly adding to their bite on ice and packed snow. (Be sure to check your state’s laws on using studded tires). When studded snow tires still aren’t enough, it’s time to bring out the chain gang. Or at least one of the various types of traction aids that can be installed over your existing wheels and tires. There are several options, each with its own advantages and drawbacks.
SOCKS, CABLES, CHAINS One of the simplest traction aids is the full-tire slipcover, such as the AutoSock. Lightweight and quiet, these tough synthetic-fabric covers 86
“…any contact between the chain and the vehicle can cause serious damage, including torn brake lines and bent steering and suspension components…”
CHAIN Traditional chains offer excellent bite but ride poorly, are noisy, and often can’t be used on plowed roads.
slip over the tires and attach with simple elastic fasteners. Since the covers wrap the entire tread, you lose any inherent advantages your tire may have (tread pattern and rubber compound), making these a viable (and more temporary) solution for vehicles not equipped with proper winter tires. They can also be tough to install on the roadside, as the cover must slip over the entire circumference of the tire. The next-best solution comes in the form of tire cables. Made of stranded metal cable, these tend to be fairly inexpensive, typically fit multiple tire sizes, and can be used both on and off road. They can be installed easily onsite when conditions actually require their use. Cables do tend to stretch during use, sometimes requiring multiple adjustments to maintain their benefit. If a cable should break, it’s essentially been rendered useless, as there is no practical way to mend a broken strand in the field. For Land Rover owners, traditional tire chains are often the best option, especially when venturing down a snow-packed road less traveled (indeed, if traveled at all). Even if you don’t live at a northern latitude, the ferocious grip of chains makes them ideal for mud as well. Bear in mind that chains are exactly as they sound: Similar in function to cables, but made of hard metal links instead of stranded wire, chains generally come in one of two patterns, either square or diagonal.
Square chains are considered the most traditional of snow chains and tend to be the most aggressive for either snow or mud, as the chains run perpendicular to the sidewall (thus creating the “square” opening on the tread face. Mounting them can be difficult for the uninitiated, and they typically have a cam to lock the chain adjustment. Square chains are versatile and can be set inside out or upside down, but they’re not suitable for driving on plowed roads. Driving with them on pavement can be uncomfortable and loud, as the chain pattern gives the feeling of driving with square tires. Diagonal tire chains, such as RUDs, are designed to be used both on- and off-road. The chain runs diagonally across the tread face, always with some portion of the chain making contact with the road, which allows for a relatively comfortable ride at higher speeds (well, up to about 30 mph). They are typically color coded to make fitting easier, especially when you’re groveling about in deep snow.
MOUNT ’EM UP Most traction devices are sold in pairs (one set per axle). Be sure to choose the correct size of chain for your wheel and tire size. Ideally you should purchase chains for all four wheels, but in the event that you only have one set available, priority should be given to the
CABLE Cable-type chains ride better at the expense of ultimate grip, but have fewer restrictions on use.
front axle, as it controls steering and about 70 percent of the vehicle’s braking effort. Whatever device you choose, you should test-fit them to the vehicle before the winter season. Opening a new set of chains at the side of the road and trying to determine how they fit can be very frustrating, especially in biting weather. If you’re carrying chains with the expectation you’ll be fitting them at some point, make sure you have some sort of mat to kneel on during installation. A rubber floor mat, an old blanket, or even a piece of cardboard can go a long way to keeping you comfortable while working on the cold ground. A flashlight is also helpful on short, dark winter days, and don’t forget a good pair of work gloves. A spare heavy-duty garbage bag is useful for carrying home wet or snowcovered chains once you remove them, sparing your truck’s interior a sodden mess. Make sure you have adequate clearance between the inner bodywork and the back side of the wheel, as any contact between the chain and the vehicle can cause serious damage, including torn brake lines and bent steering and suspension components. How much clearance depends on whether you intend driving on- or off-road. Be sure to follow installation instructions, and check the chain tightness on a regular basis. Always stop and check the chain fitment after a few 89
hundred yards of rotation, and check several times throughout the drive. It’s advisable to carry a selection of rubber bungee cords to adjust any slack and to offer a field-serviceable option. Also be sure to keep a spare cam tool in your cubby box or tool kit, as they tend to go walkabout. Rough maneuvering can cause the chains to loosen up or break, so start off slowly and avoid sharp turns or locking the wheels when braking. Abrupt throttle inputs can result in breaking a chain link or making the whole chain unravel. Be extremely cautious when driving on roads that are clear of snow or ice. Direct contact with pavement will cause extra wear on the chains. As soon as conditions return to normal, remove the chains to avoid potential damage to the hardware, the vehicle or the road. Like anything else on your Rover, maintenance goes a long way to keeping your tire chains serviceable. After each use, lay them out on the ground and check for broken links; most chains arrive with spare links for repairs. Hose off the chains with clean water to remove any road salt and grit. Allow to dry and then spray them with a protective light oil such as WD-40. Properly cared for and used as designed, a set of tire chains should serve you well for many snowy seasons.
Royal Electrification Act A look inside Land Rover’s first production hybrid system WORDS Bryan Joslin PHOTOS Land Rover The future of automobiles is electric. By now that should be obvious, even if we’re still not sure just how soon that all-electric future will arrive. The next few years, however, are likely to see a rapid migration away from pure petroleum-powered vehicles as every manufacturer bridges the carbon gap with an abundance of hybrids. Land Rover even proclaimed recently that, by 2020, all of its vehicles would be electrified in one form or another. And this from a company that hasn’t sold even its first hybrid vehicle. But, that’s about to change. Land Rover has been quietly revealing its progress on electric drivetrains since 2011, when it ran a Range Rover Sport prototype on a diesel-electric combination in the Range_e concept. The company also rolled out a fleet of seven fully electric Defenders in 2013, which were used as research vehicles to further advance battery and power-management technologies. Now, finally, the first production Land Rovers to incorporate electric motors are ready for market and will debut as 2019 models in June of this year. Arriving first in the 2019 Range Rover and Range Rover Sport – but eventually migrating throughout the model lineup – Land Rover’s hybrid package will merge the 2.0-liter Ingenium four-cylinder gasoline engine (Alloy+Grit, Fall 2017) with a single electric motor and a lithium-ion battery pack. It can also be plugged in for fully electric charging, making it a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, or PHEV for short (the kids all say “PEE-hev” if you want to seem hip). At this admittedly late stage in the hybrid game, the basics of Land Rover’s system are pretty much the norm for what the industry often calls a light hybrid drivetrain. However, adding an electric motor and battery is hardly a cut-and-shut hack job. Land Rover certainly didn’t take lightly the decision to debut such important technology in its flagship, one of the most prestigious vehicles in the world. So here’s a closer look at Land Rover’s first venture into the Age of Electrification. 90
Components Combustion engine We comprehensively covered Land Roverâ€™s versatile and efficient new Ingenium four-cylinder turbo engine in our Tech column in Fall 2017. This thoroughly modern powerplant is powerful and thrifty on its own, making it an entirely appropriate internal-combustion component of the hybrid system. For Range Rover and Range Rover Sport, the top-spec 296-hp gasoline version is fitted. Several features of the Ingenium engine are unique for use in the hybrid application. Power steering and air conditioning systems, for instance, are electrically driven so that they will function as normal when the gasoline engine is disabled. Likewise, the brake system does not rely on engine vacuum to assist but rather an electric vacuum pump.
features unique programming to optimize fuel consumption while managing the constant transitions between gas and electric power delivery. The transmission feeds power to the standard transfer case and full-time four-wheel-drive system.
In place of a conventional torque converter, a compact electric motor fills the bell housing between the gasoline engine and the ZF 8-speed automatic gearbox. The motor produces 114 hp on its own, so thereâ€™s plenty of kick to propel even the full-size Range Rover through traffic in complete silence. The drive motor doubles as a generator to recharge the battery when coasting or braking, and it also manages power delivery between the engine and transmission, acting just like a regular torque converter.
As plug-in hybrids, the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport P400e models can charge the battery directly when parked. Concealed behind the grille badge is a charging port, supporting all three of the standardized outlets. A 10-amp home charger fully recharges the battery in 7.5 hours, ideal for overnight charging. A fast-charging cable allows for a full reload in 2 hours 45 minutes at a commercial 32-amp charging station. The charging point also doubles as a charge indicator. When the charger is connected but not charging, a white light illuminates on either side of the charging socket. A blue light indicates that timed charging has been set but has not yet begun. A flashing green light confirms that the vehicle is being charged, and a solid green light illuminates when the charge is complete.
Battery A flat array of lithium-ion batteries stores the energy to run the electric motor. Positioned beneath the rear load floor inside the vehicle, the battery pack barely encroaches on the cargo space. With a capacity of 13.1 kilowatt hours, it provides enough juice to run in full electric mode for up to 31 miles.
ZF 8-Speed Transmission Power is delivered to an automatic transmission optimized for hybrid operation. The 8-speed ZF8P75XPH uses lightweight construction and
Controls Parallel Hybrid Mode
Predictive Energy Optimization
In normal driving, the hybrid system optimizes the balance of gasoline and electric power based on demand and available charge. When the full force of both the electric motor and the gas engine are combined, the powertrain can deliver up to 398 hp and 501 lb-ft of torque.
In conjunction with the vehicleâ€™s navigation system, the hybrid management system can look ahead to the final destination and optimize power delivery between gas and electric based on conditions, rather than simply reacting to the conditions as they occur. This allows the vehicle to achieve the highest possible fuel efficiency. For instance, if there will be a section of the route that requires climbing an incline, the system will anticipate using the gas engine for the ascent, as well as the opportunity to recharge the battery through regenerative braking on the descent. Alternatively, on a long section of flat highway, for example, the system will anticipate using electric power, managing charging up to that section of the trip to ensure there is adequate power in reserve.
EV Mode A fully electric mode disables the gasoline engine and powers the electric motor with energy from the battery. The vehicle will drive in this mode until the power supply is reduced to a level that demands recharging, up to a maximum of 31 miles depending on conditions and driving habits and at up to 85 mph. An emergency override will also turn the gas engine back on if there is an excessive load requirement, such as a panic acceleration or severe hill climb.
Scheduled Charging Through the vehicleâ€™s information display, owners can choose when the vehicle recharges once it is connected to a charging station. In some areas now, and likely in many more areas in the future, electricity rates vary depending on the time of day. Rates are often higher at times of peak energy usage, such as the middle of the day when air conditioners are working non-stop, and lower during periods of low demand, such as overnight. The ability to schedule charging times allows owners to save money on their electricity while reducing load on the power grid.
Save Function While in hybrid mode, the driver can choose to run primarily on gas power in order to preserve the battery charge for later use. One such example might be anticipating the need to use EV-only mode for a certain destination, such as electric-only zones in large city centers where combustion vehicles might not normally be allowed.
On The Road We drove a Range Rover Sport P400e in a combination of downtown and highway traffic in Los Angeles and were impressed by how conventional the hybrid system feels. The current generation of Range Rover models, including the Sport, already do such an amazing job of isolating engine noise that, from the driver’s seat, there’s not the slightest clue there’s a two-liter four-cylinder engine under the hood. When the Ingenium engine is running, there’s only the faintest hum from under the hood. It’s so quiet, in fact, that when it does shut off it’s almost imperceptible. Running in full electric mode feels just like driving under gasoline power; there’s simply no noticeable difference in normal driving. The system slips between gas and electric power without any indication that it’s happening, unless you’re paying attention to the powertrain display on the infotainment screen. Even when forced it into EV mode, it feels like a traditional Range Rover.
When full power is required, the P400e simply delivers. The combined forces of gas engine and electric motors makes the big truck jump from rest to 60 mph in 6.4 seconds — or, nudged on by a light foot, the system has the potential to deliver up to 84 mpg. We can find no fault with Land Rover’s first hybrid system, which matches exemplary performance, a seamless driving experience, and fewer fuel stops with Land Rover’s exquisite interior craftsmanship. This is just the beginning, of course. We expect variations of this PHEV powertrain to course their way throughout the entire Land Rover range eventually, with output tailored to specific models. Land Rover finally has embarked on the road to the Age of Electrification, and we’re just fine with it.
FLEET UPDATES Look, we’re all friends here. Can we be honest and just have a good laugh about how Land Rover projects choose their own pathways to completion? Because that’s exactly what has happened with our Discovery project, and we could use a little tea and sympathy. You may recall from the last issue that our Series II failed to deliver us to the Muddy Chef Challenge in late July after simply shutting down while driving, just days before we were supposed to pack it up and hit the road (see our Road Test feature on page 32 for the other half of that story). You may also recall that we’ve poked and prodded at it on several occasions in search of the culprit. We have failed on all counts. Time has certainly conspired against our efforts, but this is what it really comes down to: We’re probably dealing with a simple but elusive gremlin that’s preventing power from getting to the fuel pump. So…we tested and/
2000 Discovery II Bryan Joslin
or replaced every sensor in the circuit…we changed a fuse block…and we embarked on the arduous task of probing connections. But, putting together this magazine takes priority, so we’ve short-circuited our efforts and called in the experts. Not far from us, in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, is a shop that’s one part Land Rover recycler and one part service specialist. Appropriately called British Boneyard, it’s run by Randy Williams and is located in the unlikeliest of neighborhoods. The place isn’t much to look at (by design), but Randy and his main tech Dan Grip know their DIIs inside and out. They’re both regulars at local Rover club events, bringing out their super-built rigs to vanquish trails (they usually win) and intimidate wildlife. Between the two of them, they’ve probably experienced every possible DII issue known to man, and my hope was they’d pounce on a solution like cats to catnip. 94
1959 Series II 88” + ToyLander 2 Christopher Holewski They first suggested checking the interior fuse box for corrosion. Yep. They lent me a used ECU for testing. Nope. So they offered to help find out just what the hell was going on so I can put the truck back on the road and resume building it up for fun. As we were sending this issue to print, the Discovery was headed to Lancaster on a flatbed. Once it’s running, we have a lot of catching up to do on the project build. Our visit to SEMA in November was fruitful, and we’ll have a bunch of new products going into and onto the Disco before spring breaks. Among our other project vehicles, you might have noticed in the pictures that our ToyLander is now complete. After many hours (we figure 70, give or take), it is serving dutifully as the perfect runabout for Chris’ three children. Note son Hunter proudly mugging with his first Land Rover. The ToyLander has already gotten a great deal of use, including carrying as
many as six children over grass, rocks, gravel and dirt. It has also served as a wood hauler, a rescue vehicle and, after our first snow of the season, with a sled tied to the tow hook it was used to tow the children around. In our previous project installment, we had completed painting the body and just started the mechanical assembly. The hardware kit provided by ToyLander includes everything needed to assemble the truck, down to the last screw, wire and bulb. First came the front suspension and steering, which provides roughly four inches of articulation on the front wheels and sports-car-tight steering (unlike the real thing). Next up came the rear axle and brake assembly, including handbrake. The brakes are pretty clever, consisting of a spring-loaded pedal attached to a steel bar that terminates with rubber hoses at either end. When the brake pedal is depressed, the steel bar is pushed backwards into the inside of the rear wheels. It’s a simple and effective alternative to mimicking real drum or disc brakes — and it was fascinating to assemble, because we couldn’t understand how it would work until it was completed. Building the ToyLander, it turns out, proved beneficial to the build on the Series II in one important way: It taught Chris how to think like a mechanic. Good thing, because it turns out his mechanical prowess was woefully low. Sure, he’d changed the oil on his cars in
the past, replaced a few hoses now and then, and every Thanksgiving would swap out the performance wheels and tires for the winter set on his daily driver. But, he’d never truly wrenched on a vehicle. That changed, however, once he started building the ToyLander with his friend Tom, and then on the Series II with Dan, another close friend. Both men are seasoned mechanics, professionally working with their hands, so Chris has learned to think like they do over the past year. His theory had been that mechanical work must be like math – there’s one way to solve the problem, and if you follow the directions, you’ll get the proper answer. The reality, of course, is quite the opposite. Building the ToyLander, even with its detailed instructions and pre-packaged parts, required a great deal of problem solving and lateral thinking. For example, as we were fitting the motors for the ToyLander, the chain between the motor and the axle kept pulling itself off after about ten rotations. There was nothing in the instructions to warn about this, so it was simply a matter of stopping to think about what was causing the problem, then reverse engineering a solution (slide the motors back about a quarter inch to create more tension on the chain). These guys not only helped move the projects forward, they were also inspiring and motivating Chris to keep moving forward with the Series II build. 96
Speaking of the Series II, we’ve managed some pretty good progress with it recently, and we’re starting to get to the good stuff. With the body now off, the frame has been completely sanded and coated in fresh rust encapsulator and black chassis paint from Eastwood. We also installed the new springs and shocks provided by Bearmach. As you may be able to tell in the photo above, it was touch-and-go there for a moment while installing the new suspension bits, but thankfully all was sorted out during the process. We also finished replacing the head gasket, and once that was back together we picked up a rebuild kit for the Weber ICH34 carburetor. With Dan’s help (and the aid of a few glasses of whiskey), we cleaned and rebuilt the carb in about three hours. Next on the hit list is work on the ignition and fuel systems, including a new distributor cap, points, rotor, wires and plugs, fuel lines, and cleaning the inside of the gas tank with some lovely chemicals from Eastwood. The Series II may not be hitting the trails as soon as we’d hoped, but it’s been great fun to be part of its transformation — and it’s been a great learning experience. We may never reach the expert mechanical levels displayed by Dan and Tom, but we are confident we’re on the right road to getting the Series II back on the road — maybe even before the Discovery. Hopefully we’ll find out before next issue.
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Range Rover Sport â€” 2012 Despite being one of the most capable off-road Land Rovers of its time, the Range Rover Sportâ€™s on-road performance always took priority in the marketing, as in this 2012 ad for the Superchraged model. 98
The Winter 2017-18 issue is packed with original articles and great photography. Feature stories in this issue include: Driven - New Discov...
Published on Jan 1, 2018
The Winter 2017-18 issue is packed with original articles and great photography. Feature stories in this issue include: Driven - New Discov...