2022 Overfinch Heritage Field Edition | PH Review

Hard not to love a Range Rover Classic. Harder still with a 6.2-litre V8 and all the Overfinch trimmings…

By John Howell / Thursday, January 20, 2022 / Loading comments

Yes, the Overfinch Heritage Field Edition costs £285,000 – plus value added tax. That’s £340,000 in the U.K. then; more than a Rolls-Royce Cullinan, and over twice the price of a Bentley Bentayga. Now I was lucky lad last week, I had the Overfinch and a Mercedes-Benz S500 L parked up outside. But that substantial price tag meant it was the S-Class that became my de facto run around. That’s not normal, is it? I just couldn’t countenance the idea of some nincompoop bashing a door into OFD 365’s glass-like Emerald Green paintwork while I flitted about the cheese aisle in Sainsbury’s. It’s expensive then. But before leaping straight to the comments section to say so, hear me out.

If you rate this car on value for money alone, you’re obviously missing the point. Indeed, you may as well stop reading right now. It’s a bespoke product, much like an Eagle E-Type, and last time I looked they weren’t cheap, either. Like the Eagle, this is a remastered classic – in this case literally speaking, bearing in mind OFD 365 is based on a 1993 Range Rover LSE Classic. It’s something to celebrate. Overfinch’s boss, Kevin Sloane, told me they have seven Heritage Classics on order right now, and two of those are Field Editions like this one. That’s on top of the many U.S. orders for Defender Classics, which Sloane says make up the bulk of the Heritage business – and they’re a snip at around £220,000 a pop.

So there’s a market for it, in case that concerned you – let’s move on to what makes this car special. Naturally, it begins with a nut and bolt restoration of a Range Rover Classic. That could be one from the classifieds or your own car. And once the years of sweat and toil have been sandblasted away, the remastering starts, although you cannot pick and choose individual bits. If you want one, you have to go all in and have the full suite of upgrades.

That starts with the chassis strengthening that makes it torsionally stiffer. Then the Overfinch Fast Road Suspension package is installed, which includes upgraded springs, dampers and anti-roll bars. Better brakes are fitted, with six-pot calipers at the front and four-pots at the rear. The front and rear diffs are uprated, along with the transfer box, prop shafts and half shafts. Then the biggest change of all is made, at least mechanically speaking: the old Buick-based Rover V8 is left on a shelf.

In its place, Overfinch installs a brand-new, GM-built LT1 engine. This may come with pushrods but, in every other respect, it’s technically superior. For a start, it’s a small-block, 90-degree V8 with a swept volume of 6.2 litres. It has sodium-filled exhaust valves, variable valve timing, lightweight pistons and direct injection. Helped by a breathe-easy, stainless steel performance exhaust and sponge air filter, it supplies 436hp and 428lb ft of torque. In OFD 365 that’s dispensed to a six-speed automatic gearbox, but future models will come with an eight-speed unit. The final mechanical uplifts include dual-electric cooling fans that draw the heat from a high-performance radiator and an enlarged fuel tank (well, it’s 6.2 litres after all).

The basic cabin architecture remains as it was in 1993. It feels like a Classic should, then: classic. That memorable roundel interior light fitting above your head stays, as do the large switches and the old-fashioned sliders for the heating and ventilation controls. They’re paired with modernity, though, such as the bespoke Dakota dials with a digital central display for speed and trip info. There’s also a DAB radio, Bluetooth, wireless phone charging and sat nav.

And really exquisite trimming. The attention to detail surely justifies the price. The contrasting stitching is beautifully executed, and knits together a fair few cows worth of supple, tan hide that cover almost every square inch of the interior. What’s not leather is suede, like the headlining. Or chromed metal, like the heater vents, gear lever and handbrake that were once bits of plastic. Then there are veneers. In OFD 365 these are a satin-finish walnut with ash inserts, and way beyond what would’ve left the gates at Solihull back in the day. My favourite part? The sturdy, billet-like, chrome grab handles, which are also inlaid with wood. They are just fabulous.

Every now and again, I catch myself looking around the interior and 1970s Cadillacs come to mind. That’s not a slight. I love 1970s Cadillacs. Here it’s just the mix of colours and surfaces that make me think of Detroit’s finest because, materially, this is a lot more special. Indeed, the quality is up there with anything from Crewe or Goodwood. Just as an example, let me draw your attention to the cabinet in the boot. For a start, it’s what marks this car out as a Field Edition. The upper drawer has room for two broken-down shotguns, while the lower one is for all your support items: two bottles of bubbly, two bottles of single malt, cut crystal glasses, a humidor stuffed full of cigars…that sort of thing. But it’s the quality of the craftsmanship, rather than perhaps the single malt, that’s most delectable: more choice veneers and drawers that slide out effortlessly on smooth, roller-bearing guides. This alone adds more than £20,000 to the price.

In complete contrast to the cabinet’s drawers, the car’s boot lid and the doors still need a heavy hand to close and do so with that familiar, clickety-clunk. As I settle into the Recaro driver’s seat, the driving position feels familiar, too. I’m perched up high on top of the ladder-frame chassis, with the large glass area flooding the cabin with light. It’s so much airier than anything modern. There’s no reach and rake steering adjustment, of course, and when I try inserting the ignition key I struggle. The barrel is recessed deeply. So much so that I can’t do it without reopening the driver’s door and craning my neck to see what I’m doing. Foibles, foibles, lovely foibles.

The V8 catches and settles into a rather appealing, slightly lumpy idle. The first few miles of my journey are through town, and I’m pleasantly surprised. The throttle response is docile and there’s never any need to use more than a quarter of it, such is the overabundance of torque from the V8. Let’s just say that building speed is completely effortless. The brake pedal is reassuring as well, with much more progression and bite than I remember any Classic having. It’s been such a long time since I’ve driven one, though, but I was definitely expecting more body flex and a livelier ride than this. You can still feel some tremors through the chassis, but the work Overfinch has done to stiffen it has massively reduced them, while the ride is mostly calm, well damped and, by and large, compliant.

At last, there’s a national speed limit sign so I give it a poke. Interestingly, it’s not the speed that alarms me most – although it’s not missing any, that’s for sure – it’s the noise. What was, until now, a bumbling, lazy, off-beat V8 warble, switches completely and hammers my ears with some much harder-edged harmonics. It’s NASCAR loud, which is completely at odds with the surrounding opulence. That makes me smile. Sure, it’s expensive, but as far as character is concerned, it’s a BOGOF – two cars for the price of one. A bargain, then.

The area that feels the least changed and still deeply rooted in the 1990s is the steering. The lock is gargantuan and it’s laughably slow. Even after picking my way through many miles of Oxfordshire’s lanes, I keep finding myself entering bends and, to make it round, quickly chucking on more lock than I was anticipating. The steering is also as vague as a cabinet minister’s non-apology, adding to the guess work involved. On the motorway OFD 365 is a bit noisy, too, with enough road and wind roar, and the odd whine from the transmission, reminding you that this is, fundamentally, a classic car.

Does any of that matter? Not at all. While the Overfinch Heritage Field Edition has a few modern flourishes that make it feel relevant to 21st-century driving, you’re buying it because it’s a classic. And, as everyone knows, driving a classic is so satisfying partly because of the flaws. They help build a memorable connection between you and the car; if you want seamless modern luxury, buy a Rolls-Royce Cullinan or a Bentley Bentayga. This is analogue. Joyful. Unsanitised. It makes you think about the act of driving, so it becomes visceral and real again. I love it for that.

If you’re still not convinced about the price, then let me finish with this thought. I am lucky enough to drive some very rare and expensive metal, and most of them garner attention. So does OFD 365. People of every age notice it as it passes by, either clocking it briefly or staring longingly. But they all tend to smile. Just like I am, from behind the wheel. If one smile is worth a thousand words, as they say it is, who’s to say that many smiles aren’t worth a few hundred-thousand pounds, then? Well, not me, that’s for sure.

Specification | Overfinch Range Rover Classic Heritage Field Edition

Engine: 6,162cc, naturally aspirated V8
Transmission: 6-speed automatic, all-wheel drive
Power (hp): 436
Torque (lb ft): 428
0-62mph: Sub 6 seconds
Top speed: In excess of 100mph
Weight: N/A
CO2: N/A
Price: £342,000

  • 2021 Range Rover Sport SVR Ultimate | PH Review
  • Range Rover (L405) | PH Used Buying Guide

Source: Read Full Article