I've owned almost too many Land Rovers to count over the years including Range Rover Classics—both SWB and LWB—a Discovery I, a couple of Discovery II's, LR3's, a Defender 90 and 110, Range Rover P38's and even a couple of MKIII big body Range Rover's. A little over a year ago, I got completely fed up with Land Rovers and upon reflection, it was mainly because I loved the older trucks of yesteryear. 1998 and before was my cup of tea.
This infatuation with older trucks, came with some challenges to say the least, which really come with any older vehicle, but with a Land Rover, (if you've had as many as I have), you know what the most susceptible items are that might fail and leave you stranded.
I had moved to an AEV Jeep Wrangler primarily because I wanted an "easy-button" and wanted to "change it up" a bit. I loved the jeep, but we have a South African off-road camper (Conqueror Commander) which was truly pushing the upper limits of the Jeeps towing capacity. On our last trip, we were in low range trying to get out of a rainy and muddy uphill terrain, and we had the transmission light come on, so we were forced to wait for the tranny to cool down 3 times in that 20 mile stretch of up-hill slippery exit. Additionally, because we like to camp in the remote areas of the Appalachian and Smokey Mountains, traveling to and from our destinations on I-40 East through the mountains was at best a "white knuckle" experience. The Jeep has a relatively small towing capacity of 3500lbs. and my trailer was pushing 3200lbs...dry. Once loaded with gear, water, firewood, propane, jerry cans, and kids in the truck, ... I was beyond pushing the safety standards.
Those of you who "bleed green" know that the bond with your Land Rover it can be a difficult one to break. Back this past December 2012, someone sent me a picture of a "built" 2009 LR3 that was for sale out in the Rockies and stated: "this would be perfect for pulling your trailer!"
Well, I was drawn like a moth to the flame over this truck!
The story was that this 2009 LR3 had been a lease truck for a fly-fishing expedition company in Colorado, and because it had been used for this purpose, it did have some areas of forgiveness, but this actually appealed to me. I have a challenge with "getting that first scratch" and the job was already done for me with this truck. That said, the truck was in fantastic shape with on 30K miles on it and was built almost exactly as I would personally build an LR3.
Well, getting the truck was not as easy as "just buying it". I had a truck to sell that I was not willing to take a beating on, and this LR3 was 800 miles away and I would be buying it only based on photos. Because it was Christmas week when I first called on this truck there was some confusion with the dealership I was dealing with, and the truck got sold to a broker and then on to another dealership. It took me a week just to track the truck down again. Well, of course with that move, there was a price increase, but things happen for a reason. During this time, I found a buyer for my AEV Jeep, which allowed me to move forward with the purchase of this truck.
The truck arrived though my local dealer, Land Rover Nashville. They were great to work with on this purchase and I am happy to report that the truck is everything it was promised to be. An important thing to note—many times purchasing a "built" truck is the best way to go. The time, money and energy you save can be substantial. There was no way I could have purchased this same 2009 LR3 LUX/HD with no kit and built it to the specs for the money I purchased her for.
Yes, there is evidence of some trail rash on this truck, but that works in my favor, as it allows me to go ahead and take the truck out without the fears of being the "first" to mark the truck.
Specs on the truck:
2009 Land Rover LR3, Galway Green, fitted with HSE/Lux and HD package (rear locking differential)
- Front Skid Plate
- Johnson Roads
- BF Goodrich All Terrains 265/65 R18 Tires on Land Rover 18" Wheels
- ARB Front Bumper
- 9.0 Superwinch with Viking Orange Synthetic Winch Line and thimble
- Hella 4000's Front bumper with city lights and stone guards
- Land Rover Expedition Rack with 4 IPF overhead lights wired to the overhead switch panel in the truck
- Rover Specialties Rock Sliders
- Rear Twin Hella Work Light
- Land Rover Rear Ladder
- Kaymar Rear Bumper with swing away tire carrier and secondary swing away for Jerry Can. Includes HiLift Mount on tire carrier
My Additions — added and planned:
- Garmin 468 with Nexrad Weather Radar
- Canvas Seat Covers- Escape Gear
- Land Rover Cargo (Dog) Guard
- Land Rover Rear Lamp Guards
Important to note — with the Land Rover LR3 especially 2007 and after, this truck became more and more reliable. It doesn't suffer many of the reliability challenges of the DI/D2/Range Rover Classic/P38 era of trucks. Additionally, while the LR4 does offer some substantial improvements over the LR3, the LR3 in 'stock form' has been witnessed on the trails performing amazingly against heavily modified Defenders and Jeeps. In the current market, you can find pretty amazing deals on LR3's since the LR4 has become the new "standard."
In the end, there is a huge difference in the "creature comforts" of the LR3 verses the Wrangler 4 door, so getting to and from destinations will be a different experience. Also with a towing capacity of 7016lbs on the LR3, I won't even know my trailer is behind it!
So, for this Expo member whose blood has always run green, this was a perfect "win-win" solution and puts me back in a Land Rover!