The search continued for several days after the last blog. At various points it refined itself before meandering off into another mixed casserole of ill-defined thinking. The outcome was that despite everything from a Defender to a Unimog - and most things 4WD in between - enjoying its brief moment in the spotlight, I was spending more time spying Land Cruiser Amazons than anything else.
I was on the verge, on the very cusp of buying one. Two weeks later, there's a 60-plate 5.0 Supercharged Range Rover sitting outside my door. Even by my standards, this is difficult to explain.
It was also a Friday, and on the Monday that car had disappeared from the web, but another in similarly splendid green with clear glass was lurking up north. Then followed one of those strange situations that despite being a committed non-sexist I still assume only afflict the male of the species. I dialled the number and convinced myself that if a decent human answered, paid some interest and did a deal, I'd buy a 60-plate Range Rover. If they didn't, I'd forget anything this stupid had ever happened.
Someone from Stratstone Land Rover in Stockton-on-Tees did answer the phone. This would prove costly.
A nice chap called Shaun then described the car and flatly refused to take a bid. He wanted a little under £38,000 and I felt this wasn't too unreasonable for something so lovely and asked to speak to the drug dealer, I mean business manager, to throw some extra finance pain at what was doubtless going to be one of the worst depreciating vehicles I would ever purchase. In for a penny.
Why not an old Classic? I think they're a little fragile for the way I use these types of vehicle, and possibly a bit weak for towing. I had a great time in my recently departed old shed, but time to try something new.
But obviously the bit of man maths I really have to try and explain (acknowledging that I don't think I've fully justified it to myself yet) is why I've thrown a load of rental at a car which will shed value like home hi-fi. Er, I'll give it a go.
4.2-litre supercharged Rangies are readily available in the trade for under £10K. I have heard of, and read about numerous mechanical and electrical issues and can assume that a 120K-mile version would probably cost a few quid to keep running. I know, you might just get lucky, but that wasn't really a risk I wanted to take. Paying £9K, but earning yourself a £5K bill in the first six months isn't my idea of fun.
The initial offering from the Land Rover finance desk was highly amusing: a £13,000 deposit and some hilarious monthly rental based around an APR of 10.9 per cent for three years before a large balloon was due. I asked if we weren't in fact living in the year 1991.
The rate was immediately reduced to 8.9 per cent - which was a little too miraculous for comfort, and after a little shopping around we rounded on 7.9 per cent. The figures still make for fairly tragic reading: £38,336 OTR, £13,000 down and £339.10 per month, £18,252 at the end of the rental.
Firstly, I fully intend to own the thing outright before the term is up - ideally I'd like to have it bought within a year - so the finance situation isn't quite as bad as it first appears. The cost of the vehicle I've already covered leaving, er, the warranty.
The car was bought blind, Stratstones were efficient and helpful - they removed the side-steps which I thought spoiled the lines, and the car was delivered south the following week.
Needless to say, I love it.
These late L322s with the supercharged petrol motor really were Bentleys on stilts. The ride is superb, the performance is on another level to the 4.4 V8, 2003-plate car we had years ago, and it feels way stronger than the 4.2 Supercharged we had in 2007. The specification is perfect, the cabin doesn't have a single squeak and pretty much everything is covered in leather or wood. This is my approximation of what a Range Rover should be - effortless, burbling, comfortable and overwhelmingly charming.
An unscheduled dash to Oxford yesterday saw it average 14mpg at a fast cruise, which is mostly tragic, but then I really don't intend on doing more than 5,000 miles a year in it, so a TDV8 just isn't worth it. And as I've said, for me a Range Rover should be petrol powered.
The next job is to find some tyres to use in the mud and snow and a spray can to sort that dreadful chrome front grille and lower chin strap. Wonder if there's a potential business in de-chavving Range Rovers and Discoveries? We could call it Dignity. The previous owner took the tow hook with them, so I need one of those, and for lobbing the mountain bike in the back I'll get some boot liners/covers.
Here's looking forward to winter with my heated steering wheel.
Car: 2010 Range Rover 5.0 Supercharged Autobiography
Run by: Chris Harris
Bought: December 2013
Purchase price: £38,000 (before man maths, haggling and finance...)
Last month at a glance: 14mpg on the first proper run but nice warm hands courtesy of the heated steering wheel