Are you a fan of old-school Land Rover or new-school Land Rover? Sure, the latest ones have more glitz and glamor than a Hollywood red carpet, but there’s something to be said for the rugged and capable Land Rovers of yesteryear. Just ask Quinton Bartolotta; he’ll tell you he can’t get enough of his 1989 Range Rover.
We found Quinton’s ride from browsing Instagram, where we saw pictures of his SUV getting down and dirty in the rocks. Just by looking at it, it was clear this wasn’t just some gussied-up soccer-mom-mobile. No, this was a rough-and-tumble machine that got into trouble and always wanted more.
We reached out to Quinton to find out more.”I got into the off-road scene by accident,” he said. “I worked one summer and saved up about $2,500 for a car, then spent $1,500 on a cheap truck. That got me interested in off-roading, and that eventually got me interested in Land Rover’s brand and the feats that they accomplished. Once I took the truck out to the forest and played around with it, I was hooked on off-roading.”
Once Quinton had the money, he started looking for a Land Rover that would fit the bill. “I was on a Land Rover forum and saw this one listed in the classifieds,” he explained. “I didn’t have the money for it at the time, but I saved and scrounged for a couple of years. That was when I saw it again on Craigslist. By that point, it’d been modified for a carbed SBC with an automatic and stock axles. I bought it and started modifying it.”
The mods started to stack up, and today, the Range Rover is a wholly different machine than what rolled out of the factory 30 years ago. Its frame has been cut 10 inches, with the body shortened and transformed into a two-door. The front axle is a three-linked Chevy kingpin Dana 60 with 5.13:1 gearing and an Eaton Detroit Locker, while the rearend is a four-linked 14-bolt that’s been trussed and given chromoly axle shafts and disc brakes. The wheels and tires are 16-inch beadlocks and 39-inch boggers, respectively.
The engine is a 400 cubic-inch V8 bolstered with Holley Sniper EFI, while the transmission is a Muncie SM465 four-speed. Coupled to the latter is a 203/205 doubler, offering Quinton more low-range gearing than he’d probably ever need. “The transmission and doubler are my favorite parts of the Range Rover,” he commented. “They allow so much control over a very heavy truck – over 6,000 pounds.” And even if he does get stuck, Quinton has a Warn 9500 winch to haul him out of a tough spot.
For safety, Quinton bought and welded together a Racetech roll cage. For convenience, he uses an on-board air compressor. Oracle rock lights are throughout the build, and can be controlled via Bluetooth. Helping him navigate the rough terrain is a PSC hydro assist steering system.
As it stands, the Range Rover is super-capable, but that doesn’t mean Quinton is done modifying it. “I’d like to try and lighten it up in the future,” he said. “I could potentially cut out some sheet metal, or change the axles out to something lighter like Trail-Gear Rock Assault 9s.”
However the Range Rover winds up, it will always remain a badass. Be sure to check out Quinton’s Instagram for more sweet pics and vids of his SUV.