Overfinch v Range Rover
I have worked for the last three years as a racing driving instructor, teaching people to handle high speed driving on a circuit. I have also done limited teaching, some off road driving, which I have done for Mitsubishi. So whilst I took a course at Land Rover to understand the basics, I do know that side of my skill is limited. However I do understand the principles, I think would be fair to say. The reason I tell you is so that you will now understand that I do appreciate the true handling of a car!
I think the RR is actually a very underrated vehicle for what it can do bearing in mind it has such a huge range of uses, i.e. normal driving, & towing! etc.etc. Then if you want a spirited drive you can, it is an amazing vehicle really, as when it is driving hard, such that you get it sliding for example, it is a great vehicle, yes it is not a Ferrari nor an Audi Quattro, but thanks to those really cleaver guys at Overfinch, I think it can become better than an Audi Quattro!!
Well down to business!! You personally know the Range Rover Classic well, so you will have felt the handling improvements personally too. I have owned a Y reg 4 Door, then had an E reg Vogue , then my latest present 1990 G reg Vogue! I have seen a marked improvement in the ride quality of the car through the various improvement over the years, however that has not altered, as I call it superberb handling for something of this size and bulk! Bearing in mind that it was primarily designed for off road driving! I can go through a corner in the RR knowing it really has safe handling (especially in the wet!) due to its 4x4 drive, that boosts confidence as I have found that the
car initially (depending on the type of corner) turns in with understeer, which if handled correctly becomes a nice gentle four wheel drift! I do say gentle so you do not use all of the road, and keep some sort of safety margin!! This four wheel drift is as I am sure you know, the best state
you could have for a car!!
The Overfinch differs from the normal, in a huge way! I am sure you have experienced turning into a corner with a tremendous amount of body roll, (that is a R.R. Without anti roll bars) it tends to lean into the corner as you turn in and then with the older models (a Y reg) rock from side to side gently then settle down and then you go through the corner with the car leaning rather a lot but quite normal, once you do get used to it! You might even be in a 4 wheel drift! This rocking is to some, un-nerving at first, but it is normal due to the mass you are moving around! However once settled it is ok! (I must add one point to achieve this 4 wheel drift for best handling, you must keep the throttle in one position throughout the corner
do not accelerate! Nor do you come off of the throttle in mid corner either! it will not be so bad in a RR, but please, please, do not come off the throttle in a normal car, as that really will upset the balance of the car especially in a rear wheel drive car! i.e. you spin and hit something!!) However my G reg was not so bad for the sideways rolling due to its better spring rates than previous models. However with the advent of anti Roll bars(which it never had) now on my car, plus much more stiffer springs and dampers and taughter quick ratio steering box. and a most important factor of all I have also had better steering bushes put on to crispen the feel and response of the RR throughout. All supplied by the fantastic, and really (I mean it) helpful team at Overfinch it makes it a truly different 4x4, all together, unlike any other 4x4!
The turn in response before was fine for this type of vehicle, however due to its new additions it is now much, crisper and sharper too! Thus allowing you to be much more precise for positioning of the car for the correct lines through the corner! You do not get the sideways rolling motion I mentioned previously, so it feels more like a normal crisp car, bearing in mind the bulk of a Range Rover in the first place, you then gradually forget the size you are hustling about through the back roads sometimes! All achieved with respectable levels of body lean, you have much more feed back from the steering and road now, you can really feel the chassis stiffness too! Plus better lateral and front to back levelling too as you turn into the corner! So it's really much taughter vehicle, which is now far more responsive, and most of all and just as important the steering is not quite so loose feeling, for normal driving and neither is it on the motorway either.
This handling package supplied really does help in normal driving too. The new gearbox thanks to again to Overfinch's as always excellent recommendations and service too, is much crisper with a far smoother gear change from first to second than before I am sure you remember the clunk you could get from first to second sometimes! Well no more! Naturally the pick up from a standing start is really impressive bearing in mind it is a 4.6i Engine, however all thanks to the torque increase, it really makes a huge difference! It really does surprise some vehicles when it she is a asked to sprint! It can be fun to see the look of surprise on peoples face as they do not expect a RR to be this quick! (I know it is not a 5.7i but it is a great improvement on the original engine which in all fairness was not bad at all!
Nigel. P. De Wallens
|THE RANGE ROVER CLASSIC CLUB UK. "A Touch of Class"