Bicester Heritage, Oxfordshire - More than three decades ago, while Jeremy Clarkson was still paying his dues writing road tests of family cars for small newspapers in the north of England, Top Gear presenter Chris Goffey set a precedent for the future with his scathing review of the first turbodiesel-powered Range Rover.
The Range Rover, introduced in 1970, made its name, of course, on the performance and refinement of its Buick 3.5-litre petrol V8; in 1986, however, Land Rover introduced a companion model powered by an Italian-made VM 2.4-litre turbodiesel four.
Compared to the V8, it was a rough as a bear’s backside, but that wasn’t the big problem. The test car that was sent to Top Gear (one of the first off the line) showed signs of having been assembled in a hurry, and presented some mechanical issues about which Goffey was justifiably uncomplimentary.
But when the Range Rover got back to Solihull, it was discovered that this particular car had not been sent to the famous Land Rover press garage, where media test cars are primped and fettled to Rolls-Royce standards before British journos get their grubby paws on them. Worse still, it had never even been through a regular pre-delivery inspection!