JIA Range Rover Chieftain: A Sympathetic Approach To Re-engineering A Classic

Hailing from the same British boutique company that brought us the modernized Jensen Interceptor R and the radical Range Rover Chieftain Supercharged super SUV, Jensen International Automotive’s latest reworked Range Rover Chieftain is a more accessible, attainable and toned down offering that keeps closer to the original classic recipe.

Described as a more ‘sympathetic’ treatment than the original JIA Range Rover Chieftain Supercharged, the new less extensively re-worked Chieftain doubles down on the nostalgia factor and is a more faithful re-engineering of the iconic original Range Rover. Perhaps not quite so visceral, outright aggressive or so thoroughly altered as the Chieftain Supercharged, the new model should however have broader appeal for those with fond memories of the original Range Rover.

Priced more sympathetically too, with a saving of somewhere in the £100,000 range, depending on personalization and final specification, the new Chieftain retains the original Range Rover chassis and part of its four-wheel-drive system, rather than being built using a classic Range Rover body fused with a previous generation Land Rover Discovery chassis, as is the Supercharged version. However underneath, the new Chieftain does receive re-worked and fully independent double wishbone suspension all-round for much improved ride comfort, handling and agility.

Starting with a high quality donor classic Range Rover, the Chieftain is re-furbished as necessary and according to customer wishes, and re-engineered and incorporates more modern Discovery / LR3 steering and brakes, and optional galvanization to better weather the elements in the long run. Retaining some original Range Rover four-wheel-drive elements, the new Chieftain features centre and rear limited-slip differentials, but is conceived primarily for on-road use and occasional off-road use, so does without more extensive off-road driveline features.

Like the Chieftain Supercharged, the new less extensively re-engineered version receives a modern General Motors 6.2-litre V8 engine for a substantial power hike over the original Range Rover. But while the former is powered by the 556BHP and 551lb/ft supercharged LSA engine that powered the now outgoing Cadillac CTS-V, the new Chieftain instead gets the general’s naturally aspirated LS3 engine. Developing 430BHP and 425lb/ft torque, and mated to a 6-speed automatic gearbox, the new Chieftain’s naturally-aspirated small block engine nevertheless offers huge performance improvements over the Range Rover’s original Buick-derived Rover V8, and delivers swift 5.2-second 0-97km/h acceleration.

A robust, reliable and thoroughly improved daily driver with significant dynamic and performance enhancements, the Chieftain comes with refreshed paint and sympathetic re-trimming inside. JIA however also offer a lot of scope for various trim, restoration and personalization options including a different accessory, wheel and engine options.

– Press Release –

The New JIA Chieftain, ultimate re-engineered Range Rover Classic

July 2020, UK – Based on a good quality Range Rover Classic (RRC) “soft dash” model from 1994-5 to capitalise on the “best of breed” equipment and ergonomics of the last iteration.

Available as conventional wheel base or, for a premium, the rare LSE long wheel base.

Cars are hand built to bespoke order using donor cars carefully selected to require minimal body restoration.

By limiting restoration work to encompass sympathetic re-trimming and paint refreshment (with the option of more bespoke work), the customer investment is focussed on the re-engineering and renewal work for the most impressive and robust transformation possible at the cost.

The Chieftain retains core elements of the original AWD system to optimise off road capabilities within the chassis which has been re-engineered to cater for the intended market which focusses more on use as a road car with occasional off road capacity.

Technical Specification:

  • Fully re-engineered JIA chassis, galvanised option.
  • Fully independent suspension Front & Rear.
  • Coil sprung with double wishbones all round.
  • Rack and pinion steering, LR3 derived.
  • Original RRC refurbished AWD with limited slip centre & rear differentials.
  • 2 Litre new modern all-alloy V8, 430 bhp
  • New, modern six speed automatic transmission.
  • Overdrive top gear ratios for relaxed cruising.
  • New LR3 spec brakes, optional upgrades available.
  • Hand built stainless exhaust system

Body & Trim:

  • Carefully selected donor, optional LSE body.
  • Choice of styling from original to JIA bespoke.
  • Custom exterior paint option or original refinished
  • Interior sympathetically re-trimmed throughout.
  • Bespoke trim options according to taste.
  • Range of accessory, wheel, lighting and ICE choices.

Key info:

  • 0-60 mph 5.2 secs approx. Vmax untested but much improved.
  • Pricing starts from £147,500 + VAT
  • Website www.chieftainrangerover.com includes a “build your own” configurator tool.