So what do you have now?

Let’s face it – you have spent a fortune on the vehicle you currently drive but the time will come when some serious refurbishment is due OR this vehicle has to be replaced

Consider that the cost of a replacement vehicle, registration, transfer costs and, in particular financing the purchase may be significantly greater than the cost of refurbishment. It all comes down to what the vehicle is worth to you and what is the overall condition. While there is little point in spending thousands on something that will never hold its value, if the vehicle is a rare model and/or is in generally good condition a refurbishment can easily be justified. This is especially true if the work and cost can be spread over months or even years.

Some jobs are more cost-effective than others

Bodywork options are limitless, ranging from wet-sanding and buffing the existing finish through to a complete new paint job.
Plastic trims can be given a serious lift in appearance by applying water-transfer (hydrographic) printing. The process requires sanding, priming, applying a film of your choice, and clear-coating. The results are like magic (This author had all interior trims of a P38 re-finished in burl walnut adding thousands to the eventual sale price of the vehicle).
Headlining, carpets etc can be replaced, Seats can be changed or re-trimmed. Suspension and steering can be repaired or upgraded, sound systems upgraded and so on

Engine work is a more serious matter

Rebuilding an early diesel engine is going to cost far more than an old vehicle is worth but maybe (just maybe) it may be feasible to change the engine if something compatible is available as a donor unit
If the cost of running your petrol V8 exceeds that of a politician claiming entitlements, changing a 3.5 unit for a 3.9 or even a 4.6 may be worthwhile, but not cheap. A reputable specialist Land Rover shop (not a dealer) will occasionally get an known engine from a vehicle they have serviced for years. It is a classic case of the “devil you know” versus something you buy without any real knowledge of the history. Though an engine swap is not cheap, it will be worthwhile if the rest of the vehicle is a trusted item.

Aesthetics & technology

Probably the worst reason for changing vehicles is that yours is no longer “cool” compared to the later vehicles driven by your peers. It lacks the latest styling, ultra low profile tyres on wheels that would struggle getting into the Coles car park, let alone into the mountains. The other consideration is the ongoing march of technology into every vehicle. A 10-15 year old car is generally easier to fix than a later model.

Some simple upgrades
Leather electric seats
Two-tone paint
Long range fuel tank
New light lenses
Light Bar

Do this first

Take the emotion out of the decision as much as possible. Do your homework by checking prices being paid for vehicles like the one you already own. You may be pleasantly surprised at how much yours is worth if it is in top condition.
Then – and this is the most important advice of all, GET A “PRE-PURCHASE” INSPECTION on your current vehicle. A specialist workshop will give you an honest appraisal of its condition and the approximate cost of any repair work.
Then, if you are really going to replace the vehicle, ALSO get a pre-purchase check on the new one. See the separate article on the website explaining how that works.


It certainly is a dilemma and ultimately, it will be a lifestyle decision as much as a financial one. Only you can decide what the vehicle is actually worth to you, regardless of the street value.