By on March 6, 2017

1990 Land Rover Range Rover in Denver wrecking yard, LH front view - ©2017 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

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.

1990 Land Rover Range Rover in Denver wrecking yard, odometer - ©2017 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

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

1990 Land Rover Range Rover in Denver wrecking yard, cellphone antenna - ©2017 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

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.

1990 Land Rover Range Rover in Denver wrecking yard, Broncos door sticker - ©2017 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

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.

1990 Land Rover Range Rover in Denver wrecking yard, engine - ©2017 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

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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33 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1990 Range Rover Classic...”

  • avatar

    What costs more to operate: an F-18 or a a 1990 Range Roger?

  • avatar

    Whoa British bitch with serious mileage.
    90 – first year of the bored-out 3.9 V8.

    This dates back to garden hose was-me-out 70s plastic & vinyl interior.

  • avatar

    There was LR diso for sale near me recently with 350k miles on it. Crazyness. I have a neighbor with two 90’s diso and a 5 series Beemer as his wife’s and his dailys drivers, that must get pricey.

    • 0 avatar
      heavy handle

      A friend drove a Discovery 1 for a dozen years, from new, and reached similar mileage figures. No major issues, and obviously no surface rust.

      LR’s rep took a huge beating with the very last iteration of the Buick V8. By that time the tooling was completely worn-out and cylinder liners would no longer sit still. It was a decent (if thirsty) engine for the first 35 years or so.

      • 0 avatar

        That was the least of the problems, the electronics were designed by the devil.. Lucas.. And well somehow they managed to screw up air ride suspensions.. Which.. Millions of trucks have and work perfectly every day for the last 50 years.. And it wasn’t put together well.. It was like driving a kit car.. Just an amalgam of garbage components

        • 0 avatar

          The fit and finish of this generation Land Rover was so poor you could read the tire inflation sticker on the driver’s door…with the door closed. Still, this one certainly went the distance…

      • 0 avatar

        Honestly first gen Discoveries really were no worse than their contemporaries barring the Land Cruiser. The 94 Pathfinder I bought new was certanily no paragon of Japanese reliability hype.

        • 0 avatar

          The jeep wrangler and cherokee and Grand wagoneer say otherwise.. And grand cherokee in 1993

          • 0 avatar

            Not really. Grand Wagoneer is notorious for having issues especially near the end of it’s run. Overheating, leaking, rusting, to name a few. The tooling on the anemic AMC carbureted V8 was worn out by the end. Not to mention its design was 30 years older than the disco.

            The Cherokee had a solid heart with the 4.0, but attached to it was a 1980s Chrysler product not to mention it was considerably smaller than a disco.

            GCs had their issues and are probably more or less equal to the disco.

          • 0 avatar

            say what? there was nothing Chrysler about the Original XJ Cherokee until the 97 redesign save for some wiring changes and airbag

  • avatar
    spreadsheet monkey

    Sad to see this Range Rover in the junkyard, but 266k miles is no disgrace. In the UK, values of “classic” Range Rovers are stronger, and they rarely end up being junked.

    On our side of the Atlantic, early model Range Rovers have the same status as classic Jeep Grand Wagoneers in the US. Land Rover now offers factory restored classic Range Rovers, for prices well into six figures.

    • 0 avatar

      People in Europe generally appreciate ’90s iron more than we do. Go to and you’ll see a shocking number of U.S. spec E36 M3s for example, because you can buy one here for 12k USD and sell it there for 20k Euros.

  • avatar
    Corey Lewis

    Watch the video, when the woman hops in at the end.

    She has a look on her face as she inserts the key *I hope this starts*, and turns it so carefully.

  • avatar

    I remember when these were new. I saw their display models at the Detroit auto show (don’t think it was called NAIAS then.) The build quality of them was hilariously bad to the point I couldn’t understand how they had the stones to charge the asking prices they were. I’m talking things like the panel gap between the front fender and door being over twice as wide at the top than it was at the bottom, and paint finishes which Earl Scheib could even do a better job.

    • 0 avatar
      Corey Lewis

      The NAIAS moniker was adopted for 1989, and it was the Detroit Auto Show before then. If you went for the debut in 1986 (as ’87 was the first model year here), then you were there at the end of the Detroit Auto Show name.

      (Edited for correctness, thanks Richard Bennett.)

  • avatar

    Whatever else, a noble greenhouse has gone to its grave.

    Pie Jesu domine, dona eis requiem.

  • avatar

    > quarter million miles in a 90s Disco

    Impressive accomplishment!

  • avatar

    266K miles…on a Land Rover? That odo HAD to have been made by Lucas!

  • avatar

    I did see one of these (British racing green) during today’s commute. Not my flavor but some like them. Can’t say nothing about costs of keeping one up (I dismiss anything incapable of averaging 35mpg) but the thing looked good for its age.

  • avatar
    Ol Shel

    Those engines are very light (aluminum block and heads, with only one cam.) They can make decent power, with racing history all the way back to the original Can-Am series.

    They’re not that cheap to mod, though.

  • avatar

    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.

  • avatar

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

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