Is there really such a thing as a good used Land Rover?
I’m just asking, because the stats seem to suggest that they are less than truly dependable. People keep on buying them, though, because they are so damned charismatic. If you are tempted, here are some off-the-beaten-track suggestions.
Lightweight: The stone-cold coolest and also the lightest Land Rover is, of course, the army-issue one. It could be flat-packed out of a Hercules and then driven into action. It’s a soft-top, too, although some have a Series top. Once at army surplus prices, concours ones are £18,000, but a tidy 1980 petrol is around £12,000. It’s the nearest thing we have to a proper Willys Jeep, far cheaper and better to drive, and it doesn’t need stencilled graphics to make the point that it is special.
Bowler Nemesis: Here’s the mad, bonkers Landie that will get you to and from hell and back at an alarmingly high speed. This is not a sensible slogger of a Land Rover. This is the motorsport one. Those people at Bowler make a proper fastback, two-seat, caged-up and ready-to-tackle-the-Dakar sort of thing. Brand new, they are comfortably six figures, but Bowler will also sell you a 2007 Nemesis in need of some updating yet still state-of-the-art. It is FIA specification, of course, so it’s ready to rally and it will set you back a relatively reasonable £50,000.
Freelander Softback: A controversial choice could be a pocket-sized Freelander, which at the moment is the closest you will get in spirit to a new Defender. An added element of fun would be some Softback style. There is nothing that looks more 1990s, with the added benefit of feeling the sun on the back of your neck. An extra element of risk might just be a petrol that has not blown a head gasket. Watch out for rust, too. It’ll cost £1295 for a 2002 1.8 Serengeti.