I know exactly what the first 50 comments of this Spotted will be: 'Range Rovers break you idiot' and 'It'll cost a fortune to run'. That's fine; please keep going. This just means that those who are brave (or stupid) enough to be interested in a Range Rover can find a tidy example for a tenth of the original price.
Need proof? Take a look at this one. If my maths is correct, this £4,999 example is 10 per cent of what it retailed for in 2002. And this isn't the glacia-slow 3.0 Td6, it's the same 4.4-litre V8 that was used in a contemporary BMW X5. Why do they share the same engine? Well, BMW had a lot of input in the development of the L322 Range Rover (£1 billion as was reported at the time) because they owned Land Rover.
This was until July 2000, when Ford bought Land Rover off BMW and put it amongst its Premier Automotive Group (PAG). BMW needed to sell off the luxury 4x4 maker because they had suffered huge losses during its ownership of Rover. Not that we should scoff too much, since Ford had to do much the same thing after the financial crisis of 2008 brought many American car makers to their knees. Ford managed to survive without a government bailout because it was able to sell off the companies it amassed in the good years.
But, back to the Range Rover, and the L322 to give this car its proper model code. It shared only its name with the previous P38 version, and featured fully independent air suspension, a monocoque construction, brake assist and the ability to switch between high and low-range gears on the move. It was a technological tour de force.
Many journalists described it as being light years ahead of its previous incarnation, finally fulfilling the promise of being the best luxury 4x4 by far. The interior was a mix of wood, metal and leather and it looked suitably opulent. Particularly when the interior incorporates lighter colours - as it does in this particular example. The ride quality was the envy of anything just shy of a Rolls Royce, and while the steering was rather light and lacking in feedback, it was a deft touch to park in town - where most Range Rovers reside.
Now, I am not going to tell you that Range Rover ownership will be trouble free, because it won't. It was a complicated, expensive vehicle; it's now a complicated, affordable vehicle. When things inevitably do go wrong, they'll be expensive to rectify. I imagine that the clamshell bonnet of this car is there not just to give you a clear view of where the front corners of the car are, but also offer a great leaning post for L322 owners to share breakdown stories whilst out on a country shoot or polo event.
So, why buy this Range Rover? At less than £5,000, it's a huge amount of car for the money. The design looks just as good today as it did the day it rolled out the showroom, and it still has a huge amount of presence out on the road. This particular one is very tidy both inside and out, indicating that it has been cared for (many of the advisories on past MOTs have been rectified), plus, it hasn't been messed around with: there isn't stick-on chrome gills or door mirror cappings, and the wheels look to be standard. This could be an absolute steal for those willing to take the plunge. Just ignore those first 50 comments...
SPECIFICATION - RANGE ROVER 4.4 V8 HSE
Engine: 4,398cc, V8
Transmission: 5-speed auto, four-wheel drive
Power (hp): 285
Torque (lb ft): 324
First registered: 2002
Recorded mileage: 79,000
Price new: £50,000
Yours for: £4,990
See the original advert here.