It’s been a while since I wrote about Raymond the Range Rover and the reason is that he has been running like an absolute dream. Ever since the post MOT issues, he has been the perfect car. However, the dream has now ended.
The other day when I was driving him, everything was fine until the steering wheel started to violently shake. Thinking I perhaps has a flat tyre I pulled over and had a look. But to my surprise everything looked fine. I carried on, driving very slowly home, the issue still persisting. The next day, I took him out for a drive, and he seemed to be all okay once again. I hoped that would be the end of this issue and I could have my well-behaved Raymond back, but no less than a week later, the shaking was back and worse! This time when I pressed the brake pedal the shaking became scarily violent. I took him straight to the workshop and onto the ramp. The findings were a seized front right caliper, and the brake disc was now blue, from all the overheating through contact. We had to change this right away, so a new caliper, brake discs and pads resolved this issue.
Now he is back to being an absolute trooper on the roads! Happy days, but for how long this time?
We recently had the pleasure of selling a 1970 Range Rover Classic at Famous Four, which has now found a new home with a customer in the United States.
This remarkable vehicle may very well hold the title of being the oldest Range Rover in all of North America, as this particular Range Rover was among the initial five right-hand drive (RHD) export models made by Land Rover in 1970. The export models were slightly altered versions of the standard ‘home market’ versions due to market requirements and local regulations, such as safety requirements.
This specific car was built on 22nd December 1970 and was dispatched to Johannesburg less than one month later on the 8th January 1971. It was originally painted in the classic Masai Red but has since been repainted in an Olive Green colour. This was the early 2 door model, with box-section ladder-frame chassis and features a 3,582cc Rover V8 engine, giving the 1,780kg car a top speed of 95mph, going from 0 – 60 in 14 seconds.
The journey of this classic vehicle is a testament to its enduring spirit. Originally, it resided in South Africa’s Gauteng Province, and it covered an impressive distance of over 9,500 kilometres before arriving at Famous Four. Remarkably, despite its age, the Range Rover was in great condition, with a well-preserved chassis free from signs of corrosion and its bodywork still in fine shape. The original 3.5L V8 engine with carburettors was still in working order and running, an amazing feat for this car.
However, the vehicle is still in need of a full restoration inside and out to get it to a condition it truly deserves, and this is where Overland Projects in California, USA, entered the picture. They acquired the vehicle from us, however the pandemic put everything on hold for a while. But a few years later, and a lot of effort on both sides of the Atlantic, and the car finally embarked on its 8,500-kilometer journey being transported by truck and ship to make it all the way to the far side of the United States, arriving safe and sound earlier this month.
This Range Rover Classic isn’t just a classic car; it’s a living piece of automotive history, representing the genesis of an iconic brand. Moreover, it’s a well-travelled machine that has ventured across three continents, covering an astonishing distance of over 17,000 kilometres just in between its various homes. To put this into perspective, that’s equivalent to traveling the length of over 153,000 football pitches. It has traversed the South African mountains, roamed the fields of the United Kingdom, and is now embarking on a new adventure in the Land of Opportunity, the United States.
To follow this vehicle on its journey, follow Overland Projects on Instagram (@overlandprojects).
Since the nerve wrecking MOT experience, Raymond has once again been trouble free. So, in place of the usual “what’s gone wrong this week?” I thought I would tell you just a few of the better features of the L322.
Firstly, we have to mention the storage. This car comes with an abundance of storage, with spots all over the car. There is the very deep glovebox, the centre console, the glasses case, the multitude of cup holders, the rear seat pockets, and of course the enormous boot space (which we previously showed could fit huge sheets of plasterboard).
Secondly, there is the level of comfort. Heated seats in both the front and back, heated steering wheel, very efficient air conditioning, comfy leather seating, electric headrests, adjustable arm rests, air suspension providing a smooth ride, adaptive cruise control for those long journeys and then amount of room means that even tall people with long legs can fit without being squashed.
Thirdly we have a very practical feature, which is the split sun visor, meaning that if you are constantly changing direction on windy country roads, you don’t need to keep moving the visor to block the sun, meaning you can relax and enjoy the drive without being blinded.
Finally, we have the HDC (Hill Descent Control) switch, which does exactly what it says. This clever system when enabled slows the car down automatically when going downhill. There is the normal setting, as well as low range, which controls the speed more aggressively. This feature, whilst not necessary, just makes driving around that little bit easier.
The day was finally here, the MOT and Raymond had been a very solid car for the week leading up to today, however this morning he decided to test my nerves. When I got in the car ready to leave, I put the car into drive, however nothing happened… Why, today of all days?
I took a deep breath and then tried again, however nothing again. Well, if at first you don’t succeed, try and try again. I put him in drive for a third time and finally he started to move, however it felt as if the brakes were on for the first 30 seconds.
Finally, everything seemed normal again and we headed to the MOT, however once again Raymond filled me with fear when I heard not one, but two very harsh gear changes within a 5-minute window.
I dropped Raymond off at the garage filled with nervous energy. The agonising wait to find out one of two four letter words, pass or fail. After what felt like an eternity the tester came out and with a smile on his face informed me that Raymond had PASSED! An enormous weight was lifted from my shoulders. Only two advisories, one for a slight oil leak and one for a cracked window, but the main thing is that for another year Raymond is legal!
Every year there is one day that all motorists dread; the MOT deadline, and we are no different. Raymond is booked in to have his MOT in a few weeks which means we needed to get him prepared.
A quick check showed Raymond was in good shape; the front tyres were wearing on the inside edge, so as a precaution we swapped them for new ones. All Raymond had to do now was behave for a couple of weeks….
The very next morning, I got in the car and was greeted by a light show on the dashboard. Every single warning light was on. What was going on? Has Raymond suddenly become a practical joker or was something wrong. I turned the wheel quickly left and right and thankfully the lights went off, however there was a warning on the dash saying, ‘Suspension Inactive’. This is the last thing we needed on the buildup to the MOT. I turned off the engine and did the old “Have you tried turning it off and back on again?” trick and once again luck was on my side as I could hear the suspension kicking in.
For the rest of the week Raymond decided to not cause me any grief, that was until the morning of the MOT…
I recently watched a film on Netflix, called Extraction II. This was an action-packed sequel starring Chris Hemsworth and a lot of cars, and when I say a lot, I mean a lot of cars.
The whole film was like a car advert featuring G Class Mercedes, tons of new Volkswagens but most importantly some Land Rovers. There is a lovely placement for a 2023 Defender in a scene with Idris Elba, but also a Discovery 4 in a chase scene. And seeing these cars in this film made me think, what are some famous appearances in film by Land Rover?
In no particular order we start with animated Range Rovers from the film Cars 2. The film is partially set in England and features a car version of the Queen, who has a barricade of bodyguards, of which are all Range Rover P38a’s. Also, the Queen’s Guard is represented by a 1962 Series IIa. It’s nice to see that a very American film chose an apt car to represent the military elements of British culture, what with Land Rover’s deep embedded connection to the military.
THE ITALIAN JOB
The next film you wouldn’t necessarily associate with Land Rover, instead you would choose another famous British car manufacturer in Mini, however the Land Rover plays a very important role.
The film is The Italian Job, and whilst it made the iconic Mini iconic, it never would have happened if it weren’t for the kitted-out Series II that blasts through the Italian streets to get them to their eventual getaway cars. But this is very apt for a Land Rover, just getting the job done properly and never asking for any of the glory.
One of the more iconic and recognisable Land Rovers in film has to be the customised Defender TD5 110 from Tomb Raider.
Angelina Jolie played the character Lara Croft, an adventuring archaeologist who gets into all sorts of scrapes. The Defender is the perfect fit for the character, helping her through all sorts of treacherous conditions, whilst still making her look badass. The car was customised by Land Rover’s Special Vehicle Division, adding tons of accessories to aid her on her expeditions.
This next one we mentioned in the facts blog (https://blog.famousfour.co.uk/uncategorized/7-interesting-facts-you-may-not-know-about-land-rover/) but it has to be mentioned in this list as well, as it is by far the most interesting looking Land Rover on film. We are of course, referring to the 2139 CityCab from Judge Dredd.
The film is set in a futuristic New York known as Mega City One and the traditional New York Taxi has been replaced by this beast of a vehicle. Based on a 101 Forward Control, these 31 of these cars were made for the film, however most of them were reverted back, leaving only a handful of these cars still in existence.
EON’s JAMES BOND FRANCHISE
This next film isn’t a singular film, instead a franchise and most people would think of the infamous Aston Martins, but Land Rover have had cars featured in 10 James Bond Films, meaning Land Rover has been in more Bond films than any of the Bond actors. Land Rovers have appeared in Octopussy, A View To A Kill, The Living Daylights, Tomorrow Never Dies, The World Is Not Enough, Die Another Day, Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace, Skyfall, SPECTRE and No Time To Die.
The first appearance was in the 1983 film Octopussy and it was a Range Rover Rapport Huntsman, a 3-door convertible take on the classic Range Rover. The latest film features a fair few cars but most importantly 3 Defenders, 2 Range Rover Sport SVRs, a Range Rover Classic and Land Rover Series III.
Many times, the car in film is just a cameo and is easily replaced, however in the film Get Carter, the Land Rover 109 Series II Station Wagon appears quite frequently as it is driven around by criminals chasing the protagonist, Jack Carter.
That same car is later used by the police during an arrest scene, in which the Land Rover is like Mary Poppins handbag with a seemingly never-ending supply of officers getting out, showing the roominess of the Station Wagon version.
In my short time looking into this topic, I have found hundreds of examples of Land Rover’s being used in films; Charlies Angels, Gemini Man, SAS: Red Notice, Tenet, 6 Underground, Fantasy Island just to name a few and all of those are from the last 5 years, so this is a rabbit hole we are going to leave here for now. Let us know your favourite Land Rover cameo in a film and if you want us to do a part 2.
After Raymond’s previous heroics I couldn’t have been happier with him, but that was all going to change. Nothing had gone wrong so far this week, however as we know by now, a problem free week is rare, and luck was not on my side. The time was 2:23am when I was awakened by this issue and there was no ignoring it. Raymond was blaring his alarm to the whole neighbourhood. I grabbed the keys and headed out and attempted many times to turn the alarm off. I tried unlocking and locking the car, but nothing happened. I tried turning on the ignition, but Raymond didn’t want to turn over. 10 minutes later, half asleep and now with a headache from the alarm, I decided enough was enough and went to grab a socket set, opened the bonnet, and got to work on disconnecting the battery… Finally, some quiet.
The next day I decided to charge the battery, thinking maybe it was an issue of it being flat again. As I reconnected the battery the familiar sound of a screaming alarm began ringing out. I quickly jumped in the car and started the car, this time successfully, and the alarm noise ceased. I took Raymond for a quick drive, and all seemed fine once again. But of course, that isn’t the end of the story. Fast forward to 3.40am the next day and another repeat performance from Raymond and his annoying alarm, resulting in the same ending, the battery being disconnected.
To save my neighbours and myself from another sleepless night, I thought it best to leave the battery disconnected over the next night. Whenever possible the workshop technicians will need to do some investigating to find out what is the cause of this irritating issue. For now though, it looks as if I want sleep, I’ll need to disconnect the battery every evening.
The longer that we have owned Raymond the less drastic the problems have been. Thinking back to all the major issues we’ve had to complete, a lot of it was in the early days. The last major issue we had was the air suspension, since then they have all been slight inconveniences that haven’t been too problematic. Not bad for a car that is 20 years old.
That being said the small annoying problems are frequent and are a part of being an L322 owner. This week as I was driving along, I heard a slight clicking noise coming from the back of the car. I pulled over and found the noise to be coming from the rear window. It appeared as if the window was trying to shut itself, despite it already being shut. I pressed the button to lower it and once I let go the window went up on its own. Tested it again to make sure it wasn’t random, and it did the same thing.
After some investigating the cause was a faulty window switch, meaning this would need to be replaced. The workshop has been quite busy at the moment so for now we have found a clever workaround to stop the noise. Putting the child lock on seems to override the fault and stop the noise.
On a positive note, Raymond was used to transport some plasterboard this week and he fit the sheets in with ease and with room to spare making the whole transportation much smoother. Had Raymond not been around to save the day, we would have had to mess around with open boots held shut with rope and other dangerous methods like that.
Welcome back to the Famous Four Blog. We at Famous Four are independent Land Rover Specialists, supplying parts, advice, and servicing. But we also love to share our knowledge of Land Rovers with others. So today, we are going to share with you 7 interesting facts you may not know about Land Rover.
Now, we could tell you that the steering wheel was first placed in the centre of the car or that the first Land Rover was built years before Land Rover was even a company, but those are the facts that most Land Rover fans already know, so let’s try some more interesting ones…
#1 – A Revolutionary Monster
Land Rover built the first ever Monster Truck in the 1950’s. The British Forestry Commission demanded that Land Rover make a vehicle that could manage deep puddles, so what they did was attach 4 tractor tires to a Land Rover creating what is considered the first example of a monster truck, somewhat 30 years before they became popular.
#2 – Going Strong In 2139
The first Land Rover was built in 1947 and Land Rover will still be going strong in 2139. That is according to the 1995 film Judge Dredd. And the car they will be making is the 2139 City Cab. The only way to get around Mega City One, formerly New York, this futuristic spin on the New York taxicab was based on a Land Rover 101 Forward Control but constructed to be a fortress on wheels. These cars were actually made for the film and occasionally pop up for sale now and then.
#3 – Jet Engine Roots
The Range Rover was built by the nephew of Maurice and Spencer Wilks, who ran the company. Charles Spencer King, of whom the CSK model would be named after, would first work for Rolls Royce after WWII helping to build jet engines. What put him on the map though and got people noticing him, was his work on the Rover JET1, which in 1952 set the land speed record for a gas turbine vehicle with 152mph.
#4 – An Earlier Range Rover??
You may think that you know what year it was first made, 1970 right? Wrong, the first ever Range Rover was actually called the Road Rover and was made nearly 20 years prior in 1952. Okay, so perhaps it wasn’t the Range Rover, but it was the same project. Land Rover wanted to create a bigger more luxurious version of the Series in the early 1950’s and they came up with the Road Rover. This project would however be shelved and then picked up in the mid 60’s where King and Gordon Bashford would create the prototype of the first Range Rover Classic.
#5 – “Would You Like The Tank Version?”
This one, you might know about, but it’s too cool not to mention. The Series II Cuthbertson! Originally designed by a Scotsman to manoeuvre around the Scottish Highlands, without sinking into the ground, this was a Series II, equipped with not wheels, but rather rubber tracks. This was later offered as a factory option, you know, just in case you wanted a half car, half tank to roam around your town.
#6 – Mona Lisa and the Range
Another cool, but potentially well-known fact, is that the Range Rover is considered to be a work of art, and that is not an opinion. A ¾ scale model of the 1970 Range Rover was actually a featured exhibit in the Louvre. It was described as an “exemplary work of industrial design”. Since then, many other cars have been displayed, but know that it all started with our beloved British car the Range Rover.
#7 – The Pink Panther
Finally, did you know that there is only one military vehicle which is pink? Well, there is, and it’s a Land Rover. A modified Series IIA was given the nickname “Pink Panther” and was used by the Special Air Service (SAS)in the Persian Gulf area. The hue of the car was thought to have been just right to blend in with the sand in the area at certain times of the day. Pretty cool, right?
So, did we teach you anything? Or are you just too much of a Land Rover whizz? Let us know in the comments which ones you knew and which you didn’t and also what is your favourite Land Rover fact?
Raymond has been running brilliantly so it’s treat time. Raymond has an LCD fault on the dash display, a common L322 fault. A bit of internet research revealed a repair that was available in the form of a new LCD ribbon. A few pounds spent and a couple of days wait, and we had the part in front of us.
We booked Raymond in the Workshop and waited. The day finally arrived, the instrument cluster was removed, and the stripping began in earnest, for about 5 minutes. Apparently, Raymond decided to melt the coils that controlled the Rev Counter and Temperature gauge. We could not remove the needles and therefore could not proceed any further with the repair. To top it all off neither the Rev Counter nor the Temperature Gauge work anymore. Things were not going to plan.
We have ordered some more new parts to complete the repair so watch this space.
To top it all off, Raymond started to make a loud ticking noise which mysteriously disappeared 5 minutes from homeand has not reappeared. We assume Raymond was not happy and wanted to share his feelings.
In summary unlike the title suggests it was more three steps back than one step forward and two steps back.
During this series a lot of the time we mention the faults and issues that Raymond has and how we combat them, but Raymond has lots of redeeming features and that’s what I want to write about. Firstly, the comfort; when sitting in Raymond you feel like a king, the seats are comfy and heated, the ride is so smooth you can barely feel the potholes of Britain. Raymond is spacious in all regards; you never feel cramped when driving or as a passenger. He also has a lovely big boot, so you can easily do a big shop for the whole family and not worry about whether or not you can fit it in the car. The heated steering wheel, front and rear windows were life savers during the winter months.
The thing to note with Raymond is that he tries to make life as comfortable and easy as possible, and if the price to pay for that is that you need to constantly look after him, then that is pretty good value for money. Raymond isn’t just any car, it’s a driving companion with personality.
All that being said, there of course has been an issue this week. He started making a random noise on the way home, however it then disappeared, came back momentarily and hasn’t been back since. Fingers crossed that it was a minor blip and not something serious.
Over the past few weeks there has not been much to write about. Raymond has carried on working like a trooper throughout a month of very low temperatures. For the most part, Raymond has been a solid companion on the drive to and from work. So, I thought I would treat Raymond to a nice clean-up. A good hour with some warm soapy water and a sponge got him looking all lovely. I then thought I would give him a rest for a bit as he has been working really hard over the past few months. This, however, would be a mistake, because when I came back to Raymond, he was not well.
Firstly, he was as dead as a Dodo, nothing was working, so we needed to get him on the life support instantly and get that battery charging. Whilst waiting for Raymond to burst into life, I opened the tailgate to get something from the back and suddenly I felt the weight of the top half crash into the top of my skull. The gas struts that usually hold up the tailgate had given up and the price for this was a lump on my head. Maybe Raymond shouldn’t be left alone for any more extended periods.
I took him to work once he was charged up and got the gas struts replaced so that he was back to a healthy L322 again… well apart from the ongoing battery issue… but other than that, smooth sailing.
This week in the UK the temperatures have plummeted below 0°C hitting as low as -6°C. Monday morning and I go to get in Raymond and he is completely frozen over. I got in the car and turned on whatever heater I could find: windscreen, seats, steering wheel to try and warm myself and Raymond up. When I finally set off, I was lovely and toasty inside but outside was a different story. The roads were white and like ice rinks, however Raymond handled those slippy roads like they were glue, not sliding once.
Tuesday was the coldest day so without a moment of hesitation all of those heaters were back on making Raymond heaven. The drive was once again sublime, however this is Raymond, so something had to go wrong. Once I was parked up, I went to open the door and nothing happened. I locked and then unlocked the door a few times trying to open the door with each attempt. I thought to myself that it must be the weather and perhaps the mechanism had seized up. I called over to a passing colleague to try the door from the other side, hoping that it was just the inner door handle, but no luck, Raymond had locked me in. I got up and shuffled across to the passenger seat and tried the other door and thankfully with a little persuasion the door opened. Later on, we went to inspect what had happened but lo and behold, nothing was wrong anymore, all the doors were working fine. I think the workshop technicians think I’m losing the plot, with all these issues that ‘solve’ themselves.
The rest of the week Raymond, surprisingly behaved himself, dealing with the tumultuous weather like a champion. Despite the little hiccup near the start of the week, it is times like this when owning a L322 has its benefits and makes me one happy driver.
Another week and to start with it has been pure bliss driving Raymond around. There have only been a few minor issues, such as a side light bulb needing to be replaced. The issues of the past seemed to be just that, in the past, or so I thought.
The problems started on Friday; I started him up to go to work and put him in drive. Normally, this is when the car would move, but not today. I decided that maybe this was just a blip and that I should just try again. Put it back into park, waited a moment, said a little good luck prayer, and then moved the shifter into drive and… nothing yet again. I swear Raymond just likes making me late for work. I thought to myself, what’s that old saying “Have you tried turning it off and on again?” So, I did just that, turned Raymond off and back on again and then proceeded to put him in drive once more and hallelujah, this time he moved off like there was no issue at all. Having spoken to the technicians, we believe that a solenoid might have got stuck and that it should be a recurring problem.
Sunday then came around, and I thought, let’s go for a little drive, clicked to open and there was a telling silence that something was wrong. Maybe the key was just dead, and my negative thoughts would be proven wrong… I wasn’t wrong. Raymond was as flat as a pancake, no battery at all. So, instead of going out for a relaxing drive around the countryside, I am in the garage digging out the battery charger and hoping that he is alive for the morning drive to work.
Thankfully, the outcome was good, and he came alive with full power in the morning. Something is definitely draining this battery and we need to get to the bottom of it. We have reason to believe it is not the Sat-Nav, however that leaves us with more questions than answers. Oh, Raymond, you do make life interesting….
In the previous two blog posts about these toy cars we looked at two pairings of vehicles and in this post we will look at the last of our pairs. The third pairing is the army vehicles.
First up is the Series III station wagon in the camo livery with the classic spare wheel on the bonnet. This car just looks like it belongs in a war film, driving through the gritty land, mud everywhere. And they were used a lot, not just by the British Army, but also the Australian and New Zealand armies too.
In my research into the military usage of the Series III, I was shocked to find that a lot of the time they did not use the hard top like in this example here, but instead would use soft top models.
The other car in this pair is a Series II LWB Fighting Vehicle that was designated FV18061/2 which stood for General Service or Fitted for Radio. That meant that this truck was customised to fit its purpose. It was fitted with twin fuel tanks, pusher bumpers, military electrical equipment and had longer spring hangers, which allowed the use of larger section tyres when needed.
The Sankey trailer behind the car is also a fighting vehicle designated FV2361. It was a ¾ ton trailer, equipped for either carrying cargo or fitted with specialised equipment, such as water-purification plants, radar equipment or welding equipment. The body was designed to be watertight so that it could be floated across bodies of water.
On the box it states that this vehicle was used by the 1st Battalion, Royal Green Jackets, which would date the model between post 1966 as that is when the Royal Green Jackets were formed. They were a light infantry unit, and the 1st Battalion were based in Weeton. The unit is most known for being deployed to Northern Ireland in the 1980’s as well as West Germany prior to the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Looking at all six of these cars, it shows how influential and useful Land Rover were and still can be in the world. They are multi-purpose vehicles that can be applied to many different situations and are also highly adaptable. And yet whilst they may all be adapted to fit the job description, at the heart of it, is still the everyday civilian car that Land Rover make. And that makes the everyday car, that little bit more special, because it could be a police car, it could be saving lives on the beaches, or it could be delivering essential cargo in a warzone.
Raymond has been working like a trooper, so he had a little holiday for two weeks. However, we aren’t too sure if Raymond liked the holiday as when we went to unlock him, he wouldn’t. When we manually unlocked the car, there were no interior lights. When we tried the ignition, nothing happened. Raymond was out for the count. Luckily, we have jump start packs in the workshop so we managed to get one of those out to Raymond, but no luck, he still wouldn’t start. Perhaps this issue was bigger than just the battery, maybe, just maybe this was the end for Raymond.
Not being one to give up so easily, especially not on Raymond, I persevered, placed the jump pack on him for another go, Boom, we were running. I left him ticking over whilst I got ready and within 5 minutes, we were on the road heading for Louth, every mile charging the battery a little bit more. OR was I? I had no lights on the dash so assumed the best.
Once back at the Workshop, we tested the alternator, it was working, phew! Next the battery, all ok, or will be after a charge, phew! Then the realisation that Raymond must have a battery drain, oh no. I left Raymond with the Workshop for a while, I think he likes it there as he behaved. A few hours later I am informed the drain has been traced to the Sat Nav which is constantly live. We need to sort this out so Raymond can soldier on.
Following on from the previous post about the toy cars, we are going to be looking at another pairing of cars; specifically Coastguard Land Rovers.
Starting off with the Corgi Classics 50 Years of Land Rover, Series IIA Station Wagon in navy blue with a yellow roof. The car also has searchlights and a siren on the roof and of course the spare wheel on the bonnet. Written across the side is HM Coastguard and Marine Rescue.
Once again I had trouble finding this specific model in the internet’s archives, however I did manage to find a Series III in a very similar livery. The similarities between the design of the two cars makes me confident that at some point, somewhere this Series IIA was roaming the beaches of the UK saving lives.
I can imagine that the offroad capabilities would be very useful when traversing beaches and rocks to find stranded or injured people.
The second model car is not so great a story as this one I believe to be completely fictitious for a number of reasons. Firstly, being the livery. I could not find one single example of any UK coastguard vehicle looking anywhere near this. Then it got me thinking, this one doesn’t say HM Coastguard, so perhaps it is not English. I looked at the design and searched European countries with coastlines and then also the USA as I feel the more cartoon like text and logo might be more in line with the Americans, however no luck again. I then scrapped the idea of another country because I noticed it was right hand drive, so the conclusion I came to is that someone at Corgi wanted to design a Coastguard car, chose a vehicle that is in line with the accurate vehicles and then created a unique design based off of the designs already in place.
Whilst one of these cars might not be a legitimate Coastguard vehicle, it once again goes to show how the versatility of Land Rovers have been used in a positive and life altering way. To think that since researching these cars, we have seen the mail being delivered by Land Rovers, gas and electric brought to people’s homes by Land Rover, law and order being kept in Land Rovers and now the beaches and coastlines kept safe by Land Rover’s. It is amazing how much one company have helped shape the history of a country.
The cold mornings are finally here; however, Raymond is well prepared for the frosty challenge ahead. The heated steering wheel, the heated seats (of which have two settings, hot and very hot), and the heated windscreen will all fight off any inclement weather and keep me toastie. The first day and what do I have? A frozen windshield, but as I predicted, Raymond dealt with it as if that was what he was made for, and I was on my way with clear glass in front of me.
Whilst Raymond has been a trooper against the cold, I do have to point out a few teething issues that have happened this week. There is a weird musty smell that appears when you have the heaters on. We suspect this to be either the pollen filter or the a/c. We will keep you informed either way. The other issue is that the radio is intermittent these days. I will be driving along, jamming out to some music, everything working fine and then suddenly, silence, radio off, not turning back on until you restart the car, only for it to repeat the process. I have noticed that it does it more often when the headlights are on, so perhaps Raymond has a wiring issue?? The final issue to note is the constant changing of the key fob battery every other week, which I would describe as more of an annoyance than a problem.
In our next dive into the die-cast model cars collection, I am going to be looking at a pair of cars with a common theme between them; that theme, the police.
Firstly we have the 5 door Range Rover Classic from the West Midlands Police, more specifically the Central Motorway Police Group (CMPG). The livery is quite accurate to the real counterpart, however there are two glaring errors. Before I go onto the errors though I would like to point out the numbers and letters on the roof of the car. This is code created by the force so that aerial units can identify the ground units. In our case there is a red circle which generally means traffic or general response unit.
Now the errors, one of which may be arguable, but one not so. The arguable point is that, during my research I could never find this particular car in this model. I did however find this EXACT livery on a P38A, the model that came after this one. Perhaps there is no documented existence of this car, perhaps you need special access to find this out. The only shred of evidence I have is that Corgi made this model and with it was a card that read:
“1972-1997. 25th anniversary of West Midlands Motorway Network and Motorway Police (C.M.P.G) Featured Range Rover is the last of its style to be take into use by the Central Motorway Police Group.”
The second error is in the design of the car. The car is a fairly solid remake of the 5-door Classic, however the indicator lights struck me as quite odd when I first looked at it, because instead of the usual split of indicator and fog lights, there was just a singular red light. I researched for a good few hours and I could not find one example of a Range Rover Classic that had this design. So if it is by some miracle accurate, then this is a very rare car.
The second of the police vehicles is another 5 door Range Rover Classic this time from the Metropolitan Police. The livery on this model is not accurate and appears to based on a few different designs, and more noticeably those designs appear to be more later designs as the designs used on the Classics was very different. Funnily enough though, this model car has the same issue as the other one in that it has a singular red indicator not a split like we know the Classics had.
Despite the issues with the models, I think these two cars serve as important reminders of the importance that Land Rover and more specifically the Range Rover plays in British policing. 2 separate areas of the country and yet the same cars used. I also think that it is a testament to Land Rover because these are being used in jobs in which you need the best, in order to fulfil a public need.
This week Raymond is back in the shop and due for an important repair. The workshop investigated the car after the last blog and concluded that the radiator was leaking and that it would need to be replaced. There is a video of the radiator swap on the Famous Four YouTube Channel. (https://youtu.be/zf6d6HmCE5s)
To remove the radiator, we first need to drain the coolant. Then the pipes and fans need to be disconnected, removed from the radiator unit, so the radiator can be removed from the car. The new radiator can then be fitted, and all the pipes and fans can be reinstalled. Add coolant and check to see if there are any leaks, of which there were none thankfully, and that is the job completely done.
After a few days of testing, the issue seems to be resolved and the new radiator unit is holding up well. However, nothing is ever straight forward with Raymond… As I was driving along the interior air bag light has come on, so as a matter of safety we need to get that checked out sooner rather than later. We went and got the diagnostic kit, turned the car back on and magically Raymond had fixed himself and the light was no longer on. The never-ending uncertainty of Raymond is starting to become his main characteristic.
Welcome back to the third installment of the Land Rover Die Cast Model Cars series. So far we have looked at several interesting finds and todays post is no different.
One of our finds in this collection is a Corgi Collection Land Rover, Trailer and Mini Safari Rally set, which was released in 1997. The rally race in which the mini on the trailer raced in was the 1997 Safari Rally Kenya, of which the legend driver Colin McRae actually won. The story is not so exciting for our mini #53, driven by the team of Robert and Michael Plant, brothers from Rochdale as they unfortunately retired from the race. A fun fact about that race is that a fellow retiree was actually Carlos Sainz Snr.
The Land Rover towing #53 is a Series III 109 W.B in white. From my research I cannot find if this was the exact car that would have towed the trailer, however given the location of the race and the year it is very likely. The car is detailed with decals from the time period, and also includes the famous Corgi logo (now, that definitely wouldn’t have been on the car at the time). This toy serves as a reminder of the part Land Rover plays in all aspects of life, including rallying.
Our next find is this wonderful pastel blue and orange livery Transco Land Rover. This again is a Series III 109 W.B and is also towing something behind it, however in this case it is not a rally car, but instead a road drill. Also included in the box is a workman, donning a head of white hair under his helmet and a grimace on his face as he uses the drill on a small piece of road.
Transco were a gas distribution company who then merged with the National Grid Group, to eventually bring the UK what we now know as The National Grid. Transco mostly used Transit vans, however in more rural areas, they sometimes used a Land Rover, similar to Royal Mail as in the last blog.
Our third and final find is a Series III 109 W.B Royal Mail Post Bus. This served as a later edition to the Series II we previously looked at, however it did not last long, quickly being replaced by the Defender 110, with an identical livery. If you took a quick glance, besides the front being different, partial bits of trim and the addition of a an Alpine Window, there isn’t much difference aesthetically. So, if the Defender 110 came out a little bit earlier, would this Series III Post Bus version even exist. This makes this find even more special as it marks such a specific time that could never have happened, yet for many will bring amazing memories.
Since the last chapter Raymond has been driving really well, which has allowed us to make some discoveries about him…
In a previous chapter, we mentioned the 3 cup holders in the front and none in the back. Well, we now know that one of the cup holders is adjustable so you can put drinks of varying size in it with no issue.
With the inevitable cold days of the British winter upon us, I was very excited with a fully functioning heated steering wheel. Another added bonus was the super demister that clears not only front and rear screens but also the wing mirrors. Magic!
The fuel situation is also improving with the MPG slowly creeping up to 21.2 meaning the fuel we put in might last a little longer, maybe the 5 working days??
After a week of no issues, our luck had come to an end as two problems occurred at once. A message stating the key fob battery was low and also that the coolant was low. The battery issue should just be a simple battery replacement, but the coolant one is different as it was only just topped up, which would suggest a leak somewhere. The workshop say they will investigate where or if we have a leak.
After diving back into the collection of model cars that we bought from an ex-employee, I came across yet another limited edition find. This Corgi Millennium Collection Land Rover is #1635 out of 3000.
There isn’t much on the internet about this collection itself and I could only find two other vehicles, a Q1 Trolley Bus and a Fowler B6 Super Lion Showman’s Engine. From what I can tell the collection is to do with some of the standout vehicles by the time we reached a new millennium. If this is the case, then what a testament to Land Rover for being selected. On the side of the box, we have a shortened version of what was on the 50 Years Anniversary box we looked at last time. The model itself is very similar to the 50 year one, however this is a silver version and does have the spare tyre on the bonnet.
Also amongst the boxes of boxes was this gem of a find in the form of a Limited-Edition Royal Mail Land Rover, #4646 out of 5600. This was one of two Limited Edition Royal Mail die-cast scale models in 1997, the other being the Bedford CA Van.
This Land Rover is based on a Series II SWB that was used by Royal Mail in the 1960’s for rural deliveries. The hardback top is actually removable on this model; however, I haven’t found anything to back up that Royal Mail ever used it without the top. I did however manage to find a photo on Pinterest of one in real life and the accuracy of the model is spectacular. Whilst looking into Royal Mail’s vehicles I found that they used a wide range of Land Rover’s in rural areas.
The final find for this post is yet another car from a television programme, Daktari. The popular TV show, Daktari, was a drama series in the 1960’s by MGM Television. The word ‘Daktari’ is actually Swahili for Doctor and the show was all about a scientist dedicated to the preservation of wildlife in the African Jungle.
This model car is another Land Rover Series II, however without the hard top, but with a wonderful jungle livery and the words Wameru Sub-District across the side. Wameru is the Swahili word for the Meru, an Bantu ethnic group. This set also comes with the two pets the doctor in the show had, Judy the Chimp and Clarence the Lion. Clarence on the show actually had a stunt double on the show called Leo, who was used for any snarling or ferocious scenes.
The final fact about this set is that is actually based on an original 1967 Corgi Daktari set which sold in excess of 1 million units in the seven years it was available.
Three amazing finds in this haul, once again showing the amazing diversity of Land Rover and the cultural impact that the vehicles have had. Delivering mail and saving the animals of Africa.
After the ordeal of the last drive, Raymond was now sat in the workshop, so that the technicians could reveal what really happened. And just as we had predicted last time, the air spring had deflated. So, now we need to get hold of a new one and then change them over.
A nice easy job, take off the wheels, remove the brake discs to reveal the air spring and then disconnect the air spring from under the bonnet. Then it is a case of placing the new air spring in and reconnecting it, putting the car on all fours and hoping that it inflates. And without any hesitation, Raymond rose like a phoenix. We also topped up the coolant as it was low.
We took Raymond out for a drive, and he feels so much better now, gliding over all the bumps, smooth as can be. It is amazing how one little change can make such a mountain of a difference.
This morning I was on my way to work, and everything was going swimmingly, until I started to notice that he was pulling to the left. I got out after pulling into a layby to check to see if I had a flat tyre. NO. WORSE.
The entire car had sunk on one side as the front airbag was empty. Was there a message on the dash to alert me to this life-threatening issue? Of course not! I tried to turn the engine on to see if the bag would reinflate. It didn’t…
I decided since I was so close to work, to drive Raymond, very carefully. The steering was heavy, and the ride was particularly bouncy. I finally arrived back at Famous Four and what happens after I put him into park? A little fault code pops up on the dash saying ‘suspension inactive’, just in case I hadn’t noticed already. Thanks Raymond!
Working in the niche market of Land Rovers, we get to hear lots of Land Rover stories and also see lots of unique Land Rover items. Recently, one of our ex-employees was having a bit of a clear out and sold to us some of his collectible Land Rover models. The collection is rather impressive, and we will share more, but these first three are rather special.
Firstly, the one on the left is a Corgi Originals ‘The New Avengers: Steed’s Range Rover’ (Model 57604) and not only contains the hand painted detailed scale model Range Rover, but also includes a figurine of the main character, Steed. This find was released in 2000 as a celebration of the cult 70’s spy television show, which is a sequel to the 60’s show ‘The Avengers’. ‘The New Avengers’ was well known for it’s use of cars. Steed, the main character, was originally known for driving a Bentley in the original series, but in the sequel would either be seen driving a wide-bodied Jaguar XJ Coupe or a 1971 Range Rover 2-Door Suffix A in green, which is the model Corgi decided to create.
The middle model is a limited-edition Corgi Classics, #3879 of only 5900 produced, Gold-Plated Land Rover Pickup (Model 07103) to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Land Rover in 1998. On the back of the box there is a brief story of Land Rover’s humble beginnings, with the launch all the way back at the Amsterdam Motor show in 1948 and then there is a little description of what they have managed in the 50 years since, particularly in agriculture. Regarding the model itself, having done some research it still remains a mystery to me as to why they chose what appears to be a Series I pickup, instead of the model that was launched in Amsterdam, but what I can say is that the model is pretty cool.
The final, and my personal favourite, is the Corgi Fairground Attractions Land Rover and Trailer (Model CC07401). This too is a limited edition being #4024 out of 5000. The Fairground Attractions collection is a series of vehicles and rides that help to tell the stories of famous fairground companies. This particular one tells the story of Harris’s Gallopers, whose name brands the Land Rover siding, and how they became a popular fairground company. The Land Rover itself is a Series I truck with a custom red and creamy livery.
These three models are not only three interesting examples of Land Rover history, but also a testament to the diversity in which they can be used; espionage, farming, and entertainment just to name a few.
With Raymond now driving the mean streets of rural Lincolnshire, we can explore him a little more in depth. He has three cupholders in the front for the two passengers, and none in the back for the three passengers… makes sense, doesn’t it? Also, if you want to feel like you are in a spy movie you can lift up the middle console and find, hidden away, a secret phone. Yes, the thing looks like a brick and as far as I am aware is completely not working, but to have it there, is pretty cool.
Now, the not so good thing about Raymond. He has decided he has a new favourite hang out spot, or as I like to call it his second home due to the amount of time he spends there. That place… the fuel station! And boy does he make you pay for taking him there. Fourty Great British pounds and it moved the fuel gauge to a quarter… A QUARTER! All that expensive fuel we lovingly donate to him, does he save it and cherish it? NOPE, first journey 19 mpg, second journey 15.6 mpg, third journey was an improvement but still only 20mpg! We can’t wait for the more inefficient winter months ahead.
After all of the new parts and fixing, it was finally time to take Raymond onto the road. Was this going to be scary? Of course, but what is life without a bit of unknown adventure? I soon settled in and noticed that Raymond is actually quite a nice car to drive around in. The air suspension means that he floats along the road and pot holes are not even noticeable.
The interior is comfortable and luxurious, with arm rests, lumbar support, working air conditioning and heated seats. Not everything is perfect in Raymond though… Firstly, he is a big boy, like ‘Andre the Giant’ big and this means that he drives like a bus. The steering feels heavy, and the stopping distance is a lot longer than any normal car. The temperature gauge is either broken or Raymond is ice cold… I’m going to go with broken though.
His final issue that I noticed was the next morning when I was due to bring him back. I went to get in, but I couldn’t due to the locks not working. I walked around the car, tried the key in the door, but nothing was working. Ten minutes later though, like an indecisive child, Raymond decided he did want to work and unlocked himself. The joys of a budget L322 have only just begun…
Upon a thorough inspection of the underside of Raymond, another issue came to light… great! There was some play in the anti-roll bar linkage, which means that Raymond needs some more new parts… Trigger’s broom springs to mind here (one for the Only Fools fans there). So, we got to work cutting the broken part out and then attaching a brand-new shiny ARB link.
Now when one door closes another opens… well that may be true in most cases, but with Raymond, doors don’t tend to do much.
At first, we thought he just needed a new door card but after more inspection, this cheap project needed more new parts in the form of a door release cable.
We fitted an aftermarket part, however this didn’t fix the issue, so we ended up with a genuine part instead.
Raymond may be one of the cheapest members of our fleet, but that doesn’t mean he deserves any less. That being said, it might be interesting to see how cheaply you can run and maintain a Range Rover.
So lets get down to brass tacks, Raymond needs a lot of work including the brakes, the key, the smell and that is only scratching the surface. What did you expect for under five hundred pounds?
Firstly we have an actual safety concern to contend with, the mirrors, or more importantly the drivers side wing mirror. You would think we can’t scrimp and save on something as vital as this, well you would be wrong again. Ebay…Ten Pounds…Bargain!
Sorting out the brakes had to be the next thing on the list of things to do as both the discs and the calipers were very worn and cracked. So lets fit some fresh ones and get Raymond stopping as well as he looks.
Final issue for today is the front fog lamp bezels. Raymond is missing one of the plastic bezels and it makes him look a bit sad. Now this is purely an aesthetic upgrade as it poses no danger, but let’s get it done anyway. We found these chrome bezels online for twenty five pounds. Now Raymond looks like he’s ready to release a rap album!
A sunny May afternoon, I received a phone call from a gent who was trying to sell his broken 2003 L322. Did it run? Did it change gear? Surprisingly, the answer to both was YES! Does that mean that it had dreaded corrosion around the sills and arches?
The next morning, I decided to meet this gentleman as he was only a short distance away. When I got there, I laid my eyes on Raymond for the first time. He looked very poorly sat on his haunches, broken bits and damage as far as the eye could see. Raymond was definitely in need of some TLC.
After a short negotiation, a deal was struck, and Raymond limped to his new home at Famous Four. We put him up on the ramp, fully expecting the ramp to go right through the jacking points, but lo and behold, Raymond held tough. Like Ashford and Simpson, he is solid! However, that is where the tale turns a little sour. It is probably easier for me to tell you what was working, rather than the list of problems, but here goes…