Junkyard Find: 1990 Range Rover Classic

junkyard find 1990 range rover classic

Denver drivers love their luxury SUVs, and European luxury vehicles tend to depreciate in a hurry. This means plenty of Land Rovers show up in the area’s big self-service wrecking yards. While this is good news for the several Coloradans who might be interested in finding a Rover V8 to drop into a homegrown MGB-GT V8, I don’t pay much attention to these trucks. IHC Scouts, sure, and maybe the occasional Jeep Cherokee get into this series, but I have walked right by hundreds of discarded British status-boxes and not paid much attention.

A Range Rover with 266,666 miles on the clock, though, is another story.

Only 400,000 more miles to reach the onramp of the Highway To Hell!

In 1990, having a hardwired analog “car phone” with external antenna was still a big deal, so much so that you could buy phony stick-on antennae. Adding one to roll-up door glass seems like a poor decision, but maybe this one exists solely for attaching Broncos-colors ribbons.

I’m willing to bet that the original purchaser of this $38,575 truck (close to 72 grand in inflation-adjusted 2017 dollars) would sooner have snorted up a line of fire ants than slap a sticker on the front door.

The contrast between gauzy brochure photograph and gritty junkyard reality couldn’t be much greater than this. A young 24 Hours of LeMons founder Jay Lamm went on the Great Divide Expedition press event for the 1990 Range Rover, back when he was a young automotive journalist, and wound up obliterating one in a rollover crash while trying to catch Malcolm Smith on a Rocky Mountain dirt path, but this interesting fact gets no mention in the Great Divide Edition brochure.

Members of this engine family were made for nearly 50 years. Lots of weird plot twists in the Buick 215/Rover V8 story.

“It has established for itself an enviable position in the automotive world.”






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  • E30driver E30driver on Mar 06, 2017

    I owned a '95 from 2013 to 2015 and commuted 45 minutes each way into downtown DC every single day. Last year for the Classic. Never left me stranded, and always started on the first turn of the key! I carefully tracked my mpg, and averaged about 9.5 in my usual commute, but managed to eek out 13 or so on pure highway trips. The HVAC was amazing. But I had my share of electrical gremlins, with frequent trouble with switches working one day but not the next. I would own another in a heartbeat... There is just a very special feeling you get from behind the wheel.

  • Theoldguard Theoldguard on Mar 08, 2017

    My 1990 Range Rover is tied with 1982 Chevy Citation X11 as the worst cars I have ever owned.

    • Ol Shel Ol Shel on Mar 08, 2017

      We had an x-11. Super reliable other than a front wheel bearing or two.

  • DenverMike When was it ever a mystery? The Fairmont maybe, but only the 4-door "Futura" trim, that was distinctively upscale. The Citation and Volare didn't have competing trims, nor was there a base stripper Maxima at the time, if ever, crank windows, vinyl seats, 2-doors, etc. So it wasn't a "massacre", not even in spirit, just different market segments. It could be that the Maxima was intended to compete with those, but everything coming from Japan at the time had to take it up a notch, if not two.Thanks to the Japanese "voluntary" trade restriction, everything had extra options, if not hard loaded. The restriction limited how many vehicles were shipped, not what they retailed at. So Japanese automakers naturally raised the "price" (or stakes) without raising MSRP. What the dealers charged (gouged) was a different story.Realistically, the Maxima was going up against entry luxury sedans (except Cimarron lol), especially Euro/German, same as the Cressida. It definitely worked in Japanese automaker's favor, not to mention inspiring Lexus, Acura and Infiniti.
  • Ronnie Schreiber Hydrocarbon based fuels have become unreliable? More expensive at the moment but I haven't seen any lines gathering around gas stations lately, have you? I'm old enough to remember actual gasoline shortages in 1973 and 1979 (of course, since then there have been many recoverable oil deposits discovered around the world plus the introduction of fracking). Consumers Power is still supplying me with natural gas. I recently went camping and had no problem buying propane.Texas had grid problems last winter because they replaced fossil fueled power plants with wind and solar, which didn't work in the cold weather. That's the definition of unreliable.I'm an "all of the above" guy when it comes to energy: fossil fuels, hydro, wind (where it makes sense), nuclear (including funding for fusion research), and possibly solar.Environmental activists, it seems to me, have no interest in energy diversity. Based on what's happened in Sri Lanka and the push against agriculture in Europe and Canada, I think it's safe to say that some folks want most of us to live like medieval peasants to save the planet for their own private jets.
  • Car65688392 thankyou for the information
  • Car65688392 Thankyou for your valuable information
  • MaintenanceCosts There's no mystery anymore about how the Japanese took over the prestige spot in the US mass market (especially on the west coast) when you realize that this thing was up against the likes of the Fairmont, Citation, and Volaré. A massacre.
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