The Albert Turbo is an extremely rare engine upgrade for the classic Range Rover, done by Austrian tuning legend Franz Albert. At the moment of writing, one of these very fast two door Range Rovers is offered for sale.
Austrian racing driver and engine tuner Franz Albert was famous for making Porsches and BMW’s go faster, but one of his lesser known feats is developing a turbo for the 1970’s Range Rover, named the V210. Power of the 3.5 V8 went up from 135 to 210 PS (hence the V210 designation) and torque figures rose from 250 to 385Nm.
Ferrari’s, Lamborghini’s and Range Rovers…
Franz Albert, who passed away in 2017 at the age of 86, lived a life worthy of a book, which subsequently was published a year after his death and is aptly named Nockenfranz, which translates as Camfranz. Albert is considered as one of the great tuning gurus of his time. When German tuner Willy König, famous for building outrageous creations based on Ferraris, Mercedes and Jaguars under the name of Koenig, needed the power to match the look of his wild designs, he turned to Albert. In the early 1980’s the Austrian tuner even turbo’d two Lamborghini Countachs, nearly doubling their power and torque output.
Most of Franz Alberts exploits are well documented, but very little is known of his Range Rover turbo. The original Range Rover sold relatively well in the Alp region, where Alberts workshop was based in the city of Wörgl, Tirol. The strong but slightly underpowered Rover V8 engine lends itself well for upgrades, but simply changing the camshaft, carburetor and exhaust manifolds was not enough for Albert, who at the time had gained a lot of experience with turbos during his racing in BMW 2002’s.
The Type 660 turbocharger fitted to the Range Rover was developed by Albert and built by American company Rajay Industries of Long Beach California. The Stromberg carburetors were ditched in favour of a Weber 40 double carburetor, air being fed by a newly designed filter with a dedicated bonnet scoop. The 660 turbocharger and bypass valve were fitted to a specially developed exhaust manifold.
A speed of 160 km/hour (around 100 mph) was possible in 4th gear with just a quarter of the accelarator pedal depressed. For easy overtaking on the Autobahn, you just had plenty of pedal travel to spare. The turbo would take the Range Rover up to a top speed of 200 kms per hour, if you were brave enough. On the downside fuel consumption figures dropped to 13 mpg at best.
The first owner of the featured Range Rover in this post was Herr Schuh, an Austrian mechanic with a Vienna based workshop specializing in British cars. Schuh and Albert were good friends and this Range Rover supposedly was the first example to receive the V210 Turbo, bolted on by Franz Albert himself. Schuh made a habit of racing his Range Rover turbo against Porsches and Mercedes on the Autobahn, which led to the engine overheating. A new engine was installed, together with a larger oil cooler and an overdrive. Meanwhile the boost pressure was slightly tuned down to 0.8 bar. The engine has held up well since.
Apart from the Turbo setup, Albert also offered a handling package in the form of uprated springs, roll bar and stabilizer for the Range Rover. An oilcooler was a mandatory option for the V210 turbo, probably after Schuh’s car overheating, and it was advised to fit an overdrive to the four speed transmission. Turbocharging Range Rovers must have been quit the rage in the Alps, since Swiss company Nova Swiss also developed a Range Rover turbo in the late 70’s. In another post we will get into more details about the Nova Swiss setup.
You can buy one now
At the time of writing a Range Rover with Albert Turbo is for sale by WALDL SPORTIVE OFFROAD TECHNIK in Austria. It is a very rare first owner lhd Suffix A car which was prepared by Franz Albert himself in 1980. You can find the listing here.
Special thanks to Hugo Michael Waldl, owner of the beautiful Albert Turbo Range Rover featured in this post.