Old Land Rovers and Range Rovers – good for the environment

It appears that we have found an MP in the UK Parliament who has a bit of sense.

 …no, listen, stop laughing. By the law of averages it had to happen one day.

 Karl McCartney, MP for Lincoln, was questioning Transport Secretary Grant Shapps over the Government’s plans for more people to change over to electric cars at a hearing of the Commons Transport Select Committee.

 Mr McCartney said: “Some of us believe that the best form of transport, car wise, and perhaps most environmental friendly, is to keep older cars on the road.

 “You will admit that even electric cars actually do produce pollution, not only in the raw materials and energy used to manufacture them, but also in the fact the electricity has to be produced somewhere ? “

 Shapps, not surprisingly, just churned out the party line that analysis by the Department of Transport showed manufacturing and running an electric car is: “far more environmentally friendly than petrol or diesel.”

 Well, he would say that wouldn’t he ?

 Many, many, years ago I wrote a column that argued the same point as Karl McCartney, although not necessarily electric, but all new cars.

 The oft-quoted statement that 70 per cent of all Land Rovers made are still on the road is, of course, a load of b*ll*cks or what those of us with some knowledge of polls and statistic gathering call “a wild guess”.

 However, what is definitely not guesswork  is a walk around any gathering of Land Rovers at a show. 

 Old Land Rovers last a long time. Even my “modern plushmobile” L322 Range Rover is 14 years old – it was built before any of my great-grandchildren were born.

 There they are at any gathering. Rows and rows of “old” vehicles helping to save the environment by not using new materials or energy.

 Many of them are kept on the road by scavenging used parts – another saving on materials and energy (although the energy Dennis Taylor and I used thirty years ago to strip an old Range Rover of its side frames when rebuilding my 1972 classic, OSM, was considerable, it was a different sort of energy).

 And most are repaired or maintained either at home or in smaller garages where the electricity bill for lighting is a tiny fraction of that used by new car showrooms and manufacturing plants.

 And, of course, it isn’t only Land Rovers that are a part of this environmentally friendly world. From real classic vehicles that go to shows to fifteen-year-old saloons owned by young girls and kept on the road by dad or boyfriend every single one of them is contributing to that saving of raw materials and energy.

 And very year that goes by makes your old motor even more environmentally friendly!

My latest rebuild project may take some time


From some good news to some not-so.

 A few weeks ago Boris Johnson announced that the ban on petrol and diesel cars in the UK is being brought forward by five years from 2040 to 2035.

  And not only has it been moved five years but it also includes hybrid cars, so every new car sold after 2035 must be full electric or hydrogen.

 Now, that nice little 15-year-old Corsa or Micra with the pink steering wheel cover that is maintained and repaired by daddy or boyfriend that I mentioned above, aside, not many family or smaller cars last much longer than 15 years.

 So, when the ban comes into effect – in 15 years time – every car that is scrapped will be replaced by an electric one.

 And every year after that there will be fewer and fewer petrol and diesel engined vehicles and more and more electric vehicles.

 And where do you suppose those of us still driving our Land Rovers, Range Rovers and various classics will be buying our petrol and diesel ?

 If the majority of cars on the road don’t need petrol or diesel then the fuel companies will stop selling it.

 Wouldn’t you ?


Dennis Taylor took this 109″ to the Sahara and the Yorkshire Dales, you can probaby guess where this pic was taken


 It seems electrocar owners are as mean and stingy as the rest of us – no, sorry, I mean careful – about spending on  fuel.

 An email I read said that the ecotricity company is cheaper “by some margin” than geniepoint. “A typical fill up at ecotricity is £10.50 whereas geniepoint are (sic) £11.50.”


Like any safety-conscious motorist I reverse into my drive so I can drive out forrards onto a busy road.

 Last week while I was reversing up the drive, I had my usual quick scan of all the dials and lights on the dashboard and was greeted by the temp gauge heading inexorably towards the red.

 I was out of the way of traffic and people so shut down the engine straightaway.

 Got out, had a look under the front and watched gallons of orange coolant pouring out onto the concrete.

 It’s a good job I use an OAT coolant as well ‘cos the flow led to the rhubarb…

 I let the motor cool down for an hour then started up and moved back the ten feet that puts my Rangie where it lives, behind six-foot high gates.

 Shut it down again, before the gauge had even moved in fact, and waited for it to cool down again so I could “weigh the job up”.

 Then Bill Jones turned up for the “social distancing boys night in” that has replaced our regular boys night out at the pub. We have our beers on camping tables in my garage which is plenty big enough for keeping well over the two metres distance apart. Alternate weeks at his…

 Obviously I mentioned the earlier fun and games so he suggested we have a quick look. Of course I was expecting all sorts of horror stories like radiator or water pump.

 …and there it was… a rusted and broken jubilee clip that should have been attaching a hose to the bottom of the coolant reservoir. Bill had the correct size in his gas plumbing kit in the back of his motor.

 What ? Five minutes to pop the clip on and tighten it up, if that.

 As my anti-freeze was pretty low I had to go get another five litres the next day and then started the slow process of topping up with anti-freeze and water. 

 It took two effing days to top up, bleed, top up, bleed…

 I do miss the old days. Take the great big radiator cap off. Top up with whatever. Turn the engine on. Watch the water disappear down into the radiator, top up again. Watch a few bubbles appear, top up until the water starts to warm up. Squeeze the top hose a bit as the thermostat opens…

 Oh, and don’t forget, before all this, to turn the heater on to high…

 About a thousand years ago I didn’t know that I was supposed to turn my heater up when refilling the V8 in my SD1… in December…after replacing the water pump…

 A 230 mile journey without a working heater (air-locked in case anyone needs it explained) in winter served to teach me to never do that again.


I think I photographed this beauty  in the Lake District


The local police in Blackburn, Lancashire, where I live, pulled a van with false plates recently. 

 Nothing odd about that, you might think, except the plonker who made up the plates used a number that will not be issued for four years !


…and finally, although nothing to do with motoring as such – is it possible to cut cheese, for any recipe, without eating a piece ?

Electric Land Rovers/ Range Rovers ? … and other stuff

When I was ill a few months ago my Range Rover L322 battery went flat.

 And I’ll bet mine hasn’t been the only one through the current pandemic.

 Some joker said that at the end of lock-down there will be 23 million women ‘phoning their hairdresser on the same day. I added that there will also be 23 million men ‘phoning the  breakdown service to report a flat battery.

 Despite being one of those people in isolation ‘cos of my age and health, I was able to jump start her from my beloved Marjorie’s tin-box. I could leave the house because we’re all gated-up at the back.

 (An amusing aside here. I got the email from my doctor telling me to isolate at a time when I was so ill I couldn’t get out of bed !)

 I had to use the key in the vehicle door to get in – the remote wouldn’t work, that’s how flat the battery was.

 Eventually my Rangie was all charged and I could motor up and down my drive every couple of days to get all the fluids flowing and to keep the battery up to snuff – but I couldn’t get the remote to work.

 I had a look in the owner’s manual. No use. I had a trawl through tinternet. No use.

 So eventually I mailed my incredibly clever mate Luke Dickinson who used to sell replacement remote-control keys for  a lot less than Land Rover charged. In fact, I have one of his.

 By return Luke sent me a link ‘cos he said it was too complicated to write down.

 It’s a Youtube video from our old friends at Powerful UK who not only sell all sorts of nice things for Land Rovers and other off-roaders, but also produce loads of “how to” videos. Needless to say, after I’d follow the instructions in the video I was back to having a working remote key system ! I know the link looks weird, but from my side of the commuter screen it works.



I really need this for the supermarket run – dunno what it is tho’



Have you noticed – UK readers – that every car company TV commercial these days is for electrical vehicles ?  Every blinking one.

 The debate is going on and on – but petrolheads and dieselheads have lost. Electric cars are coming whether we like it or not. Even Jaguar Land Rover are producing them

 I’m not against electricity as a motive force in itself. We need engines and electricity is as good as petrol or diesel… in theory…

 What I am bothered about are the bits and pieces. From how do you charge your car if you live in a high-rise block of flats or terrace house, to where that charge is coming from. 

 These days I don’t believe anything I read or hear until I have checked it out myself from at least three different sources. That’s the abomination of “fake news” that makes me – a professional journalist all my working life – sick to the stomach. However, I have heard from a number of sources that the UK doesn’t have enough Power Station capacity to charge all the electric cars that would be needed to replace all the infernal (sic) combustion engined vehicles on the road. And there isn’t enough time to build enough to stick to government deadlines.

 And that’s assuming our highways authorities can actually provide the country with enough charging points.

 Then we have the physical problem of replacing all the infernal-engined vehicles with electric. 

 “Hello Mr Bloggs, this is the government. We noticed that you own a Ser 1 Land Rover/(insert any classic car here). This won’t do. You must scrap it tomorrow and buy an electric-engined vehicle…”


A neat rig from Facebook buddy Nick Kirkpatrick. The horsebox is now a stealth camper.


Have you got a head torch ? Or, rather, have you got three head torches ?

 You should have. You should have one in your car; one in your workshop and one in your house – where you used to keep the candles and nowadays keep a torch . 

 My “workshop” one is actually in my fishing waistcoat (vest in some parts of the world) which hangs up in my workshop so…

 A head torch is one of the most useful items there is. Just make sure you change the batteries at least once a year and you’ll be fine – unless you have one of the modern rechargeable jobbies.


 Last month I told you about Robert Lloyd’s superb pictures of Land Rovers and how he can do one of yours from a photograph. Then I forgot to put a link… doh!

 He doesn’t have a website of his own but you can find him via https://www.facebook.com/robert.lloyd.1420  


Happy 50th Birthday Range Rover – and here I am after driving one of the Darien Gap Range Rovers at Gaydon some years ago

The Range Rover Owner club has brought out an absolutely superb sticker to celebrate the 50th anniversary.

 The first batch sold out immediately and they had to order more. I suspect they’ll be needing more …and more…and more… 

 If you want one here’s the link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/RangeRoverOwner/



My mate Bill Jones has been doing some tidying up of old files during the recent enforced rest (haven’t we all…er… I’ve tried anyway)

 He found a letter I wrote to Off Road and Four Wheel Drive Magazine in 1985 when he was writing for them.

 In it I refer to the fact that both Bill and I were commuting into Manchester city centre at the time and that muddy, Lightweight Land Rovers with roll cages and bullbar were the perfect commuting vehicles.

…even black cabs got out of our way !


Next to spotting Land Rovers in films and TV shows is continuity mistake spotting.

 Like me, I guess most of you will have given up hope that anyone making detective programmes for television will ever get a grip on the differences between a rifle, a shotgun, a shell and a bullet. (A guy the other day told a detective that he used his .308 rifle loaded with dum-dums for shooting crows!) 

 I did see a nice one in a Midsomer Murder repeat the other day that is worth mentioning. We left a yard full of old Land Rovers and went into a barn where, on a shelf, was a row of old UK petrol cans – the ones they used to throw away during WW2  and replace with jerrycans whenever possible.

 One of these was used to start a fire and the baddie was caught because he went out and bought another “from the local petrol station” … er… Mr. Barnaby, sir, he really didn’t buy one from a petrol station in the 21st century…


 Minutes before the crash this Range Rover was clocked by Lancashire Police at 100mph in a 30mph zone. I’m not sure if the driver is in a healthy enough state to be done for the speeding offence just yet…

Freelander – A real Land Rover (and other stuff)

Welcome to only my second blog of 2020. I have not been well for most of this year – not exactly back to firing on all cylinders yet, but I can write and I can drive. Have been actively involved in and enjoyed both for more than 50 years I can tell you that NOT being able to do either was not fun.

 Hopefully I’ll be able to produce one a month again from now on.



Something recently set my mind spinning in the direction of the Freelander launch in Spain in 1997.

 I went along on behalf of a small weekly newspaper in Lancashire.

 We all knew the stories of course. It wasn’t going to be a “real” Land Rover. Now hasn’t that been proved wrong over the years.

 Off we went in the press cars, following a route given to us by the company people.

 That evening they put on a nice meal – the whole event overseen by the inestimable Mike Gould, probably Land Rover’s best Press Officer ever. He actually “liked” the vehicles himself y’see, not , by any means, a normal state-of-affairs for press officers in any business.

 There were some “prizes” given out in a humourous vein. I can’t remember any of the others but at some point Mike presented a Land Rover cap to the person who had got his press Freelander dirtiest on the route through the nearby mountains.

 Yep – I got that one !

 Then there is the time I went on a Rover Car Company weekend, reviewing …er… cars.

 Our personal vehicles were valet-parked some distance away and on the Sunday evening, at home-time, we massed at the entrance and our vehicles were brought to us…

 All except mine. Everyone else, from Jeremy Clarkson to the motoring correspondent of the Bigglesquick Gazette and News, had left and there I was, standing in front of this huge hotel, with my hold-all at my feet but no vehicle.

 Eventually they found my dirty, everything-on, 110 Land Rover. It had been parked with the company cars  not the press ! I rather liked the implied compliment. 

Number one son, Neil”s, superb Freelander with my old P38 on holiday.


In the town where I live, Blackburn, the traffic planners have been having another “go” at King Street.

 This reminded me about the non-story we used to talk about when I worked for local newspapers.

 This is how it goes…

 Traffic has been getting worse in more or less every town in the world since the 1960s.

 So it came about that a bunch of  people that we can call “traffic planners” (‘cos that’s what they are, their shiny diplomas from college prove it) got together in a department of the local council and drew up plans to keep the traffic flowing properly around the town.

 Often the plans included one-way streets, sometimes a few houses had to be knocked down.

 But, in most cases, after many years of looking at the problem, the new “traffic plan” worked.

 …er… now what ? 

 The traffic planners notice that it’s got very quiet in the office. There is nothing to do. They’ve already done it.

 So, they get together, have meetings and after a couple of years, come up with another traffic plan. Of course the Highways Committee  – all elected amateurs – do what they are told and the new plan comes into effect.

 And, surprise surprise, the plan thrown together in a couple of years, just to keep these people in jobs, doesn’t work as well as the original plan.

 Now, I bet some of you out there in readerland can think of an example where I am wrong… but not many.


On a TV show a woman was putting copies of Model Engineering Magazine on a shelf., and said to her friend: “See that’s something I can never see the point of. Looking at pictures of tractors”… now there, in that one sentence, is the entire battle of the sexes…


The drive from high street café outlets towards customers using their own reusable cups and bottles has made drink containers an area of particular growth for eco branded gifts. 

 At the same time there is a definite move towards items made in our own countries rather than China.

 The Americana recycled tumbler is made from 100% food grade recycled polypropylene. The H20 Eco Recycled Flip Lid Sports Bottle is made from 100% post-consumer PET (Polyethylene terephthalate) scraps, including Post Consumer Resin (PCR) and Polypropylene (PP).

 Both are manufactured in the UK, thereby maintaining a low carbon footprint. In fact they’re made not far from Elson Towers in Preston, Lancashire. Tel: 01772 429111 or on tinternet : https://businessgiftuk.com/eco-friendly-drinkware/


I was gazing out of the window a short while ago and I saw a girl walk past wearing an anorak type coat in urban camouflage, with a fluorescent pink fur edging to the hood. I thought: ‘Make your mind up, chuck.’


Although I have replaced most of my cast iron cookware with stainless steel, I still retain an interest so I was watching a ‘clean up” video on YouTube the other day when I heard: “It didn’t get that rusty in a day, you won’t get rid of it in a day.”

 A pretty good mantra for Land Rover owners I thought…

 (You do all know that non-stick chemicals and aluminium pots and pans are equally bad for you, right?)


Classic Motor Monthly is that newspaper we’ve all had handed to us at a car show or auto jumble over the years.

 It does exactly what it says on the masthead and covers the whole world of classic vehicles – with adverts that have come to the assistance of many of us on the Land Rover scene.

 With no shows around you won’t be getting a copy for a while, so it’s a good job they have a website: 



I’ve come across another artist for those who would like a pic of your own Land Rover/Range Rover.

 There should be one of  Robert Lloyd’s Land Rover paintings somewhere around about here…

 From your favourite photograph Rob does a drawing on 350gsm art paper and frames it in usually a 20×16 inch frame. Including p&p prices start at around £65.

 Of course they have your reg number on and you will be the only person to own that one unique painting – that’s a fantastic memory.


Something that popped up on Facebook recently was a table that fits on your rear wheel – something along the lines of the wheel step that achieved a minor popularity some years ago.

 It is a great idea on the face of it, and chalked up quite a few “likes”. However, to sit and relax with your cocktail you are totally dependent on where your wheel is in relation to the sun, ruts, mud etc.

  I once made one of those side sun shades, attached to the roof rack on PKV, my 110. You’d be amazed (possibly, unless you’ve had one yourself) how often my motor was parked in an unsuitable place.

 So I got a movable sunshade.

 It is much simpler to be able to pull out a folding table and chair and place them “exactly” where you want them, rather than where your back wheel finishes up…

Some stuff about Land Rovers and Range Rovers

Just a few words of apology for not writing a column/blog in January.

 I have been unable to use my right arm or sit at my computer, drive or do lots of other things.

 I’m not completely sorted yet, but I can now sit here and write for ten minutes or so before the pain says enough.

 So let’s get on with what will probably be a shortened bit o’ writing. (see what I did there ?)


In my December column/blog I put up a pic taken in a professional studio of my lovely L322 Range Rover Vogue.

 I’ve just celebrated four years of ownership last week, by the way – wish I could drive her 😦

 I said I’d tell you why the photo session took place.

 It was my old friend and protagonist Patrick from LRM, who got in touch with me. 

 I reckon I’m the only person he knows who runs an L322 and he wanted proper pics of mine, plus other models of Land Rover/Range Rover, for a buying guide in the Winter edition of LRM. It did raise a few eyebrows, seeing as how we didn’t part company amicably, but both Patrick and I are grown up enough to not hold grudges. Blimey, life’s too short for that sort of thing.

 Loads of us had to go to Derbyshire for the picture shoot and the beloved Marjorie and I had a nice day’s out drive through the Peak District – on expenses.

 Of course I’m not going to spend my pension on buying a copy of the mag – and LRM is too mean to send out freebies to people like me these days. So I can’t see the pics actually in the mag.

 …and we were promised some copies of the professional pics (sorry, I’ve forgotten the name of the photographer) and they haven’t arrived yet either… sigh.

 Mind you. I seem to recall someone in the trade telling me once that they get a bunch of mags sent to them, ‘cos they advertise. So if anyone has got a copy of the LRM Winter edition they could let me have I’d be most grateful.

 Hmmm, I notice that LRM has a new owner these days. I wonder if the new people are a bit less stingy than Dennis Publishing who stopped sending out free mags to the contributors ?

One I took of my beautiful L322 at the pro picture session


  I can’t remember where I saw this, probably Facebook, but I think it’s really funny:

 “I was struggling to sell my Land Rover. A neighbour said he was interested but worried about the fuel economy. I let him borrow it for a week and every night I sneaked into his drive and poured a couple of litres of petrol into the tank. He bought it…”


I noticed on the internet some people talking about a drive across Morecambe Bay – obviously with a guide.

 Dennis Taylor and I did this trip in 1997 in his Ninety. I wrote it up in whatever magazine I was working for at the time.

 After the crossing we spent well over an hour power washing the underside of his Ninety with clean water yet within two years the underside and chassis were like lace.

 Neither of us will even park on the seafront these days on a windy day, let alone drive on a beach or across Morecambe Bay.


 While we have all these bleeding hearts telling us how to save the planet, quietly some people have got off their rear ends and are doing something about it.

 So why do we not hear more on the national news about companies like MacRebur ? Just one tiny bit on the BBC.

 That’s a company that produces a road making material from non-recyclable waste plastics. With each km of road laid using MacRebur products they use up the equivalent weight of 684,000 bottles. One tonne of MacRebur mix contains the equivalent of 80,000 plastic bottles.

 So, does your local Highways Department use MacRebur product on your local roads ? No, neither does mine. Rest assured tho, I have told them all about it. You could as well.

 https://www.macrebur.com is a fascinating read.


Are you a YouTube browser ? So am I. 

 We watch everything, from excerpts from “Game Of Thrones”, recipes for Spam stir-fry and how to make home-made tools.

 And there you have it. Tune in and watch a guy cutting, hammering, welding, and painting lumps of metal and wood. Then… ta da… he uses it to unscrew a bolt.

 Now, I dunno about you lot (actually I do, but I’m using sarcasm) but we already have boxes full of tools purpose-designed for undoing nuts and bolts.

 As one guy wrote in the comments section: “Up next: watch him spend an hour glueing individual grains of sand to a piece of paper to make a homemade sheet of sandpaper that he could buy for 30 cents.”


 If you love Land Rovers then it’s a fairly good bet that you like the Discovery and the 110 and 2B forward controls.

 What if there was a way of combining a worn-out Discovery with a Fwd Control ?

 Like, below, the Rotodama, pickup …

http://www.rotodama.co.uk tells you all about it, but as you can see, and probably guess from what I have already written, you get a tube-frame cab with bonded in panels and a nice neat pickup rear.

 Dunno about anyone else but it struck me that it might make a very nice base for a camper – with most of the mechanicals easy to source Discovery items.

 When I emailed Thomas Cowley to ask him for pics he replied that he’s building a house, on the Isle of Wight, at the moment so has put the project on the back burner for a few months – although the prototype is earning its’ corn by carting building materials around a rough field/building site.

… but just in case you want to restore your very old Discovery – and so Roy Preston and the gang don’t come after me – you should also look at the Project Jay Group on https://www.pjpg.co.uk


 There… I managed it. It only took me a week to write this column/blog, ten minutes at a time. See you next time.

Rebuilding your Land Rover or Range Rover ?

Winter in the Northern Hemisphere means rebuild time for lots of us.

 All over the place motors that have chugged along all year are being shoved into garages and taken apart, only to be put back together again in a slightly different (hopefully, better) format.

 And in some circumstances a very big “bag of bits” – more accurately a trailer full and a load of cardboard boxes full of  parts –  have been acquired which will, it is hoped, one day emerge from the garage or shed as a real live Land Rover.

 Some folk post on Facebook asking for advice on how best to strip their motor and catalogue the parts to make the rebuild as trouble-free as possible.

 Not everybody is on Facebook of course, so here’s my advice.

 The very first thing you should do is buy yourself a parts book.

 The exploded diagrams in this book are just so good I would advise not even trying the job without one.

 When I rebuilt my 1972 Range Rover Classic, from the chassis up, about a thousand years ago, one of the next very best ideas around these days wasn’t available to us.

 Get yourself a good quality digital camera, or use your mobile ‘phone camera. Take lots of pictures, from many different angles, and you will be surprised just how useful they can be when you come to put it all back together again.

 Again, before you even start the job, work out where all the parts are going to be stored. You really don’t want to be just propping things up against the wall of your shed or garage.

 If you are lucky enough to have a spare bedroom or another room in your house, prepare it first, so <say> all body parts can be stored together.

 Yes, take your overalls off, boots off, wash your hands if she tells you to, and take them as soon as you have them off the vehicle. Putting them to one-side while you do another job doesn’t work very well.

 You want labels on everything as it is removed. Pound shops, Poundstretcher  and the like, have loads of labels with string in the stationery debt. And clear plastic bags, for smaller items. They also sell lots of cheap hard plastic kitchen containers with lids – and don’t forget those labels

 Don’t throw anything away initially. If original , dynamo and starter are very much repairable. If you really need new parts compare them to the old ones you’ve just taken off to make sure they are the same. 

 Now when it comes to the actual work have you got all the equipment you need ? If you are working on a really old Land Rover get some good Whitworth spanners. 

 Work on each part of the vehicle in turn. For instance, if you are rebuilding axles, take the front one apart and refurbish it before starting on the rear. If you want jobs that are beyond you doing, say gearbox or engine, send them away to be done while you are working on other areas.

 When it comes down to putting everything back together again you really can’t do better than to use new fasteners. 

 For this you really need the specialists: LR Fasteners, tel: 01204 302589 , http://www.landrover-parts.net/

 They do kits for all Series, 90, 110 and Range Rover Classic. All the nuts, bolts, washers, rivets required to undertake the job.

 There may be other companies offering a similar service but I have lost count of the numbers of recommendations I have heard for them. And they also sell parts catalogues.

 And, finally… don’t rush. Take your time and don’t self-impose silly time-limits. It’s done when it’s done.

I’m not sure which motor we were rebuilding here. It’s on Dennis Taylor’s drive anyway. Yes, that’s me having a play.


What’s the oddest thing you’ve done with your tool kit ? 

 I bought a new brush for scrubbing my back in the bath and shower and it kept on slipping from my hand. So I cut a load of grooves in the handle with my multitool …



After publishing the last column/blog Tom McGuigan changed the date of his September Adventure Overland Show from Sept 26-27 to Sept 19-20. We’ve discussed why but I still don’t get it.

 I have changed the dates in the last column/blog, but just in case folk don’t read the last ones again, it’s here as well.

 This is one the beloved Marjorie and I love to go to – we only missed 2019’s ‘cos we were at our granddaughter’s wedding.

We missed the Yorkshire wartime Experience in 2019 ‘cos I am an old idiot who can’t read a calendar correctly…

 I hope to make it this year as I have heard so much about it. 

 It’s in a field at Cleckheaton, West Yorkshire , Postcode BD4 6RN, dates: July 3,4,5. Website: http://nelz60.moonfruit.com 


 I read this in an online advert for a Land Rover 90: “Typical features: Radio/Stereo cassette”… And, on the next line: “Stereo Radio Cassette”

 That’s always good to know if you are looking for a new 4×4.


Amongst the talented upcyclers who appear in the excellent TV programme “Money For Nothing”, one of the favourites of the beloved Marjorie and myself is Neil Wragg who makes absolutely gorgeous bags (from waterproof phone holders to huge holdalls) from all sorts of odd materials – old sofa coverings, airbeds, Land Rover tyre inner tubes etc etc. 

  That’s not why he’s mentioned here of course. It’s ‘cos Neil also has a 2001 Td5 as you can hopefully see here if I press the right buttons.

 As well as working hard on paddling adventures (that’s a 52 year old canvas sailing canoe in the pic) the Ninety carries a lot of old leather sofas for the programme and his bag making business. https://ragsto.com

 He’s rescued a lot of British Racing Green leather from a Land Rover dealership and, also, bizarrely, he skinned all the leather furniture from a local hotel to find that underneath it’s all Jaguar branded. (He made a load of bags from that!) Those old LR inner tubes get made into weatherproof pouches. 

 Neil told me: “Old Land Rovers never die, but the really old ones these days get turned into bags and barbecues! “


 Still on the TV theme, we’re just ending another series of “Find It Fix It Flog It”. 

 And this series has seen a couple of changes. Nobody is going to be upset that presenter Henry Cole seems to have given up his Ninety in favour of driving around in a Ser 3 swb, but we are all missing his mate and restorer Guy Willison. 

 I don’t think they’ve fallen out tho’. Guy has set up his own company, custom-building motorbikes, so presumably he hasn’t the time to be on the show these days.

STOLEN Land Rover ? Stop the scumbags

Like everyone else on the practical side of Land Rover ownership I have kept my motors on and off the road with a combination of new and used parts.

 Some things, like brakes and steering, are better new, ‘cos they are unworn.

 Other things, like body parts (think, in particular, back doors) are beyond the pocket of most of us when new. So we buy used.

 Nowadays, however,  the theft of Land Rovers has got to epidemic proportions and a lot of enthusiasts are becoming worried that they might be fueling the epidemic.

 The phrase “supply and demand” can easily become one of “you demand, so we supply”.

 One in November was absolutely beyond the pale. The doors and other parts were taken from an Ambulance Service Land Rover parked at Beverley Ambulance Station overnight. What sort of scum are we dealing with ?

 On Facebook we are seeing more and more posts about stolen Land Rovers. I don’t know about the rest of you but I alway “share” such posts and I understand that some have been found as a result of the news shooting around the country at electronic speed within hours

 So what can we do about this unpleasant crime wave? The first thing, I would suggest, is to be extra vigilant about buying “used” parts. Ask leading questions about where these parts are from and why they are for sale. 

 Shop with the already known breakers – there are plenty of them – and buy from an address, not a carpark.

 The second thing is to protect your pride and joy.

 Here we start small and move on up. This is not a comprehensive list, but here are some suggestions that I call an “at least” list.

 If you own a Land Rover and don’t have a steering wheel bar or one of those lockable covers then you are an idiot.

 From here we move to tracking systems and immobilisers. The first is only useful when your motor has been stolen. I’d rather stop it from going in the first place.

 If you have an old and tatty (“they” call it patina these days) vehicle then a hidden switch in the ignition system works fine, as does a rally-style cut off switch. Just make sure it’s a really good quality switch. As I have written before, in the 1960s when we were all fitting such switches to our Minis and Anglias et al some of the cheaper ones burned out. Not funny as you pull out into fast moving traffic…

 Another idea if your Land Rover is old enough, take out the rotor arm and pop it into your pocket or handbag. Of course you can’t do that with newer vehicles that don’t have one…

 Wheel clamps are cheap enough, buy two.

 A friend of mine once asked me to push/pull his trailer in his yard. Just a few feet out of the way. I moved it and the world’s loudest, most horrible, scream filled the air.

 He thought it was funny. He had attached a rape alarm, with fishing line, to one of the wheels.

 It was tiny, easily tucked away behind the wheel and it made more noise than any car alarm I have ever heard.

 Buy two or three. Fit one where it can be seen so scumbag thinks he’s clear when he disconnects it.

 Have a good think about where you park. If you have a drive can you fit gates? Can you put your trash bins, or anything else, in the way of removing the vehicle ?

 Can you chain it to anything ? (Just remember if you have done so. A friend of mine pulled his rear cross member off when he forgot his Lightweight was chained to a ring attached to his front wall).

  A lockable bollard bolts down very well to a concrete drive.

 If you don’t have a drive to make more secure, look around to see if it might be easier a few minutes walk away. You don’t HAVE to park right outside your house if there is a more secure alternative nearby.

 Here is where I am supposed to write something along the lines of I don’t want to worry you, or make you paranoid about losing your Land Rover.

 The problem is that I DO want to worry you, and I DO want you to be paranoid.

 I’ve only ever had one car stolen – and it wasn’t a Land Rover – but believe me it’s a horrible thing to happen. It’s also incredibly inconvenient, even if you have got another vehicle to drive around in.

 Make no bones about it. Someone wants your Land Rover. Either in bits or to ship abroad in a container. Every Land Rover is at risk and we all know the mantra that if you make it hard enough they’ll go elsewhere. So protect it, and do it now.


My old 110 PKV – imagine how much that would be worth broken up


 New – to me at any rate – thinking about engines from Jaguar Land Rover in a national newspaper recently : “If you’re not careful, you end up with such big batteries with electrical vehicles, you make it so heavy that when you race down the autobahn, the range disappears. So other technologies could come into play, potentially hydrogen,” said Nick Rogers, JLR’s head of engineering.


Last month I wrote that the “deal breaker” for me on the new Defender  – apart from the cost obviously – is the electrical towing bracket. There is just no way that I would trust the numerous types of trailer that I tow to an electrical motor.

 I was talking to a guy who works for JLR the other day and voiced my fear. And he said that it was his understanding that a “normal” – that is, fastened on using nuts and bolts – towing bracket was going to be offered as an option. 

 If that’s the case then I like the new Defender, even if I still can’t afford one.


 However, I still can’t get this “crazy” idea out of my head. How about, instead of spending upwards of £80,000 on a new Defender, I spend £40,000 on either completely rebuilding a 110 – galvanised chassis, new engine, almost everything, really, myself – or give the same amount of cash to one of the expert companies I know to do the job for me ?

 That way I not only get to save £40k, but I get a much better looking vehicle as well…

 I bet I’m not the only person counting their pennies and gazing into space with that idea in mind.


My L322 at a recent professional photographic session. I can’t tell you why until the next column/blog



The Land Rover and 4×4 show season starts soon with the indoor 4×4 Expo at the Stafford Showground on Sunday February 23. 

 For more information go to www.4x4xpo.co.uk

The Adventure Overland Show, more than just Land Rovers and a great show for any off-roader or traveller is at Stratford-upon-Avon Racecourse, April 25-26. And there is another one, same place, same organisers, September 19-20. http://www.adventure-overland-show.com

The Gaydon Land Rover Show is May 9-10 at the British Motor Museum. http://www.britishmotormuseum.co.uk

Also to look forward to is the Billing Land Rover Show on the farm across the river from the Aquadrome where the famous off-road course is. That’s June 27-28. Go to http://www.thebillingoffroadexperience.co.uk 

More good news is that the LRO Show will be on at Peterborough, September 11-13 despite the stories about houses being built on the site.

 …er… note-to-self, I must take my winter sleeping bag this time!


An SVR Range Rover Sport – I didn’t dare ask how much. I’m not keen on the colour scheme.

Watching a YouTube film of car crash testing reminded me of a report I read many years ago after one maker tested their vehicles in that way.

 The dummies were said to be “only slightly dead”…

Is Your Land Rover Or Range Rover Insured ?

 I’ve written nothing about the new Defender up to now ‘cos I hadn’t seen one close up.

 When I did go to a dealer to look one over the other day I was interested in it, as a new off-roader from my favourite manufacturer, despite the fact that it will be a long time before I can afford one.

 Then I found the deal-breaker.

 The towing bracket swings out from underneath operated electrically. 

 There are so many things here that can go wrong that I’m almost at a loss to carry on writing. Like I just wrote above, for myself and the vast majority of my friends it’s a deal breaker.


 Have “they” changed the laws about tyres protruding from wheel arches ? I always thought tread couldn’t extend outside the body, yet, these days we see everything, from Land Rovers to VW vans with tyre tread sticking out.

 So I had a look through the vehicle regs…

 Reg 63 MV (Con and Use) Regs 1986 states:

 “Subject to paragraphs (3) and (5), every vehicle to which this regulation applies shall be equipped with wings or other similar fittings to catch, so far as practicable, mud or water thrown up by the rotation of its wheels or tracks.”

 Quite obviously to me, if tyre treads protrude outside the body then the vehicle is not so “equipped” and mud and water are not being caught by the bodywork.

 The maximum fine is £1000.

 Now then, many if you lot out there are thinking that your vehicle has got tyres protruding and it has been through plenty of MOTs so I must be talking (writing) rubbish.

 Here, again, I am thinking about insurance. Those pesky insurance companies will happily take your money for all manner of naughties, particularly if you haven’t mentioned them – and even pay out for minor prangs – but, as I have written many times before, when faced with a big payout insurers will look for any way of getting out of it. 

 Just because you have not been caught yet doesn’t make it ok.

 I mentioned a while ago about the guy who was prosecuted for having no insurance because he had fitted a big bore exhaust and not mentioned it to his insurance company who, quite rightly, told the Police that he was, therefore, not insured.

 Anything, and that means ANYTHING AT ALL, that changes the performance of your vehicle, or alters the design of your vehicle so that it affects the law (like tyres sticking out) invalidates your insurance.

 Hey, don’t shoot the messenger – it just does, sorry.

 And here’s another one for you. My model of L322 Range Rover has a small explosive device fitted to the positive terminal that blows and disconnects the battery if the vehicle is involved in a crash.

 Because this device might – just might – be triggered during a jump start, Land Rover have added a remote jump start terminal a few inches away, outside of the battery “box”. This is where you attach the positive clip of your jump leads.

 On Facebook I read of a guy who has removed this terminal.

 I asked if he had told his insurance company and he asked why he should do that.

 Just think about this for a minute. The manufacture has fitted something to their vehicle that they consider to be a safety device. The owner has removed it. The insurance company does not know that he has done this…

 Do you think that he is insured ?


I know “patina” vehicles are the current fashion – but is this taking it too far ?


My moaning about the overnight cold at the Peterborough LRO Show struck a chord with a lot of you camper/off-roaders.

 As I wrote in September my problem was that I took my summer sleeping bag instead of my five season Snugpack. 

 That’s what happens in this country. During my last fishing trip a few weeks before Peterborough I was so hot I was lying on top of the sleeping bag with the door and window open in my Teardrop. So off I went to Peterborough without  taking notice of the weather forecast for overnight temperatures. 

 So it’s goodbye to my summer sleeping bag.

 On a related subject it struck me the other day that I haven’t seen my space blanket for a while (yes, STILL trying to sort my garage out). You know what I mean, the silver plastic foil blankets they hand out at the end of Marathon races.

 Mine didn’t come from a Marathon (as if!) – it was given to me by a member of the Royal Family, and that’s a long story! 

 It lived in my vehicles for many years and I have to find it ‘cos, let’s face it, the thing really works in reflecting your body heat back atcha. 

 Ah, but don’t think of using one for staying warm overnight. It works during what is called “the grace period” – perhaps a few hours – and then, once you’ve sweated into it it will actually cool you down. There are some very interesting Youtube films about that.

 Nope, you need to do what I should have done, take your thicker sleeping bag – or what I did, which was put my clothes back on ! 


 Back to sorting my garage out. So far, in recent weeks, I have, at long last, found my machette, but I still can’t find my folding saw or my folding army spade.

 Now, in what universe would I not have stored those three items together ? Beats me.


Another one that I don’t know who or where.


 Although my Teardrop caravan is all wired up ready for mains and/or 12 volt operation I haven’t bothered sorting all that out. I cook on a little gas stove in my galley, or a home-made hobo stove outside, and I use a head-torch for when it goes dark. Yes, I carry a spare.

 Something I came across recently ‘tho has got me thinking.

 The “Travel Buddy” is a portable, oven that can cook, bake or just keep things warm using your car 12 volt system.

 Plug it in to your cigarette lighter socket, like a cooler, turn it on and load it with anything from sausage rolls to a pre-packed meal…

 Designed in Australia, www.fourby.com sell ‘em in this country.


Have you subscribed (for free!) to The Mud Life internet magazine yet ?

 Edited by Damian Turner, who some of you will remember as a writer with the now defunct Land Rover World, The Mud Life is filled with articles about off-roaders ( there are other makes besides Land Rovers y’know) and off-roading.

 Damian knows his stuff and his writing is always entertaining. He’s on issue 8 currently and, like I said above, you can read it for free.

 Find it at www.themudlife.co.uk


 I’ve finally sorted my Range Rover cloth patch.

 I found a guy on Ebay who made two for me – at a very reasonable £3.49 each. There should be a pic here.

On Ebay search for carmensnorthstar; on Facebook, North’s Embroidery Patches; or telephone him on 07769 272878.

Bug Out in your Land Rover or Range Rover – and a working heater

“Buggin’ Out” has been a bit of a thing for a while now. The general consensus is that it grew out of the survivalist mentality of people who were worried about nuclear war and/or the collapse of civilisation. 

 So, basically, an off-to-the-woods situation should disaster actually happen.

 Very few people take a war or zombie apocalypse seriously these days but the whole camping out, living off the land and driving off-road scenario is an acceptable way of life to a lot of us.

 Type Bug Out Trailers, or Bug Out Vehicles into Google and YouTube and there is enough kit there to keep you happily drooling for hours. Plus lots of ideas and “how to’s” for off-road camping vehicle preparation.

 Anything goes – from a single one-man tent at the side of your Land Rover to something like my Teardrop caravan, or a full-blown off-roading campervan built onto a MAN eight-wheeler !

 I often watch YouTube videos from a Facebook friend, Rich Torn, (search: Bug Out Vehicles UK) who has a superbly sorted out Defender 127 ambulance/camper conversion.

 And I was delighted with one of his comments the other day – just to show that they don’t take the whole thing too seriously: “It’s just some fat men in the woods.” !

Rich Torn and his 127 camper conversion


 I didn’t realise that there were any standard straight-out-of-the-Army Lightweight Land Rovers left these days, until a mate came ‘round with his “new” one asking for some help and advice.

 First off he wanted to know what the light switch did.

 He wanted to know more than my first answer: “turns the lights on” so I told him.

 HST – headlights, side and tail lights and number plate light; T – tail lights and number plate light only; CONV – convoy light only, so no indicator or brake lights; SCONV – front side lights plus convoy light. He’d worked out what OFF meant all by himself.

 I explained how I’d removed that switch and replaced it with a three-way (sidelights and number plate light; headlights, sidelights and number plate light; and OFF) on my own Lightweight about a thousand years ago, but, after we had a look at the wiring which seemed in good shape, he decided to keep the original switch. 

 Replacing the NATO 12 pin trailer socket was necessary for towing his trailer and caravan – and this can be a bit more difficult.

 What I did was to tap into the existing circuits with extensions to the seven core cable which I wired into a civvy socket plugged into my trailer board so we could check the lights as we went along.

 Brake lights are green/purple; tail lights are red; left indicator is green/red and the right indictor is green/white.

 Of course I got my left and right the wrong way ‘round, as usual, the first time, but the trailer board showed me the error of my ways.

 He did ask which cable colour combination was for the headlights… then had the grace to blush after I gave him “the stare”!

 It’s actually a rather nicely looked-after vehicle and, after some tidying up, he’s promised to join the Lightweight Land Rover Club and, hopefully, take the motor to some shows next year.


 Another bloke was on the phone asking for advice after the heater in his 110 stopped working after he’d flushed the radiator and put in new water and anti-freeze.

 It reminded me of a 200-mile trip one winter about a thousand years ago when the heater on OSM 400M, my 1972 Range Rover Classic also stopped working after I’d flushed and “filled” up.

 I ended up driving with two coats on, gloves and a hood up…

 I told him to do what I had to do when I got home and thawed out.

 First off, turn the heater on. Secondly, remove the radiator cap and start the engine. Then have a look in the radiator… Yep, the water level dropped as the heater matrix filled up!

 Turn the engine off. Top up the radiator with a mixture of water and anti-freeze. Start the engine again and watch the water in the radiator, as it starts to warm up I’d be surprised if no bubbles of air appear as the water – plus any air locks – is pumped around. Again, top up as necessary.

 Test the water temperature with your finger until it starts to get warm, then radiator cap on, and hop inside to find a nice warm heater working perfectly.

 I wish I’d known that BEFORE I drove to Swansea all those years ago.

 …oh yes, as with all liquid top-ups, after a short drive, check the level again.

Another one of those pics I took somewhere and have forgotten where


Weight isn’t the same problem when off-road vehicle camping as it is for walkers, but there’s equally no reason NOT to save a bit of weight here and there when you can.

 Something I’ve been meaning to mention for ages is a company called “Summit To Eat” who make freeze-dried “adventure food” in packets. Very popular with the mountaineering and walking lot  and no reason why we can’t join in.

 I’ve been eating their stuff for a while now – with a wide choice of mains that include Pasta Bolognaise; Chicken Tikka with Rice; Beef and Potato Stew and seven others; plus a choice of breakfasts and desserts.

 All you need to do is to be able to boil up some water. Pour it into the pack, stir and there’s a tasty meal ready in ten minutes. Check them out on http://www.summittoeat.com 

A hot meal in minutes


 I heard of a new car-related scam the other day.

 A friend of mine had a car for sale. Two blokes came to look at it and agreed to pay the asking price – which, for the sake of this story we will call £4000 (‘cos I forget what it actually was). 

 Then the one driving said he had to go to an urgent appointment but would leave his mate behind to settle up and drive it back.

 After he left bloke 2 said that he only had £3500 on him so would that be ok?

 Of course, many people would accept that, rather than leave bloke 2 on his own without any way of getting home… a good way to get a nice discount.

 Except that my mate wasn’t all that bothered about the sale and will not be bamboozled by anyone, so he refused and told bloke 2 that he had better get a move on if he wanted to catch the next bus a mile away down in the village.

 Of course, we all reckon that bloke 1 would have been waiting round the next corner anyway.


Some people can never “properly” retire, as in relax and do nothing.

 I know, I’m one of them. Eleven years ago I stopped “going into work” at a newspaper yet here I am today, still writing for a music magazine and doing this column/blog.

 David Bowyer is another one of us. Since selling his winch business he hasn’t been sitting with his feet up in comfy slippers.

 He’s making and selling a bit of ingenuity he calls the Land Rover Roof Locker – and it’s a very nice bit of kit.

 If I still had my 110 I’d most certainly have bought one by now. 

 To put it simply, it’s a system that converts the unused space in the upper curved area of a Land Rover hard top into storage shelves.

 And because of where they are, out of view from outside the vehicle, these shelves give you a secure place for valuables as well as more usual items like dry clothes.

…oh, and the 9mm plywood shelving also adds a measure of sound insulation.

 Like I said before, a nice bit of kit… have a look at www.davidbowyer.co.uk for more info and if you’re a “short-arse” (like me and David) you might be interested in his seat risers as well.

The Land Rover Show, Peterborough, 2019

Sitting in the world’s biggest queue for camping spaces at the LRO Show at Peterborough this year it was nice to note how pleasant everyone was standing around chatting in the sunshine.

 It was, in fact, a pointer to how the whole weekend was going to be.

 After missing this autumn show for many years I had a great time – and it appears that I wasn’t the only one. I didn’t hear one negative comment.

 On the way down to the show, on the A1, I passed a Ninety pickup a couple of times… and there he was in the queue just in front of me. So I told him, at last, that one of his rear brake lights was out. I guess he wasn’t going to have a problem picking up a new bulb from one of the many trade stands.

 It takes next to no time to set up my Teardrop and Land Rover daytent so I was quickly able to have a drive around looking for the Range Rover Owner’s Club stand where my L322 was to spend the weekend.

 On the way ‘round I found Ian and Sue Foster setting up their Lightweight Club stand before, working my way up and down the rows, I at last found Matt, Mark and Paul N. Drane setting up the ROC stand.

 Next job had to be to find my way back to my camping spot, so I could do the journey in reverse on the Saturday morning…

… oh, there it was, I could see my Teardrop from the stand!

 Land Rovers and Range Rovers as far as the eye could see, stands being set up, fires being lit, bbq smoke spreading over the site and, for a change in September, a lovely warm and sunny weekend. It was all starting out so well.

 That evening I shared a beer on the Lightweight stand with Ian and Sue and “the mad Welshman” (that’s how I was introduced to Stuart Inch!)

 Stuart dug out the stove he has made from a gas bottle and, with wood, coal and diesel fuel, soon had it roaring away… it reminded me that I need to get going over winter making my ammo box stove.

 My big problem is the chimney, I still haven’t worked that out yet.

 Now Stuart had a long piece of stovepipe as his chimney, complete with a wire mesh spark arrestor…

 As smoke and sparks poured out into the night sky Sue Foster exclaimed that it looked “pretty”. Hmmm, yes, but her caravan awning wasn’t far away…

 “I have to rethink the mesh don’t I?” asked Stuart!

 The lovely warm day was followed by a freezing cold night. At 1.30 am I woke and put my shirt back on; at 2.30 I put my fleece on; at 4.30 I put my jeans back on… guess who had brought his summer sleeping bag ? 

 At 6.30am I got up and made myself a brew, sitting in my daytent with all the flaps shut and still shivering. And I wasn’t the only one – until the sun got going the main topic of conversation was not vehicles, but how cold we had all been in the night. (That’s except for Paul who was staying in a nearby hotel and took the p*ss out of us!)

 ‘Our’ stand filled up nicely with shiny Range Rovers before one of the most interesting vehicles turned up – an L322 stripped out for racing. I can’t find my note of the names, but, basically we are talking about three JLR employees who are building a track racer out of an L322 – so far they have stripped out 480kg. Do an internet search on “Rangeracer” for more details.

 Off around the show I went, after drooling over the racer and eating my haggis toastie, and one of the first people I came across was Edd Cobley and his nearly-finished rally Defender. I’ve known Edd, through his father Vince, since he was a teenager and it’s great to see that he’s stayed with the marque we all love.

 Watch out for him in the British Rally Championship and Hill Rallies.

Edd Cobley and his rally motor

 Next to bump into was Simon Chadwick, from the Camel Owners Club. Simon was kind enough to say that he’s followed my writing since I wrote about B791 PKV, my 110, but, as so often happens these days, he was unaware that I am now doing this column/blog… I still have to find a way to let more people know that I have not died or retired… Andrew Hoddleston, pictured here somewhere was another “fan”, but he said he’s so far behind reading his mags that I’m still there !

Andrew Hoddleston having a look around the show as the sun goes down. The roof of a Land Rover is aways a good platform

 Still walking around I just had to stop and ask at one stand how many people had pointed out that their sign: “Credit cards excepted” should have read “accepted”… they told me no-one else had noticed it.

 One of the most popular points of the show is always the trial in the central arena. I watched it for a while – things have come on a lot since I used to trial in a leaf sprung motor. Some of the modern suspension set-ups are amazing. It was all made more interesting by the very knowledgeable commentary from my old mate Russ Brown and another guy whose name I failed to write down.

 Still walking around I saw a bloke and a woman rolling three wheels and tyres through the crowds… three ? I’m sure there was a good reason…

Kyle Cooper’s Ser 1 has already been in a few mags, but it’s so pretty it’s always worth another look


 I always enjoy the signs and t-shirt slogans: a picture of a woman driving with the slogan: “If it has tyres or testicles it’s gonna give you problems”; and “The only place for a coil spring is up Zebedee’s arse”… I’m thinking that’s for a leafer fan !

 I came across LRO Editor Neil Waterson, grabbing a quick bite to eat. Poor bloke, sponsors a great show and was so busy he’d not had the chance to see much of it at all. It reminded me of the days when I worked for a magazine (LRO being one of course) and the whole show weekend would be just work, work, work… yeah, right!

 Coincidently the next person I bumped into was my “last” boss, LRM’s Patrick Cruywagen, with his son Isaac. Life’s too short to hold grudges and we had a good chat.

 This weekend was at the end of the week when the new Defender was launched to the press and public and one of the big talking points was the fact that one magazine had “blown” JLR’s embargo with an article the weekend before the launch.

 It may mean nothing to you lot but JLR are, rightly, upset about the broken embargo and you can be sure the press as a whole will suffer in the future. I mentioned that the buzz was that it had been a South African journalist responsible and Patrick told me that, through his South African contacts, he had been able to point the JLR Press Office in the right direction to identify the culprit.

What a beauty !

 There is always a lot to look at on the various stalls on such a show. So let’s have a look at what particularly attracted my attention:

  One of the most impressive to me was on the Optimill stand – a rear number plate light with built in camera for Defenders – that’s the “old” ones of course. A beautiful bit of kit that I would have grabbed at once if I still had my 110. (optimillraceproducts.com)

 I spent a long time watching this year’s “project” on the Polybush stand where Gary Tuffnell and crew were swapping a Ser 3 onto a Richards Chassis in just the two days. Guess what bushes they were fitting at the same time ! (polybush.co.uk)

New chassis project

 I mentioned Neil Ensor and his stolen jerrycan in my last column/blog and I popped in to his fourby.com stand for a chat. Fourby don’t just sell off-roading stuff, I found. They have lots of camping gear as well. Very worth a look at their website if you like going away to the wilds for a while in your Landy… or even just camping at a show.

 I’ve heard of the Vortex exhaust people and had a long chat with them on their stand. I’ve no first hand experience myself – do any of you lot know if it works ?

 I also chatted for a while with my old friend Neil Hopkinson who takes folk on guided tours with his company Impala Adventures.

 One of nature’s gentlemen is Neil, a lovely fellow.

 Many years ago I was on my way to Morocco when a security man at Manchester Airport recognised a Series fuel-pump in my hand luggage via the x-ray machine. (He was, of course, a Land Rover fan himself). I was taking it to Neil out in the desert – but when I got there he’d already fixed his broken one! (impalaadventures.co.uk)

 With a bit of luck there should be a pic on this page that I took at Land Rover Plates. Lots of different wording on metal plates, made in the Land Rover style. For the back of your motor, or the wall in your garage or office, I was very, very impressed with the quality and designs. (falon-nameplates.co.uk)


 At the moment my motor is running well. But another impressive stand I found was Ivor Searle who rebuilds engines for all sorts of vehicles. 

 Certainly the ones on their stand looked nice. I’ve aways been a fan of having my own engine rebuilt – rebuilds of course being of a better quality than those turned out by the thousands on a production line ‘cos they’re just working on one at a time. If you are in need of a “new” engine this company is very worth a look. And they rebuild turbochargers as well. (ivorsearle.co.uk)

 Personally I’m very happy with the interior of my L322 – compared to some of the motors I have owned it’s luxury. 

 But if you are in the market for making your motor into something different – from Defender to Range Rover – then the interiors on the Ruskin stand were, quite literally, works of art. I just can’t think of the words to describe how fabulous they were. (ruskindesign.co.uk)


I had a truly wonderful weekend at Peterborough but, of course, the biggest talking point was that this was the last one on that site. It seems that the Peterborough Showground is going to be covered with new houses.

 As we waited to enter, everyone was handed a flyer telling us that the “Land Rover Show” is “returning” to Billing Aquadrome next year – and on the same weekend as Richard Arrowsmith’s Billing Off Road Show, for the last four years on Richard’s farm, just over the river from the Aquadrome, where the original Billing off-road course is situated.

 As you might suppose this news has not gone down well with some people and, already, battle lines have been drawn up. Some of the Facebook comments have been almost vicious.

 The show on the farm has announced that it will be running as usual and has been listing, on Facebook, the trade stands that will be at their show and NOT at the Aquadrome.

 Things are still in the air and, despite lots of phone calls, I haven’t been able to get much more news than we already have.

 For instance, will the Aquadrome show be sponsored by any of the magazines ? Peterborough is sponsored by LRO and Kelmarsh is sponsored by LRM.

 LRO do not now, it would seem, have a show if Peterborough is dead…

 Can Live Promotions who run Kelmarsh and up to this time Peterborough, run a successful show without the publicity they get from a magazine ?

 Will one of the magazines risk sponsoring a “new” show that has already attracted a lot of bad feeling on the Land Rover scene ?

…and will traders risk that bad feeling?

 Suffice it to say this story is going to run and run. I’ll carry on trying to get some answers.

I can’t think of a title – Land Rovers and Range Rovers are mentioned…

 I’ve got 11 jacks…

 …and I’m sure that’s not as many as some of you.

 I have one Jackal high-lift; two trolley; three hydraulics and seven scissor jacks.

 Two of the hydraulics are from Range Rovers and one is older than I am – no idea where I got it from but I’ve had it for ever.

 As anyone who messes about with Land Rovers will tell you, scissor jacks are just about useless for lifting any real weight  but I’ve collected them from car boot sales and scrapyards over the years because they have so many other uses.

 For instance… I am in the process of fitting another wall full of pallet racking in my garage workshop. 

 My mate Dennis Taylor had a load of this racking given to him thirty odd years ago and our gang has been putting it to good use for all of that time. At the last count we think it’s in at least six different garages.

 I have one, long wall, of racking already and, as is the way of these things, I’ve run out of storage space so the very last uprights and eight horizontals ended up at my place.

 My grandson, Carl, popped round on his way home from work and helped me to put the racking together, his young muscles coming in very handy. I simply couldn’t have done it myself.

 We got the first four horizontals in place and picked up the next two… which was when we found out that these were about two inches shorter than the others… as were the next two. I only need two for a bank of three shelves.

 It looked as if a cut’n’weld was needed. 

 Bill Jones agreed. A job for his arc welder.

The plan was for me to cut both horizontals in the middle, get them in place and support them on the level. I also cut up some spare channel for Bill to weld in place.

 Now then, remember all those jacks ? The plan required two scissor jacks on either cut end. The problem was that I have had to shift so much of my stuff out of the way that I couldn’t find two – only one and a hydraulic. This had such a wide footprint that it wouldn’t balance on one horizontal . A quick call to Bill before he set off and, laughing (‘cos he knows how many I have), he agreed to bring one of his over with his welder.

 With two jacks in place Bill took barely an hour to weld the channel in place – as usual the welds seem stronger than the original pressings.

 Now all I have to do is to cut the OSB sheets I have ready to use as shelving. Then start to load the shelves.

 …and I bet the first things I find are the missing jacks…

I used my Land Rover day tent for the first time during a recent fishing trip. Much better than the gazebo I used to use. Of course it will go on the back of my Rangie as well.



I don’t normally like to poke fun at people who do the wrong thing mechanically ‘cos, let’s face it, we’ve all made mistakes.

 However, when Pat Webster asked me to oversee a friend of his who wanted to change his own thermostat on a Ser 3 he had recently bought it reminded me…

 About a thousand years ago I was in the garden when I heard that distinct sound of hammer on metal coming from a house across the road where I could see a bonnet up.

 (Of course I was already twitchy, I mean, a bonnet up is always interesting.)

 I had a wander over…

 You know how a thermostat housing sometimes sticks in place so that you need to give it a tap with a soft-faced hammer to loosen it ?

 My neighbour had read this in the workshop manual lying open on his engine block…

 I, however, was able to help him understand the manual just a little.

 First of all I pointed out that a lump hammer is not “soft-faced” and, just possibly might be considered to be overkill.

 Secondly I suggested that, before getting the hammer out, it might be a good idea to undo all three bolts holding the housing in place, rather than just the two he could see !

 Luckily Pat’s mate was a bit more mechanically-minded than my long-ago neighbour (yes, lots of you are thinking, he needs to be if he owns a Ser 3) and mostly all I had to do was to stand around with a cuppa in hand watching.

 I did suggest covering the alternator with a plastic bag for some protection when he undid the top hose; and I was able to tell him the bolts needed a 10mm socket. Then I dug some of my Hylomar out to help seal the gasket, but in essence that was all the “overseeing” I had to do.

 Of course I looked over his Landy – it’s very nice to be honest and has been looked after by the previous owner –  and I explained how my friends and I change all the oils and other liquids in a new-to-us motor just so’s we know.


When the circus came to town !


Many years ago a friend of ours asked if we had any ideas for moving a huge static caravan on his farm.

 At the time I had OSM 400M, the 1972 Range Rover Classic I rebuilt from the chassis up. On the front was a BRB bullbar with a towball I had added. Pushing a trailer around the yard is often much simpler than pulling.

 We hitched the front of OSM to the static and, in low box, I pulled it out of position, went down a lane for a short distance, turned it all around, then pushed it down the side of a barn nicely out of the way.

 Our friend was full of praise for the “skill” I had exhibited manoeuvring the rig through this fairly tight course.

 We still laugh about this because, of course, I had done very little except sit there and watch Dennis Taylor and his hand signals !

 That is where the real skill was.


After  my mentioning in July’s column/blog that I enjoy changing universal joints someone (sorry I have forgotten who, and I do so like to give credit) sent me a Youtube link of  Neil Ensor, from fourby.co.uk, where he shows how to make a home-made tool for changing a u/j. 

 Hopefully here is the link, but if I cock it up just do a search.