This tells of how I became an addicted Landy fan and of my ongoing experiences of 4x4ing and overlanding. I share with you some of those special times when events, usually unpredicted, happened.
Land Rover claims to be the best 4×4 by far. Just live with one for a while and you will soon realise how true that is. Each one, like us simple humans, has a certain charm and its own special quirks. They all have individual foibles and imperfections, as well as their own personal characters, fascinations and allures. Like you and me, they also, at times, can be stubborn and more than a bit temperamental.
Just as we drive the bumpy road of life, perhaps straying off-road now and again. Fear not, your Landy will soon find you many more friends. At the time of writing, my harem comprises four Landys; a 1974 Series III Airportable Lightweight named ‘Boudicca’ (the charioting off-roader who in Roman times dealt many a blow to the invading Romans); a 1996 Discovery 300Tdi ‘Taska’ (Boudicca’s daughter); a 2009 Freelander 2; and a 2006 registered Defender 300Tdi called ‘Kalahari’, a limited-edition model introduced to satisfy demand from South Africa for an overlander without the electronic gizmos of today.
I confess to Land Rover affairs over the years, which broke down for various reasons. Just like real life. Past liaisons include a Disco 2, a Disco 3, a Range Rover as well as various hybrid off-roaders. My first acquaintance was as a young lad on a friend’s farm in an old Series 1. The cattle and sheep in the fields never got so much attention.
The seed was planted then to germinate, grow, blossom and fruit years later. Harvest time for me came during the early ‘80s during the years of the famous Camel Trophy [1980 – 2000] sponsored by Land Rover and Camel cigarettes. Competitors from around the world competed in what became known as the Olympics of the 4×4 world. This involved doing extreme things in extreme locations such as Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Borneo, Burundi, Chile, Sumatra, Siberia, USSR and then Zaire, to name but a few.
Selection and training were conducted on the Eastnor Castle Estate near Ledbury, UK. Land Rover still carries out testing and Land Rover Experience Day promotions at the estate. Final selection and training took place during the winter months of January and February each year. The trainees were obliged to sleep under canvas for those cold weeks of induction. The instructors opted to stay in the warmth of a guesthouse that my wife and I owned nearby.
Many a wonderful late night and early morning were enjoyed, along with much camaraderie and washing of clothes and gear. I was now fully converted to the faith of Landyism.
When things go wrong or perhaps don’t go as planned, as they do from time to time, the Landy is often blamed. Of course, Landys take it all in their stride without so much as a complaint, grumble or murmur. After all the Landy can’t talk back.
Land Rovers rarely break down or get stuck as such. It is a case of progress becoming temporarily impeded (PTI) – a term used to save a driver’s face and ego. This upholds the Land Rover reputation for a while and nurtures the relationship between machine and driver. Cooperation between Land Rover and driver is crucial for recovery with dignity and self-esteem from any PTI.
These are great experiences; they help you get to know your Landy more intimately. Whenever and wherever you encounter PTIs, Land Rover friends – new and old – are sure to come to your aide and enjoy the event with you. It is uncanny how they are there when you need them most. Very occasionally though, when you have been especially brainless, you might wish they would evaporate.
We have all been there. Remember the old saying, “80% of the Land Rovers ever built are still on the road – the other 20% got home”. An immense untruth, as all owners know. Every Landy is perfectly capable of getting home.
A few, I agree, may need a degree of persuasion and TLC to get there. Occasionally this takes months or years of grafting, renovation, stress and ‘pocket mining’.
Thank you, Land Rover, for all the adventure, experience and the urge to do more with the great life you have opened up, and continue to open up, for my friends and me worldwide. A well-earned CTM goes to all Land Rovers. I look forward to telling you of some of my many PTIs; not all involving a Landy directly, but one was with me at the time of each ‘hiccup’.
As a new owner once said to me unwittingly, “Did I park my Landy or is it broken down?” Perhaps a PTI?