Escape 4x4 stereotypes with this pre-production Range Rover

Built during Land Rover's experimental diesel trials for future Range Rover engines, this rare 1992 200Tdi is going cheap – making it the perfect introduction to classic 4x4 ownership

The Range Rover remains one of culture's most popular cars. Long before Victoria Beckham (supposedly) penned the Evoque’s stylish lines or George Michael ploughed his into a shop front, the first generation of the ultimate 4x4xfar enjoyed 25 years as the transport of royalty and decedent elites.

Except, with a changing attitude to out-and-out excess during the final throws of classic Range Rover production, Blighty’s hefty alloy V8 was more than alienating fuel-conscious clientele. This car was one of the few made between production of the Range Rover Classic and the second generation car, dubbed P38A, to challenge that age-old 4x4 fuel consumption issue.

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Registered by Land Rover in May 1992, believed to be around the time very-early P38 models were consequently under testing, this 200tdi has been looked after despite the lack of an owner’s manual. Boasting pre-production status, this isn’t from the first batch of diesel Range Rovers, but rather from the first round of improvements.

The 200Tdi would find a longer vocation in the freshly-dubbed Defender range, yet to snare in penny-pinchers seeking comfort and off-road ability, the torquey diesel unit was trialed in various Range Rover Classics before refinement was enhanced enough for the dissident conservatives of the world.

While slower and unquestionably louder, the diesel unit could squeeze and extra 12 miles per gallon. The introduction of sophisticated diesel power also set the tone for future models – the P38A employing BMW’s 2.5-litre turbodiesel.

In recent years, the body shell on this pre-production example has been fully rebuilt and acid dipped, and is entirely free of rust. To make sure it’s in top condition for selling, the chassis has been cleaned, treated and painted.

In fact, work is still taking place on the car, with the interior being ‘sorted’ by the vendor, including some fancy new headlining. When sold the car will still have 12 months on its MOT, and is also eligible for exporting to the United States.

The car is left hand drive, suggesting it may have been aimed for export to the American market, and has the incredibly rare 200tdi SE engine under the bonnet . To buy this car, head to our classifieds, where the asking price for special vehicle is £19,750 ($25,370, €22,200).

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