Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Range


This is Range. You’re pleased to meet her.

I purchased Range for $3300 from my friends. She’s a 1993 Range Rover with a “Long Wheel Base” and a zillion miles on her. The price was going to be $3000, but then some work was required at the last minute so it got raised to $3300. And, within ten days of purchase, she needed to have her high-pressure hose (the one that conducts the power steering fluid from its reservoir) replaced because it was leaking for $220. So let’s put her price at $3520. If you look at the prices on nada.com this is not a great big steal, but it’s a pretty good price.

I suspect the Nada quote is misleading. I would’ve wound up spending more than that, and then more importantly because Range and I are in love. I like how high she sits: the heads of men in sports cars are literally beneath my knees; I’m looking down on them from the mezzanine. I like how Range drives: the shocks aren’t exactly pillowy, she’s loud and feels powerful and sure, particularly up canyon roads and craggy dirt roads, where the 4WD comes in. I want more of that, more offroading and tracks that require all four wheels.

Range has some heft on her, and the whole “just throw stuff in the back, it’ll fit” is practical and amazing. Bikes, scuba gear, furniture. A lot of freedom and flexibility comes with a big car.

Drawbacks as well, yes. Gas mileage: abysmal. Like 15mpg on the highway. Turning radius: very wide. Parallel parking only in large spaces. I see why people say “I wouldn’t want to have a big car” and sometimes I envy the drivers of zippy little whips.

But none of that matters when you find someone you really connect with. Range and I understand each other. She’s rusty and messy and banged up, but fundamentally sound and well-made. No fussiness or worry: dings and bangs and rust and scuff is already written all over her, so nothing cosmetic is going to change the picture. Her color is “Roman Bronze”, and it is great. It is Roman Bronze. She’s screwy: you have to wait for 30 seconds after turning the engine over to put her in drive. Why? I have no idea why, just wait for those little lights to off and you’re good. Rear hatch doesn’t lock. Rear right side window off its track, only goes up and down “manually” (grab window from both sides, muscle it). Sun roof really needs some WD40, which I can never remember to get.

All I need Range to do is run and be her bangaround rough-and-tumble self. She’s no jalopy – she’s Roman Bronze. And she’s a passport to things that are good things; to camping and mountains and biking and rivers. I’ll post any dramatic updates, but until informed otherwise she’s the one for me.
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