It’s a 90s Thing – Garage Update

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It feels like ages since I did a garage update on here, and that’s mainly because since I went back to for my old company and I bought the Mondeo, there have been no updates to talk about… until now!

If you follow Well Driven on social media (links at the bottom) then you’ll already know what this is about, but I just wanted to give a quick update and talk about what is planned and how it all came about. So to make a start, Nigel, the trusty Mondeo Estate, has gone. Not gone forever, or to the wonderful “scrapheap in the sky”, he has just moved on to a new owner, and as much as I made fun of him, pretended I hated him and generally couldn’t wait to replace him, he is a bit missed. You see last year I racked up about 25,000 miles in the Mondeo and 99% of that was work mileage – trips down to Bristol and up to Manchester mainly – but now I have a new job on my doorstep and I am just not reaping the benefits of a high-mpg returning workhorse, so with that in mind I set off to pass him on and replace him with something a little more “me”.

After an annual service and the realisation that it really was time to start thinking about moving on, I set about looking for a replacement. Top of the list was another Volvo XC70 – a car I loved but only owned for 3 months last time around. I found a perfect (on paper) example about an hour away – metallic green, tan leather, auto, diesel, all the extras including the Sat Nav, read picnic table and sunroof. It looked like it was definitely the one. With that in mind, I grabbed all the paperwork and spare key for the Mondeo and set off to Bedford to hopefully drive back in a new car. Unfortunately, this was clearly not meant to be. The Volvo was dumped at the back of a used car lot, covered in filth and old leaves and once the seller finally got is fired up I knew I had to walk away. I’ve viewed some pretty ropey cars in the past, I’ve even bought some, but this had all the warning signs of being an absolute lemon. Back to the drawing board.

It turns out it’s surprisingly difficult to find a good example of these Swedish adventure wagons for my shoe-string budget, and like that, the dream was over. Or was it? I was having a chat with Well Driven’s resident photo-wizard and podcast co-host, Rick (of Sprite Photography), about the whole scenario and how I was getting so desperate to change from the Mondeo that I was even looking at MORE Mondeos when he piped up with a short and sweet “why don’t you buy my Range Rover”. Something I had mentioned in passing just about every time I had been over to his house was how I wanted to one day buy his old P38 off of him, but I never thought I was actually being serious…

Here it is, still yet to have its first “proper” clean

As I said, I’ve been sniffing around Rick’s P38 for a while but I A) never thought he would sell it, and B) didn’t think it would fit in with my budget or plans. Well, it turns out it fitted in perfectly. After a quick trip over after work and a good chat, we agreed that pending the sale of my Mondeo, I would take the Range Rover off of his hands. Simple, right? Wrong… To hurry the whole process I up and to save me from dreaded tyre-kickers and late-night hagglers, I decided to get a quote from WeBuyAnyCar for the Ford. After some honest box-ticking and the usual sign-up rubbish, I received a quote for what I thought wasn’t a bad amount. Job done, quote accepted and appointment booked for the following Saturday. This gave Rick some time to do a few small bits to the Range Rover before I came to pick it up on the Sunday.

Saturday came around and after a quick run through the car wash, I was ready to say goodbye to what had become quite an emotional connection to the Ford. We headed over to our nearest branch of WBAC and I started to get just a little bit excited about what the rest of the weekend had in store. Unfortunately, WBAC had other ideas. It turns out that not only is the online quote just a primary offer, but they will also take money off for every tiny paint and bodywork defect on your vehicle regardless of age and mileage. After explaining that the car was 14 years old and had 120k on the clock, the representative assured me the final valuation would be fair and they only take off what they would need to spend to put the car through auction – what a load of nonsense. The final offer came back at just shy of £300 (including the somewhat offensive £49 “admin” fee) and even after I pointed out that this car was never going to see a paint shop or dent repair specialist, the representative said there was nothing more he could do. So with that, I picked up the paperwork and keys and calmly headed toward the door. Bugger. I really didn’t want to drive the car home – mainly because I deliberately only put a tenner of diesel in to get it there, and also because I didn’t want to let Rick down over the P38.

As I walked back to the car, I heard someone exclaim “how much did they offer you for it” – I turned around and there was a man looking around the Mondeo, checking the bodywork etc… I explained how I had received an offer online and then on the day was presented with this far lower offer and he just came straight out with “I’ll buy it from you, I need something to walk the dog with” I was a little hesitant at first, but soon realised he seemed to be legitimate. He had come to see what he could get for his partner’s almost new Golf R and explained that they both had nice new cars and didn’t want to get them ruined by muddy dogs – pretty much exactly what Nigel had been used for for the last 6 months! Right there we agreed on a price and went about arranging for him to come and collect the car and transfer the funds.

Big Nigel, gone – but not forgotten!

The plan was for the man to drive back to his house about 20 minutes away and then later in the early evening get a lift from his partner to come and finalise the sale, so we shook on it and I set off back home. Literally 25 minutes later my phone rang – it was the buyer – “Where have you got to, are you still in the area? Do you want to just meet up now and get it all sorted?” – obviously, I was more than happy to sort this out as quickly as possible so I agreed to meet him in the next supermarket car park, classy – I know.

After what felt like 30 seconds for, but apparently 3 hours to poor Jess who was sat in the supermarket coffee shop worrying that I had been kidnapped or something, the deal was done. No dramas, no issues, just a really friendly chat about all things car-related and a very buyer and seller. I still can’t believe I managed to sell the car in the WBAC carpark and for more money than they were ever going to give me… and what was even better was now I got to tell Rick I was definitely heading over to his the next day!

As most of you know, I love Land Rovers. I always have and I probably always will. They just really do it for me. I love fast cars, and I adore luxury cars, but there is a certain feeling that I get when I look at just about anything with that green oval on the grill. I’ve had 3 Land Rovers of my own, so far. My first was way back when I was still in college and it was a 1.8 petrol Freelander 3-door with a removable roof. The second was actually bought off of my mother and it was a top-spec Freelander 2, which I almost immediately traded in for a Discovery 3. My family has had a fair few other Land Rovers over the years and the 2 that always stick in my mind the most are the 2 Range Rovers. The first being a 1998 P38 2.5 DSE in Epsom Green with black leather which my mother bought way back in the early 2000s. By far one of my all-time favourite Land Rovers – I just loved the shape, the look, the fact that back then I was listening to a lot of Hip-Hop and these would appear in nearly all the videos and lyrics. Unfortunately for me, I was never old enough to drive it back then so I never knew what it was like to drive, so it only seemed fair for me to buy my own now.

A little bit rough around the edges, but definitely ready for more adventures!

So here it is, my 1996 Range Rover 2.5 DSE – as you can see it’s not a standard “Chelsea Tractor” and it’s definitely carrying a few battle scars, but that exactly what I wanted. Having spoken to Rick in great depth about the car and doing a few checks of my own, I could instantly see that it had been looked after properly and that Rick had spent some good time and money on it to keep it in good mechanical condition. Upgrades include new Terra-firma shock absorbers that have given the car roughly a 3″ lift, a new Terra-firma steering damper, massive 265/75/16 General Grabber AT2 tyres, rock sliders, A-bar, LED lightbar and a CB radio. All this is in addition to the usual Range Rover luxuries such as *working* air suspension, full grey leather, automatic gearbox, a low-range gearbox and a load of other goodies. Needless to say, I love it.

The short-term plans are to give it a good once-over inside and out to look out for anything that may become a problem in the future and to make a bit of a shopping list for it and then the longer-term plan is to use it both on and off-road and also look at doing some Overlanding with it and with that hopefully get a roof rack, maybe another light bar and some other bits and bobs. So far it’s been pretty much hassle-free, but I am oh so incredibly aware that this is not an “if something goes wrong” type of car, it’s a “when something goes wrong” car, so I just need to make sure that I keep an eye on everything to lower the chances of any nasty surprises in the future.

I am genuinely really happy with this purchase. I know it’s not a fancy new Ranger Rover, nor is it a proper “classic” one, but it’s the one I’ve wanted for years and even though it’s not the best one out there, it’s the one I like. I’m really looking forward to using it as much as I can, especially on camping trips and off-road days in the coming months and I have no doubt there will be plenty of updates on here and on my social media pages to fill you all in on what I’ve been up to with it.

Wood and leather, it’s good to be back where I belong!

You can follow all my updates on the P38 along with all my other reviews on the below pages:

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