Member Since: 2000
1999 Range Rover P38, 4.6 HSE (Mad Max Edition)
This truck has been through heck and back and there are rumors it's actually running again. Modifications include rear ARB air locker (or is it front...it's been so long since I've seen the truck I've forgotten...), a Rover Specialties custom air suspension and Rover Specialties rock sliders. Also lots of exciting body damage. The rear sound dampeners were removed from the exhaust system (by the trail) and the truck has straight pipes back from the muffler. This truck suffered an unfortunate run-in with a swamp and the stock motor seized up. A piston rod shot through the aluminum block like a stake through a vampire's heart. A rebuilt replacement engine was purchased from a shifty operation down south who shall remain nameless (but suffice it to say they specialize in "cannibalizing" Rovers). This engine was shipped and installed at the Eden Prairie dealership only to fail within a year. It was rebuilt again and failed again. A second rebuilt engine was installed which also failed. As of this writing, a third replacement block was built and installed under warranty and it is supposedly running well and will be back on the trail soon. The expression, "penny wise, pound foolish" comes to mind...
1985 Land Rover 110
This "grey market" truck was an Ebay find from Texas. Stock 3.5 V-8 with dual carbs and even a choke! I probably paid way too much for it but it's been the coolest vehicle I've owned and the most fun to wheel. Over time I have built it up and it does great on the trail. Modifications it came with include an automatic transmission with a Defender center console, an air conditioner (that I can even use if it's not too hot out!) and a kick-a$$ stereo that was installed by the previous owner, who apparently used it mainly for tailgating. Since I bought it I've installed an upgraded tranny cooler (since the little "toilet brush" style one that was relocated to the inside of the frame under the driver's side door didn't do the trick - oh yeah, I bought a new tranny at that time, too!), hardened axles, mechanical lockers front and rear, HD suspension, 35" tires and a front winch bumper with a Warn 9.5i (and dual batteries with isolator to run it). Currently it is undergoing a power plant upgrade - I am donating the 4.2 from my LWB, which brings me to...
RIP (Rovers I have owned):
1995 Range Rover Classic LWB (Texas Ranger)
This truck came from Texas too, and touted the plates for many years as I lost the title in my mountain of paperwork before I could change it. It has mechanical lockers front and rear and the heart of a rhinoceros. Once I donate the engine to the 110 and sell off some parts, it will retire to the scrap heap, but won't soon be forgotten. Highlights include the time I had to show up Gustaf's buddy and his Rubicon (that he was afraid to wheel) at Gilbert by taking a trail no nearly-stock truck should attempt. I was soon wedged somehow between two giant boulders hard up against the front and rear bumpers! Gustaf made a miraculous recovery by wedging it out sideways with a hi-lift, but I dare anyone to doubt my parallel parking skills!
1983 Range Rover really Classic
Another grey market special, this was a truck that Mike Kermes saw tooling around his neighborhood for years. He would ask the owner once in awhile if he was ready to sell. It was the guy's daily driver and he milked it for all it was worth. He finally agreed to sell it for $750 including the classic Warn winch mounted on front on a homemade steel tube frame with what amounted to a thick steel ramming bar in front. On the way to the picnic the year I bought it, I wheeled it in the woods near a friend's cabin (their own private land!) and the impact of smashing through the woods caused the rusty brake lines to break. I careened downhill through thick woods with a carload of people who had never been wheeling before and who were peacefully drinking by a bonfire only minutes before. We came to rest abruptly against a tree as they shrieked. I left the truck there for the weekend and returned after the picnic (luckily I had the Texas Ranger with as well), pinching the rear brake lines with a vice grips so I had two wheel brakes. That braking power was sufficient until it came time to try to stop on the ice at the Ice Event during a way-too-fast approach to the parking area. Dan K. filmed as I slid into his nice Disco, taking out the back bumper. He pretty much had me red-handed...the video was damning even if the 20 or so witnesses would have had a sudden memory lapse on my behalf. I soon killed that truck and it did a year or two in my backyard as a planter box. Bret D. bravely tried to restore it but gave up after merely storing it. I think Pad H. is currently carrying on the curse of the LR boat anchor.
I am a freelance producer based in the twin cities. I work mostly in film and video (and occasionally still photography) or directly for ad agencies as an agency producer. I bought my first Rover (the '99 Rangie) as the ultimate winter car - I never really wanted an SUV but living in Minnesota I figured if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. So I got what I heard was the best, with very little knowledge of the Land Rover lore. I tried to screw around with it myself, busting air bags on the stock air suspension and riding on the bump stops, killing tires and rims, but doing little major damage.
Then I heard about the club and got interested. My first real wheeling experience was totally stock at Dresser, WI, where the truck did well and I got hooked. Next thing you know I was off on the club trip to Moab! The only upgrades were better tires and a skid plate for the front steering. Again, with the help of my new friends and Bill Burke, I did incredibly well and had a ball - one of the best trips of my life. Then I was really hooked, and proceeded to come home to the Minnesota mud, sand, logs and trees and basically beat the crap out of a pristine truck. But I learned as I went and made some lifelong friends in the process...
Now I live with my fiancee, Manda, and our quickly growing boys, Micah and Jude. (And of course Lulu the Extreme pug/terrier, who enjoys flying ultra-lights and riding motorcycles, as well as wheeling in the woods.) Manda enjoys wheeling somewhat and is very tolerant of my love of it, Micah is still a little cautious (which is his nature) but loves getting out on the trail and seeing his friends, Jake, Nick, Hannah, Eva, Nora, Dane, etc...
The Minnesota Land Rovers is a club with a diverse, interesting, fun and intelligent membership. The friendship and camaraderie is worth the price of admission; the lessons you can learn about wheeling, auto repair, architecture, hunting, fly fishing, web design, carpentry, environmental concerns, politics, etc., etc....well, that's the icing on the cake.