The luxury of a Jaguar. The abilities of a Hummer.
Lake District • Eastern Alps • Home • Blue Rangie • Southern Alps • R.I.P. • Green Rangie • Armament • Southern Alps • R.I.P. • Black Rangie
Always I've liked British cars, along with American ones; alas I haven't been able to afford them for a long long time. Now, though, I could not resist the temptation anymore, and since I needed a car to back up my marvellous, but alas aging Volvos, I selected the very car I have longed for most: the one which handles like a limousine on-road. The one which offers a superb reliability (if maintained well, that is!) and which is as safe as Volvo is – and that's not a little goal. The one which can go through any terrain manageable with other 4x4's – Hummer H1 only aside – and then some. The one whose sheer luxury is in the Jaguar league. The Range Rover.
She's a real beauty, is she not?
With Range Rover, I returned to the very engine God meant should be used in cars, i.e., V8, 4.6 litre: that's how a decent power station should look like (though perhaps five- or six-odd litres would sound better, but all the same: there are poor Rovers which have to do with mere 4 litres under their bonnets!).
Well I have the car for a very short time now, so there's little I can write... but that she's indeed spacious, comfortable, very nice to drive, with only quiet, soft, remote whisper of the V8... ready to turn to roar though, in case you need real power. Just to try the car, for awhile I've played on a field nearby, turning circles over the lane:
I actually did switch the transfer case to low – mainly to test the driving –, but all the time I almost could hear the car asking me: "what for, on earth? This is no terrain, here, no need for low at all"...
There was one problem though: the more I have used the low, the more I was aware that something's wrong: to cut a long story short, it was the transfer chain what was wrong.
It is great to live in Czech Republic – for many reasons. One of them is that the dealers are positive that there are just billionaires here, and adapt their prices accordingly. The transfer box replacement would cost me here about five times (!) the price in the United Kingdom – and thus I made a nice holiday visiting Ashcroft's (they fixed the thing quickly and well, and I do recommend them to anybody who needs a fix or an ARB or anything like that). When in the UK, of course I haven't missed the lovely Lake District! Here's a limey car in her very place – at the Old Man of Coniston:
If you happen to be interested, here's more: as a devoted Arthur Ransome fan I could not, of course, miss those places!
Having the car ready to go anywhere, I did not wait long and went to explore Eastern Alps: not only marvellous mountains, but also place where my country made a pretty successful war – her last one, alas. The first of the following images is at the dry bed of the Piave river:
East or West, Home's the Best
Some nice greenlaning through the local mountains followed, including one to collect our traditional Christmas' mistletoe; two of them got galleries of their own at my pages: Bojov and Tok. Once or twice I wondered whether the car would squeeze into the tight lane; I have also checked whether she swims well ☺
The combination of both on- and off-road abilities and the joy of ride a Range Rover are such that I could not resist buying two of them: the other Rangie joined us, and immediately we got her for a trip around Czech Republic.
Well, back to my original black Rangie! She got an on-board compressed air outlet and some decent lift:
and we again went to Alps, this time the southern part at the Italian/France border: much more off-road there than in the Eastern part, quite nice! And the car got me outta one or two pretty tight places.
Le Roi est mort; vive le Roi!
It is just not possible to stay too long without a Rangie. Therefore, shortly after the sad loss of my black one, I've bought me a new car: again the same trusty P38A, again the same trusty MY1996, again the same trusty 4.6 HSE. I think she likes it here!
Oh, one more thing: the new Rangie prides herself on the noble Vogue Autobiography trim with the gorgeous burlwood and beige leather:
Ubicumque dulce est, ibi et acidum invenies: along with the Vogue trim there are terrible things outside – body couloured bumpers and chrome inlays in the protection side bars. I don't get it at all: those parts are designed to take some rough battering, so what an utterly insane idea is to use chrome or metallic on them?!? Will have to solve that somehow; a thing or two come to the mind ☺
Our armament must be adequate to the needs, but our faith is not primarily in these machines
In preparation to summer expeditions, my green Rangie got a thing or two: a new set of wheels with 30" BF Goodrich AT tyres, the ones famed to be the best compromise between off-road and on-road use. A roof rack: although our first planned tour to Provence probably won't need a roof tent, we'd like to repeat the Southern Alps tour later in the summer. An on-board air outlet and gauge, a heritage of my poor valiant black Rangie. The old girl provided the gray plastic bumpers too, to replace the body coloured nonsense. And, to inspire the Chester Nimitz quotation in the title of this section, I gave the new Rangie some body armament, too:
As clearly visible, the treesliders are inspired by the Brent Wilhelmi ingenious design; it was made considerably stronger though by adding some extra steel wherever needed, so that now it is well possible to raise the car on a hi-lift using the sliders without them bending the slightest bit. As for the protection plate at the front – whose mounting, incidentally, withstands lifting the whole car too –, for the moment we have decided to protect just the fragile steering shafts; the axle itself though should be able to survive. Especially, after long considerations, we have decided not to use extra diff guards: the stock P38a diffs are sturdy enough to bear some beating; if it goes worse than that, there's bound to be a problem with the axle itself most probably too:
Note the Czech Land Rover forum sticker, which got well scratched when my old Rangie, the bumper donour, tried to fly: for the sentimental reasons I intentionally haven't replaced the thing, leaving it in its current state:
Note please also the no-nonsense recovery point, which replaced the stock toy: this one is designed to withstand a serious snatch recovery, if need be.
Oh, and to give credit where the credit's due: the complete armament was made-to-measure by Eliott Land Rovers, in those days just the best Land Rover shop in the Czech Republic – and perhaps in the neighbourhood too (alas meantime the quality went down considerably ... but it's the result what counts, and the result's about perfect!)
Hopefully, there'll be soon more: whilst writing this, I am still waiting for my Arnott GIII's, and for a few other improvement devices...
Southern Alps again
Having liked the Southern Alps, and since we were not able to visit some of their nicest parts – like the Sommelier pass or the Parpaillon tunnel, which both were under heavy snow at 2008 – we returned to the place the following year. It was pretty good... but for the very ending, to which blackest of black lucks I shall get back soon. Well, let's target the better part of the holidays first:
Did you notice those camping chairs? I'm pretty proud of them: I have been able to obtain a pair of true-blue Roorkhee campaign chairs; although manufactured recently, they are the very canvas-brass-and-teak stuff which was used about a century ago in all the remote places over the British Empire – on which the sun never set those days.
... vive le roi!
As I wrote just a year ago, it is just not possible to stay too long without a Rangie. My new car is a pitch black – if the colour can be seen through the mud, of course – 4.6 HSE of MY2000; although it means I have to learn a slightly changed ECUs and the electrical stuff generally (and I have to stomach somewhat lessened power due to utterly nonsense eco-freak regulations), there are also advantages, and not entirely negligible ones at that. The most important one is better and stronger front axle with a traction control; there's also a number of smaller improvements like auto-dimming external mirrors, power outlet in the load-space, considerably better mileage, more reliable brake systems, etc.
Of course, I could never part with the posh beige interior of my late green RR – including the wood wheel, which came from the original dark grey one; thus, the complete interior went to the new beauty. The result combination of beige and black is really something to be seen! Also the armament was transferred to the new car (but for the rear treeslider, which will have to wait for a rear bumper trim as soon as I have some money to spare), and she got pads to increase the track width (and thus the stability).
So far, there was no occasion for more than a quick little trip in the neighbourhood; still, she does not look half bad, does she?
Well, ta ta for now...