1996 Range Rover 2.5 DSE Auto (P38)


  • A real time-warp P38 in an amazing original condition throughout
  • Covered a mere 42,530 miles since new – under a mere 1,700 a year on average
  • A head-turning Rioja Red over Lightstone colourway

The Appeal

Building on the huge success of the Range Rover Classic and coming up with a successor that would take the concept into the 21st Century was never going to be easy. The popularity of the Vogue editions of the original car had underscored the demand for a plusher, more luxurious Range Rover. The P38 didn’t disappoint.

The latter car was significantly more luxurious, well appointed and equipped. This wasn’t at the expense of off-road chops, however. This was now a luxury express that could scrabble up a muddy bank, at least, as well as its predecessor.

With demand for the Range Rover Classic rocketing and supply of good cars being woefully lacking, the P38 is enjoying its day in the sun like never before. This example is a truly original and immaculate example of this increasingly popular breed too.

The History and Paperwork

  • Supplied new via Waterside of Hull, Land Rover main dealers, in April 1996
  • Designated as a “Trim Level 2” car which is the DSE version
  • Very lightly used by five users and having covered a very modest 42,530 miles from new
  • Includes a great paperwork file
  • This includes the current V5 
  • The original book pack is included complete with the service book
  • The service book contains 11 service stamps with the last one at 37,578 miles in 2021
  • There is a wealth of other paperwork on hand, including some high value invoices and previous MOT copies
  • Previous tax disks have also been retained
  • Both volumes of the P38 dealer maintenance manuals are also included – a valuable and hard to find inclusion
  • The owner confirms that the car will be sold with a new, valid MoT

The Interior

  • The P38 majored on its more luxurious interior over its predecessor
  • That is obvious from the interior of this example
  • The seats are in pristine condition and are dressed in Lightstone leather piped in black
  • The box pleated seats are extremely comfortable and commodious
  • The dash front and centre console include accents of dark wooden veneer
  • The carpets are in a complimentary beige colour and are in equally fine fettle
  • Door cards are partly carpeted and in similarly, first-class condition
  • The large boot is accessed via the signature, horizontally split tail gate
  • It is carpeted and in excellent condition
  • The boot houses a CD changer, full sized spare and unused tool set 
  • The rarely present, originally parcel shelf is present and in excellent condition

The terms “time-warp” and “period-correct” are becoming overused and even cliched. In this case, however, they are entirely apt and justified to describe the interior of this P38. It is hard to find anything here that doesn’t genuinely look factory fresh. It is also well equipped and comfortable in equal measure.

The Exterior

  • The Rioja Red paintwork of this Range Rover is not only one of the most eye-catching pallets but is in excellent condition throughout
  • The bodywork appears exemplary too with no areas of concern noted
  • The panel fit and finish appears exemplary
  • The blacked trim sections are in very good condition too
  • All glasswork and light lenses are in excellent, seemingly original, condition
  • The Range Rover sits on the original and subtly sized, by today’s standards, 8J x 16 Land Rover alloys
  • Tyres are very lightly used, high-quality Toyo Open Country off-road tyres in a 255/65 configuration

On viewing this P38 we were reminded of how “right” the car’s designers got it. Quite small by today’s standards but none the worse for that. The cabin is generously glassed, and the swage line and protruding rub strip make for a sophisticated and nuanced look. It is hard to fault this P38 and we encourage you to study our photographic package to fully appreciate the quality of this example.

The Mechanics

  • This Range Rover is fitted with the BMW designed and built 2.5L M51 inline six diesel engine
  • Originally rated at 136 bhp and 199 Ib-ft of torque
  • Power is fed to all four wheels via a ZF 4HP22, four-speed automatic transmission
  • The P38 is fitted with the improved EAS air suspension 
  • A Borg and Warner 4462 transfer box is fitted offering a low-range option for off-road activities
  • This is a low mileage and impeccably maintained car and so all mechanical systems are understood to be in excellent working condition

The rugged BMW diesel engine fitted here gave owners of the time the option of some reasonable running costs whilst still maintaining a high level of refinement and performance associated with a Range Rover. These are a robust unit and, at 42,000 miles, is just nicely bedded in for the new owner to use and enjoy for many years to come.


The stock of the P38 is shooting up right now. The halo effect from the Range Rover Classic’s stratospheric price appreciation is only part of the story. Whilst not the first in the lineage, the P38 is a fine car in its own right. Sophisticated, capable, refined, comfortable. It is all the car most owners will ever need.

This example is excellent in so many ways. Highly original, pristine and low mileage. Given the environments in which many P38s spent their days, examples of this calibre are becoming very hard to find. Be sure not to miss out on this genuinely rare P38 ownership opportunity.

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Vehicle specification
  • Year 1996
  • Make Land Rover
  • Model Range Rover 2.5 DSE Auto (P38)
  • Colour Red
  • Odometer 42,530 Miles
  • Engine size 2497
  • Town Hemel Hempstead
Auction Details
  • Seller Type Trade
  • Location Hertfordshire
  • Country United Kingdom
Bidding history
5 bids from 3 bidders
  • ti•••• £8,000 28/06/22
  • Fi•••• £7,800 21/06/22
  • ne•••• £7,000 21/06/22
  • Fi•••• £6,500 21/06/22
  • ne•••• £6,000 21/06/22

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