kilometer magazine

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Introducing The English Patient

posted by on 8 October 2009 in Project

When Managing Editor Joslin first talked of picking up a Land Rover project some time back, it was a sure bet that one would eventually show up in our parking lot. But even he is a bit surprised at the circumstances surrounding the arrival of the green 2001 Discovery now gathering rainspots and bird droppings behind the KM garage. Sometimes a man goes looking for a project, and sometimes the project seeks out the man.

Bryan’s long-time desire for a utility-duty Rover was realized through a friend-of-a-friend’s misfortune. That fellow had been nursing a small coolant leak on his wife’s daily driver for some time, but had maybe forgotten to keep a real close eye on it. The Disco eventually passed out from dehydration somewhere along I-88 in Chicago’s western suburbs. A shop later confirmed that none of the cylinders had compression and recommended a new engine. The then owners weren’t interested in that investment, opening the door for Bryan to show up with a trailer and a handful of cash. Whether he got a screaming deal or a big cash-hungry monster has yet to be determined.

The hope, based on our first analysis, is that the Discovery’s own self-destruct sequence may have actually benefitted its resurrection. It appears that both a coolant line and a fuel line, both made of a semi-rigid polypropylene material, melted from the heat and — get this — cauterized themselves shut instantly. Could this have happened early enough to prevent any serious cracking or warping of vital parts? Bryan isn’t so sure he wants to investigate that matter, and is keeping one eye focused on finding a cheap used engine.

It’s a pretty decent Landie, other than the whole not running thing. A very sportsman-like green with a few minor dings and scratches and just one little rust spot on the right-rear door. The truck doesn’t have many frills, with tan vinyl instead of leather on the inside, which is probably a good thing at this point. Still, I think we were all just as disappointed as Bryan that it has no sunroofs and none of the adventurer parts — ladders, brush bars, and so on. The additional kit would have made the deal that much sweeter, and a fully outfitted Disco would make a pretty perfect photography vehicle for Kilometer Magazine‘s use.

If you know Bryan as we do, however, you know that the first thing on his mind isn’t getting the car running, but rather how he plans to redecorate the interior. His last project, a red E30 BMW 318is, was reupholstered by hand (his own) in VW’s Interlagos GTI cloth. The Land Rover’s destiny is unclear still, but words like “Ultrasuede” and “custom storage” are being thrown around already. The stock headliner is starting to sag slightly, so we’re all betting that repairing that will be the spark that ignites the full overhaul project. As for the exterior, we’re all wondering what Bryan will do, but after watching him suffer through a home respray of his last car we seriously doubt he’ll be up for much more than a good buffing and some touchup.

Now that the genesis of project Land Rover has been recorded in history, it’s time to begin the work, just as soon as Bryan decides what to do about that useless heap of metal under the hood. Honestly, we’re hoping Bryan does buy a new engine — we could really use a new break room coffee table made from a polished V-8 block.

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