The hook arrived the following day, I spent a while fiddling with it, managed to mate male and female parts, secured the Brian James electrics and went off to do some towing. I thoroughly enjoy occasional towing, much as I do occasional van driving - in small doses they both mark an escape from the norm and that makes me smile. The concentration, the thrill of doing something unfamiliar to the best of one's abilities. The threat of public shame if you don't - or if your abilities are a bit rubbish.
The purpose of this trip was to do something about the Series One Land Rover that has been rotting under my stewardship these past four years. It was bought with the intention of underpinning with a new chassis and then bumbling around lanes and collecting wood, but my old 2CV now covers the first role and I've not done much wooding of late so haven't really needed a flat-bed. With a bent rally car (more on that soon, and another silly project on-the-go; I don't really have the appetite right now, so I wanted to discover if this thing might be easily fixed, or if I should simply offload it).
Next stop, eBay. Here I looked for similar 107-inch models and my heart sank a little. The chassis and mechanical work needed would surely cost more than the end value - not an insurmountable issue, but hardly information that persuades you to persevere when the decision is marginal. And then I saw it - a small advert telling of expertise in these matters near Bristol. I phoned and messaged, he replied; four hours later I was outside his house asking questions. He was called Nick Davey. Nice chap. Knows his Landies.
"How much to do the chassis?"
"Probably three grand because it's a Series One"
"What about a clutch and the other stuff?"
"Can price a clutch, but the rest you just have to wait and see."
"Two hundred quid" he proffered, with just the faintest suggestion that he might be concerned by my reaction.
"Done!" I beamed, heartily shaking his hand. After all, what's a £700 loss in the context of an audience with such sublime valuation skills?
The beauty of towing with a supercharged V8 petrol Range Rover is that you don't have to wait long to spend the £200 reward - ten minutes later I was fleeced of another £120 for a tank of unleaded and headed home with £80 to show for my adventure.
Minus a trailer, I really do adore pottering about in this truck. It scorches away from the lights if you need such histrionics, but at this time of year I tend to just waft around listening to the cricket. It worries me that the UK has completely abandoned the traditional estate car for these behemoths, but when you're tooling around in one it's so hard to deny the appeal of V8, the view from up-high, the gorgeous cabin and the odd scrabble off-road. Hypocrisy rules.
But the sheer charm of this 322 will continue to shine through regardless of the outcome. I love the styling, the discreet performance, the ride comfort, the beautiful caramel leather, the effortless towing, the integrated dog-tether and the fact that, unlike the new 405 series machine, it looks just like a Range Rover should.
I shall report back on the rust. I still cannot believe that it hasn't depreciated a bean. And, since you will all ask, about 13mpg.
Car: 2010 Range Rover 5.0 Supercharged Autobiography
Run by: Chris Harris
Bought: December 2013
Mileage: Less than 25,000
Purchase price: £38,000 (before man maths, haggling and finance...)
Last month at a glance: The Range Rover finally does some towing. Of another Harris Land Rover.