I have liked cars since I was about two years old. At that time my mother had a blue Plymouth Roadrunner, and my father had a yellow Lotus Europa, just like the ones shown below:
My father wanted to be a race car driver. He wrecked the yellow Lotus Europa, and the previous Plymouth Roadrunner, by driving too fast.
Prior to my birth, my father and mother had other Plymouth Roadrunners, and two Jaguars, which they used to talk about, both the good and bad characteristics of the cars they once had. After my father came home from the Korean War, and was a college student in his mid-20s, one of the ways that he made money was transporting illegal alcohol in his Plymouth Roadrunner, bootlegging. Bootlegging in the South, was the origin of NASCAR and stock car racing.
When I was growing up, my parents owned several Plymouth Furys, a Jensen Healey, a Fiat, an Audi, and a couple more Jaguars. When I was a kid, my father, my sister, and I would look at AutoTrader classified magazines to see the exotic cars that they had for sale in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, and Jacksonville: Rolls Royce, Aston Martin, Maserati, Lamborghini, Ferrari, Mercedes, Porsche, Audi, BMW, Lotus, and Jaguar.
When I was in high school, an anonymous person sent a subscription to the DuPont Registry magazine to our house every year, which was a color magazine of exotic cars for sale throughout the United States. I think that it was the daughter of the person who owned the Ford, Chevrolet, Jeep, Toyota, Mercedes, Porsche dealerships in our area. She was in some of my classes, I liked her, and she liked me, but she was much taller than me, and much more mature.
When it became time for my sister to learn to drive and get a car, she was four years older than me, she wanted an E-type Jaguar. She test drove a couple of Jaguar XKEs with me and my father, but she couldn’t drive them, they were too hard for her to shift.
My father bought her a white Porsche 914, but she never drove it, she couldn’t drive it, it was too hard for her to shift. It wasn’t until my sister was in her 30s, that she had driven enough standard transmission cars to where she could shift O.K. Now she has a Porsche 911 Turbo, one of the fastest and most dangerous fast cars to drive, and I think she also has a Porsche Boxster.
Below are shown a Jaguar XKE, a Porsche 914, and a Porsche 911 Turbo:
I used to like to ride in the Porsche 914 very much when my father drove it, but like I said, my sister couldn’t drive it, and it got sold before I turned fifteen. My parents didn’t know what kind of car they should get me when I was sixteen. My father wasn’t driving his white 1978 Jaguar XJ6L at the time, partly because the air-conditioning was broken, so I took it, and it became mine. Shown below a 1978 Jaguar XJ6L:
When I was 36 years old, I bought my 2nd 1978 Jaguar XJ6L, which I still have to this day. Below is a picture of my 1978 Jaguar XJ6L:
There are many vehicles that I like, from the time when I was growing up. Here is my 1978 Mercedes 300D:
Over there in the corner is my guards red 1977 Porsche 924:
I had to sell my guards red modified 1967 Porsche 911 S in 2013:
As I explained in a previous blog post, collector cars or hobby cars can be like a piggy bank. On the one hand, they are something that you can use and enjoy, and when you need money, you can sell one of them, just like breaking a piggy bank. On the other hand, they aren’t a very good piggy bank if you keep having to spend money on them and they aren’t worth anything.
Two weeks ago, my father who is 83 years old, he sold his 2000 forest green Porsche 911 Carrera. I had thought that he might give this car to me one day, but either he thought that I could not afford it, I had no where to get it worked on in Dickinson, I had no where to keep it in Dickinson, it would get vandalized in Dickinson, it was not practical in Dickinson, I would soon lose my driver’s license in Dickinson, or it would cause bad feelings with my sister and her husband who might have wanted it.
Below is my father’s 2000 Porsche 911 Carrera that he just sold:
My father was probably right not to give me this 911 Carrera, I could not have afforded it, I had no where to keep it in Dickinson, it would have gotten vandalized in Dickinson, it would have gotten damaged by hail which is very common in North Dakota, it would get damaged if I drove it in the winter in North Dakota, and the Police in Dickinson would have ticketed me so much that my license would be suspended in a matter of days.
Since leaving my home in Idaho in 2011, to work in North Dakota, Utah, and Texas, I have seen that I have hardly ever been home in the past seven years to drive the cars that I have there. I have thought about bringing one or two of them over to North Dakota to have something to work on and enjoy while I am here, but the cars would be impractical in the winter in North Dakota, and I don’t have anywhere to keep them.
What I have also seen and learned, is that I would have been better off, instead of buying any of the cars that I have, to have taken that same amount of money each time, and have instead bought a four-wheel-drive Toyota truck. Instead of having a Mercedes, Jaguar, or Porsche, which are impractical in the winter and not very useful, I would have been better off having three Toyota trucks which I could have driven in the winter. Toyota trucks hold their value, are very reliable, and are very inexpensive to maintain.
I wrote all of this background information above, to try to describe my history and my interest in cars. In my teen age years, I liked Audis very much, but by the end of my teens, I realized that they were too delicate and impractical at that time, the late 1980s.
When I was in my mid twenties and working as an engineer in Tampa, I had some interest in the large Mercedes S Class, the large four door Mercedes cars built in the mid to late 1980s. These cars were very well built, very solid, very heavy, very fast, very luxurious, and very beautiful. There was a time in the United States, from about 1965 to 1990, when every young engineer, architect, lawyer, doctor, and dentist dreamed of buying and owning their first Mercedes automobile.
But as the 1990s were entered, the Mercedes automobile company switched from being mechanical perfectionists, to begin trying to attempt to accomplish the same things or advance further technologically by using electronic and computerized components, which I believe has been a disaster for Mercedes. Soon, Toyota Camry quality and reliability was better than a Mercedes. Lexus, Acura, and Infinity became better cars than Mercedes in the 1990s.
In my late 20s, I found that one of the best ways to know what cars were like, was to be observant, and to ask car owners what their cars were like. There was an engineer who I worked with, who was about twenty-five years older than me, who I talked to a lot about cars, especially Mercedes, because he was an expert on Mercedes. From 1965 through 1990, whenever you were buying a used Mercedes, you always asked to see “the book”.
Mercedes owners in the past, kept a log book of service, maintenance, and repairs performed, that was stamped by the Mercedes dealer each time work was done to the vehicle. These log books were treated as seriously as airplane log books. Just like an airplane can lose 20% to 40% of its value if its log books are missing, because there is no proof that required maintenance was done, or they are missing due to an attempt to hide mechanical problems, it was treated the same way if a Mercedes automobile was missing its “book”.
Through the years, I have had friends, co-workers, and other engineers who I have talked to about cars. Some of my beliefs have stayed the same for the past twenty-five years, such as the 1970s through early 1980s Mercedes 240D and 300D being the best cars ever built. These are 2.4 liter and 3.0 liter, 4 cylinder and 5 cylinder diesel engine cars that last for a million miles even under hard use in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and South America.
Some of my beliefs have changed. After owning two 1980s base model Jeep Cherokees, and driving several company owned 1990s base model Jeep Cherokees, (not the Grand Cherokees), in my late twenties and early thirties, I was convinced that these were cheap vehicles that didn’t last long, because it seemed like they all needed a new alternator, radiator, or water pump. But as time passed and I got older, I realized that was all these 1980s and 1990s base model Jeep Cherokees ever needed, nothing else seemed to ever go wrong with them! That’s not bad, only having to replace an alternator, radiator, or a water pump.
As I grew older, I became even more interested to hear what people had to say about vehicles that they had owned for a long time, and I would ask people when I got the chance. At gas stations around the U.S., when I would ask Mercedes 300D owners, or Toyota 4Runner owners about their vehicles, they would not hesitate to say how happy and pleased they were with them.
Another vehicle that lasts a surprisingly long time, are 1980s and 1990s Ford Crown Victorias. Law Enforcement, government, and taxi services used hundreds of thousands of Ford Crown Victorias. After Law Enforcement or government agencies put 200,000 miles on Crown Victorias, they would go to public auction for sale. Taxi companies would then buy them at auctions and put another 200,000 to 300,000 miles on them.
Here is a 1998 Ford Crown Victoria:
Here in North Dakota, when I became bored because there is not a lot to do, I would look at Bis-Man online classified ads for cars for sale. I would look under the manufacturers like Porsche, Mercedes, Jaguar, Range Rover, and Toyota. I haven’t mentioned Range Rover yet in this blog post, but I have an interest in Range Rovers, they are cousins to Jaguar, because they were once under the same parent company called British Leyland Motors.
I wrote a long blog post about working on my 1978 Jaguar XJ6L, all the peculiar problems that it had, and I know that Range Rovers and Land Rovers, being cousins to Jaguar, have their own special problems, that will cause these vehicles to break down at the worst possible time and place, like the busiest intersection in your city, the most remote place you have ever been, or the coldest day of the year.
In 2014 in Dickinson, I saw on Bis-Man online classifieds, a 2004 Land Rover Discovery with 80,000 miles for $4,500, and I saw a 1994 Toyota Landcruiser with 195,000 miles for $4,500. The Land Rover Discovery was 10 years newer, had a custom lift, custom roof rack, and only had 80,000 miles on it. I read about fifty owner reviews on two different internet websites for the Land Rover Discovery. About ten of these reviews, that’s 20%, said “Do Not Buy This Vehicle!”
The biggest warning about the Land Rover Discovery, was that the driveline sometimes has a catastrophic failure due to a U-joint coming apart, which at highway speed causes nearly instantaneous destruction of the transmission and the transfer case. A repair so expensive, that it costs nearly as much as the vehicle is worth. About 80% of the Land Rover Discovery owner reviews, also complained about endless electrical problems with things like window switches.
Here is a 2004 Land Rover Discovery:
I bought the 1994 Toyota Landcruiser for $4,500. I have been very pleased with it, though some buyers would not be. When I bought this vehicle, I was not aware that it was using engine oil or leaking engine oil. Within a few months I found out that the front main seal, and the rear main seal were leaking some oil. Also, this engine has 24 valves, the valve guides wear, and some oil passes through each of the valve guides, which causes the engine to burn some oil.
I don’t care that the engine uses oil, the vehicle has an engine oil level warning light that comes on when you need to add oil. This vehicle is full-time four-wheel-drive, and it has push button differential locks, which locks each wheel into the driveline, with no limited slip of the wheels allowed once the differential is locked. It is very good in snow, here is its picture:
Even though I read many, many bad owner reviews of the Land Rover Discovery, especially the catastrophic failure of the driveline, I continued to do research on them. One of the things that I learned, was that the owners should have been able to tell from the “clunk” sound when putting their Land Rover Discovery in gear, that their drive shaft universal joints needed to be replaced.
On YouTube, I watched and commented on videos about “overlanding” in Australia with Land Rover Discoverys. Several Land Rover Discovery owners assured me that “Discos” as they call them, can be made very reliable and trouble free by understanding them, learning about them, and getting to know them.
In 2014, I saw this white 1991 Range Rover in the parking lot of Arby’s restaurant in Dickinson.
I asked a lady who was working there if this was her Range Rover, and she said that it was. I told her that I liked her vehicle, and that I had liked Range Rovers for a long time. This lady did not want to talk to me at all about her Range Rover.
As months went by in 2014, gradually this lady would talk a little bit more about her Range Rover. In 2015 and 2016, she was used to me asking about her Range Rover. Her daughter was driving it for a while.
In order to clarify things for the reader, as I have had to clarify things for myself by doing some reading, let me explain the difference between the Range Rover and the Land Rover Discovery in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
In the 1980s, the Range Rover, with the box shape, tall windows, and high roof, like the white color one shown in the picture above, this vehicle was very expensive, and affordable only by the very wealthy people in England, South Africa, and the United States. The Queen of England owned one, for instance, this was her personal vehicle that she drove on her estate in Scotland.
This Range Rover of the 1980s, was very solid, very rugged, but luxurious on the inside, with carpeting, and leather seats. These Range Rovers, I believe, were full-time four-wheel-drive, with differential locks, that would not allow limited slip of the drive wheels when the differentials were locked. I believe that I read that the 1986 to 1987 were the best ones to get because of the suspension configuration or the differential lock configuration. This style Range Rover was manufactured from 1970 until 1996.
Here is a 1990 Range Rover:
In 1989 began the production of the Land Rover Discovery, which was slightly more affordable, less expensive, and more marketed toward suburban yuppies. The Land Rover Discovery was a departure from the more solid and rugged looking Range Rover of the 1980s.
To me, I will describe it this way, just like the Mercedes automobile company transitioned from mechanically perfect heavy cars in the 1980s, to electrical and computerized lighter cars in the 1990s which were weaker, the Range Rover being supplanted with the Land Rover Discovery was kind of the same thing, in my opinion.
Now, to confuse you even more, the Land Rover Defender, which was manufactured from 1948 through 2016, is far superior to both the Range Rover and the Land Rover Discovery. Even ten year old used Land Rover Defenders in the United States with 100,000 miles on them, still sell for $70,000 to $100,000. The Land Rover Defenders are the Safari vehicles that you see on television in the national parks of Africa.
Here is a 1990 Land Rover Defender:
In 2015, I saw a forest green color 1980s Range Rover sitting outside of a repair garage in Dickinson for several months in the same spot. I stopped at this garage and went inside to ask if this Range Rover was for sale, and a mechanic told me that this was a customer car. I asked the mechanic about Range Rovers like this one, and he cautioned me that parts were very expensive.
In 2016, I saw another forest green color 1980s Range Rover in Dickinson that was often parked downtown. I asked several people if they knew who owned this vehicle, and someone told me who the owner was. I was looking forward to speaking to the owner of this Range Rover, to ask him about his vehicle, when I saw him.
In 2017, I saw the owner of this forest green color 1980s Range Rover in Dickinson at the grocery store downtown. When I asked him, if I could ask him about his Range Rover, he very rudely said no. In my entire life, and I was 48 at the time, this was the only person who was ever rude to me about me expressing an interest or curiosity about their vehicle. But this is Dickinson, North Dakota, where people are hostile and uncooperative.
I asked a co-worker of this person, if this person was like this all the time, and I was told yes, he is. His co-worker said that he was told, that this person has about eight to ten of these Range Rovers, which I find hard to believe, because I keep an eye out for them. The only 1980s body style Range Rovers that I have seen in Dickinson in the past five years, are two forest green ones, and one white one.
The owner of the white color 1991 Range Rover began working elsewhere in Dickinson in 2017, but I still see her occasionally. This past week when I saw her, she told me that she and her husband are trying to sell this white 1991 Range Rover and a 2nd Range Rover parts vehicle for a total of about $3,500. It is listed for sale on Facebook Classifieds.
I contacted her husband by private message on Facebook, and he replied back that he had already turned down an offer of $2,000. I will wait and see what happens. Here is one more picture of this vehicle that is now for sale in Dickinson:
I am not looking forward to working on any vehicle, especially an expensive foreign made vehicle, where parts are expensive and hard to find. That is why I did not offer very much money. However, for someone who likes to work on vehicles, and who likes the characteristics and appearance of these 1980s Range Rovers, $3,500 with a 2nd parts Range Rover included is a good deal.