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Land Rover Buyers Guide

July 24th, 2010 · No Comments

Are you looking to buy your first Land Rover? Confused by all the different models? Bewildered by conflicting advice from friends, colleagues and ‘experts’? Then read on – I am here to help you choose the vehicle that is right for you.
The first thing to understand is that there are an almost infinite number of variations on the basic Land Rover design. Since 1958 there have been three basic chassis lengths, about half a dozen different engines and dozens of permutations of seating, loadspace and window arrangement to choose from. Thanks to the bolt-together modular construction of Land Rovers, it can often be easier to modify an existing vehicle to suit your requirements than to try and find one which already meets them. That is why, before I even think about showing you any vehicles for sale, I like to understand what you will be asking your Land Rover to do. Towing a horsebox? Camping holidays? Offroad adventures? Carrying two people, or twelve? Long distances, or just local trips? The more information you can give me, the better. There are many myths surrounding Land Rovers, so let’s demolish a few of them at this stage. Myth: Land Rovers are made from aluminium, so they don’t rust.
Truth: Most of the outer body panels on a Land Rover are indeed aluminium. But the vehicle is built on an old-fashioned ladder frame chassis. This is what gives a Land Rover its strength: it is made from mild steel sections welded together, it is given a bare minimum of corrosion protection at the factory, and it rusts very readily indeed. Any vehicle more than ten years old may be suffering from chassis corrosion: the condition of the visible body panels provides no guide to the state of the chassis, and chassis replacement is a very expensive job. (However, it is worth mentioning that most Japanese 4×4s are far more rot-prone than Land Rovers.) The other crucial structural component is the bulkhead – the structure to which the windscreen, dashboard, steering column, doors, bonnet and front wings are bolted. This, like the chassis, is a safety-critical item, and guess what? It’s made from mild steel, and it rusts. Replacing a bulkhead is almost as involved and expensive as chassis replacement.

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