Never This Nice: 1983 Range Rover

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For years, it seemed you couldn’t give away a first-generation Range Rover, especially the loaded-up higher trim levels that were massive depreciation machines given their high costs of upkeep. Over the last few years, however, the earlier models with their simpler interiors and more basic equipment levels have been enjoying a steady rise in price, and examples like this European-market spec model here on craigslist are commanding top dollar.

This one even goes a step further in the desirable features index, as it comes with a rare manual transmission. It has all the hallmarks of having recently been imported solely for the purpose of flipping to an American buyer who doesn’t want to deal with the hassle of transporting an overseas purchase stateside. This one also comes with gorgeous “Vogue Blue Metallic” paint, which looks perfect in a modern setting given how many manufacturers are offering some shade of Easter egg blue.

The interior is immaculate, and looks positively spartan compared to modern Rover interiors. I suppose these are finding favor with enthusiasts because of the fact that these were the last “simple” Rovers, the closest thing to the original manifestation of a British 4×4 with military-grade utility. The dash is perfect, the seats and door panels present as new, and the carpets show no faults. And you have to love seeing a manual gearbox in the cabin – an unheard of concept in Range Rovers for the last 30 years.

With only 39,000 miles, it comes as no surprise the engine bay looks so well-loved. These were fairly robust eight-cylinder engines, and considering they offered limited performance despite their displacement, the manual transmission is a welcome addition. Nice to see a preserved hood pad and near-perfect paint on the tops of the fenders and firewall, too. The seller mentions how these early Rovers are poised to continue appreciating, and I don’t disagree with him when an example this clean is up for grabs.

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. Bakyrdhero

    I like the plug on the door panel where a window crank would be. That interior speaks to a simpler time. I don’t know much about owning/maintaining one of these, but I like the idea of this. My lawyer had a hunter green one about twenty years ago.

    Like 4
    • Tirefriar

      My wife had an ‘86 (iirc) Besides being super thirsty, it was a great car up until the auto trans went out. She lived the truck because the seating allowed good vision above traffic so I spent the money to get the trans rebuilt. However, when the engine went south about a moth after the transmission was fixed there was no convincing me in keeping that truck. She ended up with a 4Runner and never looked back. They are very capable trucks and you do see them with over 200k on the clock. Keep in mind though that getting to high mileage in these requires financial investment that you will not recoup, at least not at their current market values.

      Like 5
  2. OhU8one2

    Actually the early 2 door models are the ones that seem to be highly desirable. They were never sold in the U.S.A so any you see here are imported. Defender’s still have the number 1 spot. These are also really good off-road. More so than the latest pavement pounders available today. Most new Range Rovers will be lucky to see any mud, let alone rocks and snow. But this is a very nice Rover.

    Like 4
  3. H5mind

    We had the pleasure of owning an earlier white HSE Range Rover while living and working in Panama. Although they are neither powerful nor economical, they are definitely fun to experience. Given a chance, we would own another.

    Like 2
  4. wuzjeepnowsaab

    I dunno…$36000 just sounds insane for this. Maybe I’m out of touch on values but low miles or not, that number just sounds lala cracra

    Like 8
  5. Bruce

    I agree about the price. These when working are wonderful but they have an air suspension that is a nightmare to fix and frequently is broken, enough so that a whole new suspension system is available elsewhere. The earlier ones are the best but engine life can be problematic as well as electronics.

    On the TV show TOP GEAR they said that these Range Rovers were considered the least reliable car in the world on more than one occasion. Having had friends that have owned them and helped them work on them I tend to agree. It is the small things that will drive you crazy and things that should not brake.

    Of note the rear lid is prone to rust both top and bottom parts from my reading. Something that should be checked before purchase as I have been told they are very expensive and difficult to replace.

    Like 1
  6. Fred

    I have had my 1988 3.5 EFI – Vogue for 23 years now. I use it everyday and has covered now 100k miles since new. This car never lets me down. I am a mechanic myself and just keep it in good shape. Lately more and more people stop me and asking if it is for sale, but I guess I will keep it further as I don’t like modern cars with all this electronic stuff…..

    Like 10
    • Sirpike

      There are plenty of less than 20 year old RR’s with manual gearboxes , 4.0 ltr petrols and 2.5 diesels .
      The tailgates won’t rust because they are aluminium .

      Like 3
  7. Dan

    Love this unicorn, but it’s way beyond my budget. GLTTS.

    Like 2
  8. Brian Scott

    There’s a price for exclusivity, and this is it. I look at the Bronco market, where it’s nothing to see $40k spent on one, if not multiples OF $40k (you, Icon). Funny thing there is that 10 years ago I had probably not seen a Bronco in a decade, whereas today I see one or more every weekend day. Now on the other hand, the last time I saw an ’80s Range Rover …

    Like 2
  9. hugh anger

    Looks OK but I had a V8, very low mileage, very low years – 3, 1 owner Discovery and never again anything Rover. If anything could go wrong it did and spares were like gold dust, if you could find them and cost more than gold dust. My 6 years with a Toyota Land Cruiser were just so good. All of this was in Oman.
    Hugh Anger

    Like 2
  10. Fiete T.

    Tidy looking, capable off road…and that’s it. Beyond that, not interested in anything like this. Much rather have a Toyota or Nissan of this vintage-

    Like 0

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