The market for customised Land Rover vehicles has burgeoned in recent years – but the inventor of the craft still stands out. We refer, of course, to the legendary Overfinch, which first began improving Range Rovers in 1975, just five years after the first model went on sale. Operating under the Schuler name for the first decade, it began with a performance-enhancing quad carburettor kit before creating the first automatic transmission for the model four years later.
In 1981, a Schuler/Overfinch modified Range Rover won the gruelling Paris-Dakar rally outright prior to the firm launching its most radical version of the car yet, the high-speed, sharp-handling 570S powered by a 5.7-litre General Motors engine. That was in 1985, the year Overfinch branding was adopted and manufacturing shifted from Germany to the UK – where numerous landmark models have since been built, including the supercar-goading 570 Ci of 1993 and the ultra-luxurious limited edition built in collaboration with gunmaker Holland & Holland that featured a bespoke boot-mounted shooting cabinet made from top-quality walnut.
Although the specification of today’s production Range Rovers has reached exceptional heights, there is still a demand for those that go the extra mile (metaphorically speaking, if not fuel-economy-wise), which is why West Yorkshire-based Overfinch is not expecting a shortage of takers for its new range-topping 2018 model.
The latest supercharged, 5-litre, 503hp V8 petrol engine fitted to the standard car has more than enough oomph to satisfy even the most speed-hungry driver, so Overfinch leaves it in standard tune but enhances the car’s aerodynamics (and therefore its road holding) with a deep front air dam, low-level air intakes and a discreet spoiler, all made from exposed-weave carbon fibre.
A remodelled carbon-fibre bumper, air dam and diffuser enhance the car’s rear end, while the specially cast Overfinch exhaust system tips contain Bluetooth-controlled valves that can be opened and closed at the twist of a console-mounted button to unleash the car’s full performance potential (and an angry growl) or to maintain a more sociable noise level.
The Overfinch body enhancements are designed to incorporate the Range Rover’s front- and rear-facing digital cameras, while the standard alloy wheel options are substituted for the customising firm’s own lightweight designs in 22in or 23in diameters.
Inside, the factory Range Rover’s none-too-shabby accommodation is taken to another level with so-called “Lumiere” seating trimmed with leather from Scotland’s Bridge of Weir Tannery – or, if a client prefers, anything else from shagreen to ostrich skin. A range of special veneers in materials ranging from burr walnut to mother-of-pearl may also be specified.
Such bespeaking does not, of course, come cheap. In addition to all of the above, the model we drove for the purpose of this article also had a unique, two-tone paint job and came with a price tag of £199,990…