1998 Range Rover 4.0 SE: Vehicle of Champions

Illustration for article titled 1998 Range Rover 4.0 SE: Vehicle of Champions

You! Yes, you! Are you a failed rapper trying to make a name for yourself? Are you a soccer mom pretending it was still 1990’s Southern California? Do you feel as if you are superior to anybody else, for no reason whatsoever? Well do I have the vehicle for you.


The Lumbee Tribe called it, “The Broken One.” Peoples of ancient Argentina nicknamed it the, “Money Gone.” And the humans that resided in Solihull, UK, in 1998, often said that it was, “good enough.” The object in question? A 1998 Range Rover 4.0 SE, and I got a ride in one earlier today.

It was a majestic beast, the Range Rover. Powered by an engine that was introduced at roughly the same time as the Cuban Missile Crisis was happening, and an electric system that seemed fit on the Titanic, the SUV simply felt old. But it was an odd kind of, “good old.”


I did not really have a problem that this 20 year old design felt as if it were 60 years old. For the P38 Range Rover, it kinda works. I think Land Rover wanted to make the P38, or the second generation Range Rover, feel as if it were designed in a different time. A better time. A time when the President was not having an affair with an intern.

And it works. The P38 Range Rover works as an older vehicle.

My mother and I went down to a small car dealership in Fuquay-Varina, NC (fun fact: up until 2009 or so, it was a Suzuki dealership. Really.), to look at a TJ Jeep Wrangler. While the Wrangler was an OK vehicle in it’s own right, the Range Rover parked next to it just stuck out to me.


For some reason, I fell in love with this ridiculous piece of 1990’s British engineering. And we all know that, “ridiculous piece of 1990’s British engineering,” are code words for, “broken all of the time.”

At first, my mother did not want to drive it. She did not really see a point to it, and thought it was stupid. But I pleaded with her to drive the Range Rover, and she finally agreed. And we were in for a treat.


Upon entering the vehicle (after prying the passenger door open, because it decided not to), I find my face completely full of spiderwebs. Sadly, this was not upbeat like the No Doubt song, but rather quite annoying and semi gross. I don’t like spiderwebs. The Rover did turned over on the first try, thanks to the fabulous and bulletproof 4.0 V8. It also shifted nicely into gear, and somehow easily started driving under it’s own power.

My mother was also quick to point out that half of the lower dash was missing, the instrument cluster surround was wobbling on the dash, and that the brakes didn’t really work. I also noticed that the glove box door did was a bit crooked, and was leaning to one side. The radio was not working either.


Thankfully, the air conditioning system worked perfectly, and brought the leather appointed cabin to a cool and crisp 66 degrees. Also, all of the windows did, in fact, open and close properly. These are surprising findings for a P38 Range Rover.

We merged upon North Carolina Highway 401, and the Range Rover moved along at a suitable pace. It was a very Range Rover pace. Not too fast, not too slow. Just on time. Just like the British. But, like I have already said, the Rover was not a big fan of stopping. We nearly crashed into the back of a Ford F-150.


We drove the beast for about three miles and both my mother and I came up with definite conclusions. I absolutely loved the Range Rover. My mother absolutely hated the Range Rover. She was scared that it did not stop properly, and that half the car was broken. But I think that gives a car character, and I do not really know what she is upon about.

Thankfully, this diamond in the rough of a Rover did not deter my mother from other Range Rover’s, and she said that she would be open to driving another one, at some point in the future. Mostly one that was not broken.


This vehicle is currently offered at $5,995, and I do not think I would offer the dealer a dime over $4,000. It simply is not worth it. Then again, the Range Rover is commonly driven by champions, even if they are not champions anymore. And that’s what makes the 1998 Range Rover 4.0 SE the vehicle of champions.

(Lead image comes from the dealer’s website, and that is the actual Range Rover that I rode in today. I’m also republishing this tomorrow)

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