Nile Rodgers, they say, has sold over 100 million records. I don’t doubt it—from 1977’s Chic to 2013’s “Get Lucky” with Daft Punk to a 2020 selection of collaborations with current Queen frontman Adam Lambert, his music has been omnipresent in the American background. You don’t have to be interested in R&B or hip-hop to know his work; remember that earworm song that went “The Looooooooooove Shack“? He produced it, along with work for Mick Jagger, Duran Duran, and Spike Lee. As a recreational guitarist, I can attest that 99 percent of his actual playing is trivially easy to recreate but virtually impossible to imagine having existed without him, as opposed to the average heavy-metal or rock record, which simply consists of scales played really, really fast.
Last week, Mr. Rodgers told his social-media followers that he was selling off much of his vehicle collection, via an impromptu video where he strolled through an underground garage. Much of the response centered around the ultra-desirable iron showcased in the second half—is that a light blue metallic Berlinetta Boxer I see?—but the first car shown by Nile, and the first one to sell, was a lightly-customized yellow 1997 Range Rover 4.6 HSE Vitesse. If you didn’t recognize it as such, I don’t blame you. The Vitesse was a one-year-only model with a total production of 250 across just two colors. I recognized it immediately, however … and with a bit of a shudder ...
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Ah, the infamous P38 Vitesse. Fascinating article. I, too, have thought that it was a rather transparent attempt to pander to the Black hip-hop crowd.
I have a couple of clients for my web development business that are Land Rover shops, and they find the P38 to be a nightmare even these days. One of them actually dailies a rather pretty green one. The build quality was rather shoddy, and the later 4.6-liter Rover V8s (in both the Disco II and P38) were known for having casting flaws, and experts think that the 4.6-liter displacement (as well as the 5.0-liter variantsTVR used) was beyond what that engine should have had. The biggest issue with the P38, these days, is the body control computer, which is virtually impossible to find in working order if yours goes.
The subsequent early (2002/03-2005) L322 Range Rover, developed while Rover was under BMW, was a superior car. There's a lot more support for it, especially as it used E38 and E39 components, and build quality was much more consistent. The real "reliable years" of the Range Rover, though, were actually the mid-era years of the L322, specifically 2006-2009. That was when parent FoMoCo switched to the robust Jaguar 4.4-liter N/A engine and 4.2-liter supercharged V8s. Weirdly, Land Rover face-lifted the exterior in 2006, replacing the instrument cluster and infotainment while they were at it, but did not get around to facelifting the full interior until 2007 (meaning the 2006 had a lot of one-year-only components). Also, some 2007s had the BMW key; others had the folding key already used in the Range Rover Sport and LR3/Disco 3, and used in 2008-2009 L322s.
I myself had a brief experience earlier this year with a 2006 Range Rover Supercharged, which I bought with a supposedly broken transmission and 192,000 miles, for less than $1,800. This one was gloss black, with the cream/white leather interior and piano black interior trim. The shift from second to third was excruciatingly harsh, and the shift from third to fourth triggered a transmission fault, and a kick-down back into third. Normally, buying a car off a mechanic would give me pause, but this mechanic was clearly hard-up for money, and needed it gone. I was hoping the transmission just needed a top-up, but the rather inconvenient method for checking the ZF 6HP24 automatic gearbox--it has no dipstick--revealed burnt fluid.
So I had the transmission replaced, buying one off eBay and then paying that same mechanic to fit it. After that, it inexplicably refused to shift past fourth gear, and the mechanic couldn't figure out why. Since there were no transmission or traction faults---as there had been before--I had a suspicion the car was refusing to upshift to fifth for logic reasons. I plugged my Land Rover scan tool into it, read the wheel speed sensors, and noticed that at dead center, there were two different speeds registering on the front wheels. Only then did I get out and look at the tire size, to see that only one of them (the one on the right front) was the correct size. The others were all the same as each other, and slightly too small. No wonder. With differing diameters, the car would have registered the wheels as being different speeds, would have concluded that it was in mid-turn, and wouldn't have shifted into higher gears. A new set of tires rectified that.
After replacing various sensors, the fuel pump, the busted taillights, windshield, torn driver's seat, various sensors, fuses and finisher pieces, A/C compressor and condenser, coolant expansion tank, and reversing camera, and giving it an overall cleanup, I made a $3K profit.
For 17 years I worked in the Parts Department of a Toyota Dealership that also carried Land Rover on the other side. We watched the jaw-dropping carrying-ons that happened on the "other" side with wide-eyed horror. It was like an alternate universe out of a science fiction novel.
And I am under no illusions regarding the famous Toyota reliability.
And then my surgeon father-in-law bought a 2004 BMW Range Rover because his wife LOOOVVED it Sooo much!!!!
"What do you mean the water pump IS the alternator??!"
"And a water pump replacement is HOW much...???!!"
Ah, them was the days!
Nailed it Jack.
Small fact check, "Love Shack" was produced by Don Was, not Nile Rodgers.
However, I think an important album to mention that Rodgers did indeed produce was David Bowie's 1983 "Let's Dance."