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1989 Range Rover 2-door Diesel

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1989 Range Rover 2-door Diesel


The Range Rover Classic is one of the Top Three Most Influential Cars of the 20th Century; the initial concept of a high-performance car that was as capable on the road as off it was so right – and so far ahead of its time - that it has spawned (and spawned is the word in the case of the Bentley Bentayga et al) every upmarket SUV, crossover and four-wheel-drive estate car designed ever since.

But, despite its importance – it has been displayed in the Museum of Modern Art and the Musée du Louvre, amongst others - few could have predicted its recent meteoric rise in value: it has gone from an unloved MOT-failure and bobtail candidate to a genuine alternative to a new SUV (have you seen how much JLR is asking for a Range Rover Reborn?) for the well-heeled in less than half a decade.

The Range Rover’s largely aluminium body’s corrosion resistance is somewhat compromised by the steel framework and ladder chassis it sits upon. That said, the 3.5-litre petrol V8 engine is largely bulletproof and both the manual and automatic gearboxes are capable of withstanding a huge amount of abuse with only rudimentary maintenance.

Solid axles front and rear locate coil-spring suspension, giving massive wheel articulation, something that accounts for a large part of the Range Rover’s off-road prowess. Full-time four-wheel-drive (none of your lily-livered all-wheel-drive here…) gives huge traction on snow and ice, and the centre differential can be locked when you need to split the torque equally between the axles in more challenging circumstances.

High-speed stability and handling is peerless for a vehicle of this size, which made it the ideal platform for both the police and special forces; the comfort and decadence it offered made it a firm favourite with the Royal Family and other well-heeled country folk; and its simplicity meant that it could be kept running using only third world tools and facilities where necessary.

Now a bona fide classic capable of wafting you to your weekend cottage or your London pied-à-terre, your biggest concern when buying one should be rust and corrosion, which makes our next auction listing the ideal car for the novice dipping their toe into the shark-infested waters of Range Rover Classic ownership…


The Vehicle

A 1989 Range Rover Classic with only 28,000kms on the clock is desirable enough, but when you factor in a current French contrôle technique certificate until June 2022, just the two doors, and the 2.4-litre VM diesel engine under the bonnet then you start to see the appeal of this French-registered example.

Found in a barn near Marseille after being stored there for about 10 years, this left-hand-drive example starts well and is largely original. More importantly, that warm climate and its salt-free roads have preserved the underpinnings fairly well, even if the harsh summer sun has taken its toll on the paintwork and interior fabrics.

In need of some TLC, this Alpine White Range Rover Classic is being offered with no reserve, so it’s going to sell from the very first bid!

On the Outside

First, the good news: The Alpine White coachwork looks good from a distance and is largely rot-free courtesy of salt-free winters and a decade of dry storage.

The shutlines are typically Range Rover, so while they aren’t especially tight they’re consistent and even and the white paintwork is decent enough for you to be able to live with it while you save the money you are going to need to fund the inevitable respray.

(That said, white is the easiest colour of them all to match, so if you have ever fancied learning to paint a car yourself, this would be a great place to start…)

And it will need a respray because every panel has deep scratches, dents and dinks, or bubbling – or a combination thereof. The roof is wibbly too, which isn’t something we see every day and there’s a wonderful interplay between gaffer tape and a carbon fibre wrap on the nearside C-pillar.

All-in-all, while it might have a low mileage but by hell it’s seen some hard work, or ridden hard and put away wet, as our friends across the Atlantic might put it.

The steel wheels could do with a fresh coat of paint, as could the towbar. Tyres are all new Michelins, put there to ease its passage through the contrôle technique. (Not that they needed to be Michelin to pass, of course; not even the French are that protective of their tyre industry…)

As we will never tire of explaining, our experience shows that matching high-quality tyres are an infallible sign of a caring and mechanically sympathetic owner who is prepared to spend the appropriate amount in maintaining their car properly. Their presence does not, of course, preclude the need for a thorough inspection - something the vendor would welcome, by the way – but it does perhaps give you a shortcut into their attitude towards maintenance.

Problems? Well, while the majority of the vehicle is free of rot and corrosion, both the nearside and offside doors have dropped, which leads us to conclude that it may well have rusted through at the base of the A-pillars. The base of the offside B-pillar looks a bit crumbly too.

Both rear lights lenses are cracked and broken, but the glazing is all good.

On the Inside

The ‘Teddy Bear’ cloth interior isn’t great either because it, like the paint, has suffered a little in the bright French sun. There’s more gaffer tape on the rear seat but while the headlining is grubby, it doesn’t look to be in bad shape.

So, while most of the underpinnings are in good shape, you will eventually want to get it all retrimmed with new cloth and vinyl, not least because everything else in there is so good that it would be worth investing a few pounds to return it to its former glory.

Plus, as a mid-lifecycle car, it features the two-spoke steering wheel and plenty of hard plastics; coming from a time that pre-dates the sort of trying-a-bit-too-hard luxury of the later models, what luxury and comfort it offers was engineered in rather than bolted on. (That’s a compliment, by the way.)

This means that living with it when you’ve finished titivating it would be easy – and if you like flying under the radar, its analogue nature and lack of sat-nav, GPS or black box means you could cock a snook at the nanny state and its constant interference and surveillance.

Faults? Well, the door locks don’t work, and the manual window winders have a tendency to skip teeth, which is sub-optimal. The instrument binnacle is shabby too, and the shabby boot is accessed via a bootlid that struggles to stay up due to weak struts.


The 2.4-litre Italian VM diesel engine runs nicely, even if the battery needs a helping hand in this chilly winter weather. Once fired up it runs well and steers, stops, and reverses as it should. That said, it arrived on a trailer and a prudent buyer would budget for it to leave here on one too.

History Highlights

While it does have a French CT certificate that is valid until June 2022 - they last for two years, in case you were wondering if that is a typo - it doesn’t have a current UK MOT certificate.

Sadly, as is so often the case with cars imported from other countries, it doesn’t have any service or other historical paperwork either.

If you’d like to inspect the car prior to placing a bid – something we would encourage – then please use the Contact Seller button to arrange an appointment.

What We Think

There’s just something about a two-door Range Rover, isn’t there? And when it’s finished in easy care Alpine White, you can add easy maintenance to the vehicle many other virtues.

Economical and reliable, some (admittedly comprehensive) fettling would see you the owner of a strong and capable four-wheel-drive vehicle that has almost certainly finished depreciating – and while it might not be one of the sought after ‘Suffix’ models, it is more modern, so #swingsandroundabouts, eh?

It’ll be cheaper than one of the earlier cars, too. With a guide price of somewhere between £5,000 and £8,000, the vendor is sufficiently confident in the quality of her Range Rover to offer it with no reserve, so it’s going to sell from the very first bid.

With the coming Winter of Discontent, owning a British four-wheel-drive icon makes sense on a number of levels, no least the fact that it’ll give you an excuse to cosy up in the garage with the new love of your life as you coax it back to health.

And, once restored, you’ll be behind the wheel of something fabulous that’ll cheer you up - and keep you mobile no matter what the world throws at you.

Viewing is always encouraged, and this particular car is located with us at The Market HQ near Abingdon; to arrange an appointment please use the Contact Seller button at the top of the listing. Feel free to ask any questions or make observations in the comments section below, or try our ‘Frequently Asked Questions’.

If needed, please remember we have a network of trusted suppliers we work with regularly and can recommend: Classic & Sportscar Finance for purchase-financing, Footman James for classic car insurance, Classic Concierge for storing your car plus we have a list of contacts who can help with transport and shipping.  

BORING, but IMPORTANT: Please note that whilst we at The Market always aim to offer the most descriptive and transparent auction listings available, we cannot claim they are perfect analyses of any of the vehicles for sale. We offer far greater opportunity for bidders to view, or arrange inspections for each vehicle thoroughly prior to bidding than traditional auctions, and we never stop encouraging bidders to take advantage of this. We do take a good look at the vehicles delivered to our premises for sale, but this only results in our unbiased personal observations, not those of a qualified inspector or other professional, or the result of a long test drive.

Also, localised paint repairs are common with collectable and classic cars and if they have been professionally carried out then they may be impossible to detect, even if we see the car in person. So, unless we state otherwise, please assume that any vehicle could have had remedial bodywork at some point in its life.

Additionally, please note that most of the videos on our site have been recorded using simple cameras which often result in 'average' sound quality; in particular, engines and exhausts notes can sound a little different to how they are in reality.

Please note that this is sold as seen and that, as is normal for used goods bought at auction, return policy does not apply. See our FAQs for more info, and feel free to inspect any vehicle as much as you wish.

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  • Location: Abingdon, Oxfordshire
  • Odometer Reading: 27,000km
  • Chassis Number: SALLHABE8FA373247
  • Gearbox: Manual
  • Colour: White
  • Interior: Tan Cloth

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