So what would you do with a perfectly good hole and a perfectly broken car? I imagine most would put in a pool, or fill in the dangerous hole — and spend money fixing the car, or sell it off to be someone else’s problem. I did neither of these things, since I thought a repeat performance was a good idea. Instead, I buried my broken 2004 Land Rover Range Rover in my giant hole, but this time, I also buried myself along with it.
The fact that my Range Rover was still running well enough to drive into this hole was a small miracle. This early L322 chassis Range Rover was plagued with the troublesome BMW 4.4-liter V8during its first few years of production, and this engine was in the process of eating its own timing chain components — and the VANOS system was coming apart, as well. This makes the motor sound like someone poured a bag of marbles into the valve cover, and it feels like half of its horses have escaped the Bavarian barn.
Unfortunately, to fix this motor would cost over $4,000, and replacing it with a used one (that would eventually do the same thing) would cost about the same. Since this old Range Rover is worth less than a bag of marbles, this defective motor mechanically totals the car. There are other issues with it, as well, including a fuel pump that’s making a horrible death howl, a cracked $1,000 windshield and numerous other electrical gremlins. So really, the only place this once very expensive luxury SUV belonged was in a junkyard — or buried six feet under.
Before driving it into the hole, I let my salvage yard friend take a few things he could sell, while also keeping it running and driving well enough to make its final voyage. I let him swap the nearly new tires with bald ones, swap the pristine tail lights for some broken ones and yank a few other valuable, in-demand bits — so if the car was completely ruined, it wouldn’t be a total waste.
Since this SUV was obviously more structurally solid than my previous burial candidate, a 1983 Chrysler Lebaron convertible, I thought it would be fun to sit inside the car while it was being buried, and climb out the sunroof when that was all finished. Still, I wasn’t done playing with my terminal Rover, as I first helped my mechanic, the Car Wizard, push the LeBaron out of the way by slamming into it repeatedly.
After that, I calmly drove the Rover down the steep hole, and I was curious for future reference if it could pull itself back out. With the LeBaron, this was impossible, but the Range Rover still had a functional low range, and it was able to back itself out of the 10-foot hole with ease. Since most of the destruction of the LeBaron came from getting it out, this time we attached a heavy chain to the trailer hitch of the Range Rover, which should hopefully make removing it much easier.
The burial itself didn’t go as planned, as the Car Wizard ignored my directions in a possible attempt to murder me. We put a piece of plywood over the windshield, and his directions were to bury the car up to the roofline, starting with the nose, while keeping a means of emergency escape on the rear-passenger side, where I would be sitting. He was also supposed to have his phone accessible should I need to call him and scream that I’m going to die, but it turns out he couldn’t hear his phone over the skid-steer machine.
He started by burying the nose of the car as instructed, but he didn’t stop at the roofline. The pile of dirt ended up being almost even with the 10-foot hole, and the only way I could tell something was wrong was the extreme amount of stress on the windshield. It slowly began to crack, and with each pile of dirt added on, a new crack would spiral through the glass like a bolt of lighting. This was pretty unsettling, but the Wizard eventually moved on to the driver’s side, and my view of sunlight was quickly replaced with dirt. The Wizard also accidentally buried the sunroof, but I wasn’t worried, since I had two other means of escape. Then he started filling in the passenger side, without warning, which almost broke the glass right where I was sitting.
I frantically called the Wizard, who apparently didn’t notice my call and continued burying me. At this point, the entire Range Rover was beginning to flex under the weight of the dirt, and it felt like the front windshield was going to cave in at any second. So after freaking out, I bailed from my last remaining means of escape through the rear hatch while I still could. After I yelled at the Wizard for nearly killing me, which he found hilarious for some reason, I watched from the outside as the rest of Range Rover completely disappeared into the dirt.
My morbid curiosity of what it’s like to be buried alive is now satisfied, but it was by far the dumbest thing I’ve ever done. Now just like last time, I’ll dig it up in about a year and see if it still runs and drives, so place your bets! Can a modern Range Rover survive a year underground?
Editor’s Note: Tyler Hoover is a few cans short of a full six-pack, and we’re not talking about abs. If dropping an LS2 engine into a Porsche 911 didn’t convince you, this probably will. Don’t be a Tyler. Don’t try this at home, work or anywhere reasonable humans live. It’s not safe.