Over the past few years, we’ve featured two of Todd Hall’s cars, both black, both tough, and both street cars. So, what would Todd build if he had a blank canvas and an open chequebook? More of the same, of course — except that this time around he’d start with something way outside the square: a 2009 Range Rover Sport.
The first obvious problem would be the ride height — even though these vehicles are more often seen outside schools than out in the mud, they’re still way too high off the ground for someone of Todd’s mindset. The easy way around that would be to lift the body off the chassis then roll in an Art Morrison replacement chassis. The added advantage would be that Todd could spec the chassis to be built with narrowed rear chassis rails, giving room for the massive 20x15-inch rear rims that he’d tuck under it.
Since all Todd’s cars seem to end up on the drag strip at some stage, the nine-inch diff would need to be secured to the chassis by way of a four-link — except that, instead of coilovers, it would be an airbag suspension set-up. After all, there’s no point in dropping a Rangey unless you can slam it right to the floor.
Clearly, Todd’s not a fan of Pommy power plants, as his plan would be to ditch the stock engine in favour of an 8-71-blown and mechanically injected 427-cube big block Ford. Backed by a decent auto trans, this should certainly help get the kids to school on time, as well as fry those massive tyres when required.
Interior-wise, Todd would add a half-cage to help stiffen the whole lot up and include some protection, but keep the rest of the factory-fitted black-leather interior stock apart from a few additional gauges.
Could this be the ultimate school-run machine? We think so.
Justin from the LVVTA says: “The Art Morrison frame would be a good option here — they’re well built and come with good suspension, steering, and braking-system options — but the installation of a full chassis into the Range Rover would tip this into being a scratch-built vehicle. This means that the low-volume-vehicle (LVV) frontal-impact requirements contained in section 5.10 of the NZ Hobby Car Technical Manual (HCTM) could be used, due to the fact that the late-model Range Rover was originally designed and crash-tested to meet frontal-impact standards.
One downside to this becoming a scratch-built vehicle is that the multiple factory-installed Supplemental Restraint System (SRS) airbags and pre-tensioner seat belts would also need to be removed, as these would no longer work in tandem with the electronic systems, which are timed to deploy in a direct relationship to the crash loads being subjected to the OEM chassis but not to the new chassis. New web clamp–type seat belts could be fitted in place of these and would provide the next-best-possible level of occupant safety.
The engine of choice shouldn’t present any issues, but don’t forget that the LVV sight-line requirements would need to be met, which basically means that no part of the scoop could be higher than halfway up the windscreen. For full details on how to measure this properly, check out the External Projections LVV standard, which is available free from the LVVTA website.
You’d also need to plan any roll structure carefully, as there are a few requirements in this area, particularly from the Interior Impact rules, which basically state that no part of the roll cage can be positioned within the head-strike ‘A-zone’, and that it must be padded when positioned adjacent to any A-zone. The high roofline might help to keep any bars away from the A-zone, but it’d pay to check out the Interior Equipment chapter of the HCTM for more details relating to roll-cage requirements and also to see examples of the interior zones.
Although the Range Rover may not be a vehicle of choice for hot rodders, if you take away the Picton ferry–spec 4WD suspension, questionable-at-best British drivetrain, and electrical systems, they’re not actually a bad vehicle, and we do hope to see this on the road some day. Good luck with the build!”
Your thoughts on last month’s Show Skidder concept
Richard Brown: I’d move the door jamb rearward about three inches, cut the rear doors down and weld them in, stretch the front doors to match new openings, and ‘crop’ and tuck the front and rear bumpers.
Steve Hldnup VG-Veight: Notched, tubbed, and bagged on Intro rims. It’s the finer details that make a car.
Michael Wilkinson: Yea cool; just make sure you put a Ford small block in it to make up for the other f*** up.
Dave Gurr: Bring it back out like it used to be in the ’90s. That car used to dominate the illegal drags!
Want to have a read about Todd Hall's actual vehicle? Grab a copy of the October 2016 issue of NZV8 (Issue No. 137) where his car has pride of place on the cover!