Range Rover and Land Rover Suspension

I heard about a guy refurbishing a Range Rover Classic who was pleased to find a NOS (new old stock) Boge self-levelling strut.

 It reminded me of those day when a debate raged about these struts.

 In case you are not aware, the strut was fitted to an A-frame under the rear of the early Range Rovers and, when a a lot of weight was carried in the back, the strut would pump up and level up the rear. Some of the earliest 110s had it as well.

 You need to remember that this was in the days before anyone could just go out and buy a set of 2ins lift heavy duty suspension for Range Rovers – or any other Land Rover come to that. So those of us who wanted a bit more ground clearance and tougher suspension for hard off-roading and carrying all that recovery gear, had to come up with our own ideas.

 It’s so long ago now that I can’t remember exactly what we came up with for the 1972 Range Rover, OSM 400M, that I rebuilt, but it was something like Ninety rear coils on the front and hi-cap rears on the back. Gas shocks were easy even in those days. I chose Rancho. I think we measured a 1.5 ins lift from this setup.

 Now, back to the Boge strut. The debate I referred to above was about whether to keep it or not.

 If it was fitted and leaked, you would fail an MOT. And to replace it was a lot of money. So the idea spread that if it was cut off with an angle grinder, and the cut nub end rounded off, ninety per cent of MOT inspectors wouldn’t know something was supposed to be there and, therefore, not fail it.

 The feeling was that, with up-rated suspension the strut was superfluous anyway.

 Having thought, and talked it over with my mates, I cut mine off – a lot easier at the time as we were down to a rolling chassis.

 I recall that, at about the same time Russell Fisher, the editor of  the then 4×4 Magazine also cut the one off the chassis that was being used to build the famous TEW 100 inch hybrid.

 Whatever the coils I came up with for OSM I never had a moment’s problem with the suspension so I was happy enough.

 The story doesn’t quite end there tho.

 Some time later, when I wrote a feature story on the work of the Greater Manchester Police Motorway Unit for the newspaper I worked for at the time, it was hard not to notice the large numbers of Range Rovers they were using.

 I wrote freelance articles on off-roading and Land Rovers for various magazines over the years and I suggested to the editor of whichever one I wrote for at the time that an article about the recovery gear GMP Rangies carried might go down well.

 I got the nod.

 In those days when we had to put our own kit together, from places like sailing chandleries and professional crane and lifting companies we found a few things the bobbies did were useful.

 For instance, just inside the tailgate, there was a sheath knife fixed to the interior. My police guide explained that if someone was trapped in a vehicle by their seatbelt the knife had to be close at hand – and every Police Range Rover would have it in the same place. (Again, this would be before those seatbelt cutting gizmos hit the market)

 Another idea I picked up on was the flat recovery strops. They rolled up into a smaller space than a rope to store and, if covered in mud they could be hosed down whilst lying flat, where ropes would trap mud and stones inside the yarns which could weaken them.

 I loved the comment about one strop when I asked what the breaking strain was: “I dunno, but it will pull a loaded artic. (old man-speak for HGV) off the carriageway on its side!”

 And finally I get to the point of this story. The Rangie was loaded. It took three bobbies a good half an hour to empty the whole thing for the sake of my story and a photograph.

 I remarked on the weight and asked if they carried out any suspension modifications.

 The story was that they would like to but had not been allowed to – remove the self-levelling strut.

 I was told that (at the time, it may have changed now) any modifications from standard needed a request to “on high” and removing the strut had been refused.

 They said that the self-levelling strut, sensing all that weight, pumped the motor up as high as it could go as soon as it hit the road.

 This wasn’t a problem in normal motoring but, when weaving in and out of traffic at speed in an emergency, or chase, the normal suspension at each side barely worked so that the whole rear end pivoted on the strut. Quite frankly, they said, it was dangerous at high speeds. 

 They were jealous when I told them I’d cut mine off.

 …Oh, and as an aside. I have spoken to many people over the years who fitted “Police Spec.” springs to their Range Rover or Land Rover. They didn’t you know. There is no such thing outside of the marketing man’s imagination.

My L322 looks nice with a bit of snow

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Sticking with suspension for a moment or two.

 I once wrote, in a magazine, that I am opposed to replacing the air springs on the P38 and L322  Range Rover with coils.

 My reasoning was that those airbags were engineered to go with the weight of those vehicles (and incidentally, didn’t have the Boge strut ‘cos the air suspension is self-levelling anyway). I doubt if the same expertise – and expense – has gone into manufacturing coils for those motors.

 However, given that the soft dash Range Rover Classic was originally designed for coils I can’t see any good reason why the air suspension fitted to that model can’t be changed

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another of those pics from my collection that I forget taking – nice A-bar

Am I the only person in the universe who thinks that the Lego Land Rover is ugly, with only a vague resemblance to a Land Rover ? Oh, and the colour is horrible as well…

…and am I the only person who is frightened to open my electrically-powered sunroof ? What if I can’t get it closed again ?

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 I’m not sure if I’ve written this in my blog, or in some magazine or another years ago but I was reminded of it the other day so…

 A bunch of us from work (obviously before I retired) were in the pub and a conversation started: “what’s your dream car?”.

 It went around the table with Ferrari and Mustang etc etc, until it got to me. Slightly embarrassed I said: “I drive my dream car…” (Range Rover in case any of you are wondering!)

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I do like this – still no idea where it was

There is a saying: “A picture paints a thousand words.”

…it takes words to say that.

Badges and Batteries

A discussion on Facebook asked if we need to put the letters back on after bodywork and paint ?

 It reminded me of when I rebuilt OSM 400M, my Range Rover classic about a thousand years ago. Some of the old ‘uns amongst you may remember the series I wrote in the then 4×4 Magazine about the rebuild ?

 In those days I was an advocate of adding and carrying absolutely anything and everything that might be of use when out off-roading – and as the letters were of no use I didn’t put them on after painting the motor.

 So it was, at a family wedding, that cousin John asked if my big muddy motor in the car park was: “one of those Japanese four wheel drives?” Because there was a Yokohama sticker on the tailgate… damn’ good tyres those as well.

 …then, as it does, my mind wandered around and alighted on the time I bought B791 PKV.

 A 1984 110 (well, 1983 really, but one of that group of 110s with siding windows, bought back from dealers by Land Rover when the Ninety came out and wind-down windows were fitted to Ninety and 110) PKV had the stick-on stripes all down each side.

My plan was to remove the stripes and change the vehicle colour from Sheepshagger Blue (see my blog dated May 2019 Gaydon Show report for an explanation of that colour name).

 Now, we all know how to remove stickers don’t we ? Yes, we get the hot air gun on the stickers, gently warm them up and peel them off. We DON’T get the wife’s hair-dryer ‘cos that burns out and we get in trouble.

 It was November. So well-wrapped up and camping chair shuffling along the drive I got on with the job. It took a couple of hours.

 Wrapped up I may have been but of course, as one hand was operating the gun, and the other hand was peeling, I couldn’t wear gloves.

 Job done on the stickers themselves I decided to leave the glue removal (I use Meths, you can use petrol or WD40) and went in the house for a wash up and brew.

 It seems that my freezing hands hadn’t felt the few times I had touched them with the (red-hot) air gun… but as I put them under the hot water tap they came to life… agony wasn’t in it. Seven small blisters I had for just over a week.

 There is an aside-moving on story to this adventure, as there so often is with me.

 My beloved Marjorie didn’t like green cars (although when we met I drove a Nato-Green Lightweight !) . When I bought the 110 I was still enamoured of the superb photographs in my old mate Bob Morrison’s book “Land Rovers In The Gulf” covering vehicles in the Gulf War so I decided to paint PKV in Nato-Sand.

  After the glue was removed I spent half an hour rubbing down the blue by hand and then used a four-inch brush for the big bits and a one-inch for round the edges and fiddly bits to get the Sand on. About two hours I think it took.

 To be honest it looked a bit odd. We couldn’t put a finger on it but looking back I think it might have been a combination of a thin coat of Sand over the Blue… it looked odd.

 Matters came to a head when a work colleague described the colour as “Nappy Poo”…

 Which is why those of you who knew and loved my PKV for many years after that all know her as Dark-Bronze Green… my Marjorie had taken pity on me.

PKV still with stickers – and snow

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Here in the UK we’ve been split up into tiers – 1,2 and 3, then they added 4 – with different rules for dealing with the pandemic.

 Travel, for instance, we are not supposed to drive for “unnecessary” journeys between tiers.

 In fact, one newspaper article Marjorie just read out to me says that if you are caught driving between tiers your car insurance could be invalid.

 I’ve had arguments with friends – particularly some from the USA – about how insurance can be invalidated.

 The simple story is that a driver  and an insurance company enter into a contract. If a driver breaks the contract, by adding accessories to a Land Rover for instance,  then the insurance company considers that the cover is invalid.

 It seems, then, that they are saying the same for driving outside of the law – like travelling between tiers.

 Interesting…

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If you surf t’internet much as a Land Rover fan you may well have come across this design study by artist Samir Sadikhov… 

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For those of us with modern motors loaded down with electrickery – like my L322 –  it’s flat battery time again.

 If you are one of those lucky people who can park it up for a week to two then turn up and start with one turn of the key, then good for you. Mine will go flat if I leave it for more than three days. Hence, I go out and have a drive around the block every two days – and a nice two hours up into the Lancashire countryside  once a week to give it a good charge.

 The position of the battery in the L322 is so stupid that I can’t face pulling the battery to put it on charge, and because of the explosive “safety” device on the positive pole I’m not going to try to charge it in situ. 

 It’s all very annoying.

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Again on Facebook a bloke was asking about fitting a smaller steering wheel to his Series to use in trials. Would it help ?

 I mentioned the steering knob almost everybody fitted in the “old days”  and I was surprised when only one person clicked “like”.

 Am I the only person who remembers these knobs which almost everyone had – even some green laners –  before power steering ?

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I liked this tip I read in “G-Wac Notes”, from the Project Jay Preservation Group and reproduce it here with Roy Preston’s permission.

 “With the old steps removed I took the opportunity to take the plastic sill finishers off to give the sills a good scrape and paint. 

“Removing the plastic rivet fasteners is a fiddly job if you want to retain the pegs that secure them. I sometimes drill a small hole in the peg, insert a small self-tapper and with a pair of pliers give the self-tapper a good pull and the whole rivet comes out. “

The lazy method is to punch the peg through, but you then lose it to the inner sill, and they cannot be retrieved. But all is not lost. If you raid your wife’s/girlfriend’s knitting box and select a size 5 knitting needle (a plastic one), you just need a short piece to replace the peg that is lost to the sill. (Don’t forget to put a point on the shortened needle or you will be in trouble! Perhaps it would be better to take the pair, because a very short size 5 would be noticed). Roy Preston.”

 Those plastic rivet fasteners are all over Land Rovers of course, not just Roy’s Discovery. So a good tip.

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Most people have more than the average number of legs…

How much would you pay for a Land Rover or Range Rover?

I’m sure a lot of you will already have seen the news about Land Rover and Bowler.

The Bowler

 But just in case, here’s something I took from the press release:

 “The original Land Rover Defender silhouette will live on as Land Rover grants Bowler a license to use the iconic shape.

 Land Rover has given Bowler Motors, part of their Special Vehicle Operations division, permission to produce vehicles using the classic Defender shape in the next phase of development for its all-terrain performance cars and rally raid vehicles.

 The new agreement paves the way for Bowler to develop a new family of high-performance models, beginning with a project codenamed ‘CSP 575’ which will combine Bowler’s own rally-proven CSP high-strength steel chassis with Land Rover’s potent 575PS 5.0-litre Supercharged V8, four sports seats, a roll cage and some comfort features such as air conditioning.

 First photographs give a glimpse of the planned station wagon, available in limited numbers from 2021, initially in UK and EU, with an indicative UK price of £200,000.

Land Rover advise this project will supplement the on going motorsport developments that are the foundation of Bowler’s past, present and future plans…”

 One can’t help but wonder if this plan has anything to do with the Ineos Grenadier Defender-copy ?

 Having met and interviewed Drew Bowler a few times I’m not sure how he would have taken the news himself. In fact I’m not sure if he’d have sold his company to Land Rover in the first place.

 What is really interesting is the price.

 £200,000 really ?

 Last month I mentioned the Range Rover Chieftain with prices around £147,500.

 Of course they are not the only company with similar projects.

 There is Kingsley Motors for a start. The Oxfordshire-based company with a reputation for chassis-up “reborn” Classics that are, to all intents and purposes like new… in fact you might call them better than new.

 They produce two: The KC Series – Range Rover Classic 2 Door restored “for the Purist” from £69,995 + donor car ( plus VAT ).

 Then there is the KR Series - a Range Rover Classic 2 Door which has been ‘Re-engineered’ and enhanced for everyday use from £99,750 + donor car (plus VAT ).

 The KR Series is re-engineered from a very late (up to 1993) rust-free RRC from the ground up with a load of options and upgrades to the engine, suspension and brakes and a wide range of cosmetic and interior options to make the vehicle truly unique and more usable. I’m not sure, myself, about all the electronic gizmos – one of the charms of a Classic is that it doesn’t have all the stuff my L322 has.

 Are you still looking at the prices ?

 Another interesting company I found is Arkonik.

 This company builds Nineties from £95,000 and 110s from £110,000. Their website isn’t the best I have ever seen but the gist seems to be rebuilds and remodels to your own spec.

 They say they’ve built “hundreds” mostly selling to the US which isn’t surprising given the prices.

 After about thirty minutes trawling the website I did find one that they build: “a revolutionary RHD ‘restomod’ build with an LS3 6.2L engine and 6-speed automatic transmission.”

 We all know (er… do “we”? well I do) about the Kahn and Overfinch tarted up present-day vehicles, but I’ve not mentioned them here ‘cos the others, Kingsley, JIA (Chieftan) and Arkonik work on older models and vehicles.

 There will be others I’m sure but I started to lose the will to live after working my way through the three websites.

 Have you SEEN the prices ?

 

Spaceframe chassis for the Bowler

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Talking of prices…

 I was having a wander around ebay – like you do – when I found out that Range Rover Classic badges are selling for £150. 

 I didn’t know that they were that rare. 

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A Facebook friend posted up a photograph of his Land Rover being recovered on a trailer.

 Of course a bunch of us posted up the pics we have of ours being recovered  and then someone said it’s a great way to travel. It saves on fuel.

 This reminded me of the student at Manchester University about a thousand years ago whose home was in Exeter.

 He drove an Austin Champ… yep, pretty heavy on fuel for trips home.

 The Champ was an attempt by Austin to steal the Army light-vehicle business from Land Rover and, as a result, the build included some pretty way-out equipment for the day.

 One of these items was some sort of black box engine management system – that’s how it was described to me back in the day.

 Back to our student. One day he set off for Exeter from Manchester, got just a few miles down the road and his vehicle “ceased to function”. He wasn’t a numpty and soon worked out what it was – the black box.

 He called the RAC who sent someone out who agreed it was the black box, completely unrepairable and rare as hen’s teeth.

 Ah, but our lad had a spare – back home in Exeter. Not a problem, under his RAC plan he could be recovered home. He was. He replaced the black box, got his washing done and set off back to Manchester.

 It didn’t take him long to have an idea.

 Just a few miles into his journey he replaced the working box with the u/s one, phoned the RAC and, yes, got a free lift all the way to Manchester.

 Then, one day, he set off for home and did it again. Out came the RAC. The mechanic took a look at it and said: “Oh, it’s the black box, I remember those when I was in the Army, don’t worry, I can fix it.”

 So there was our friend at the side of the road with no petrol and no money!

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I am always hearing, these days, about companies that don’t answer emails.

 Time and time again we hear the same story about someone interesting in buying, or paying for a service, who fire off an email asking for a quote, or more information and then hear nothing.

 Now it’s finally happened to me. I do like to tell you lot about all sorts of things to do with off-roading, Land Rovers, camping etc. It’s what I’ve been doing for thirty years.

 I almost always ask,’tho, if they want a free plug. It’s just good manners really, hardly anyone ever says no.

 Except that in the last four weeks I have emailed someone who has an interesting Youtube channel, and a company who run camping/off-roading holidays …and no answer from either.

 So what do I do ? I still think some you would be interested in them – but I just don’t feel inclined to reward bad manners.

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This pic popped up on Facebook recently and I thought I recognised it. It’s Ronald “Carl” Giles OBE, known simply as Giles, cartoonist for many years for the Express newspapers. That’s his Ser 1 , his wife and the caravan he built himself in the 1950s, outside the Express building.

Range Rover Classic – how much ?

 I am on record as saying and writing that the only non-Land Rover product I can see myself owning would be a Jensen Interceptor. I just like ‘em.

 Because of this I was aware of a company called JIA who rebuild and modernise Interceptors. Based in Banbury (where my beautiful cousin, Linda, lives, although that’s nothing to do with this story).

What I definitely do want to own – as probably my last ever car given my age and health – is another Range Rover Classic.

 So I have been doing some late night tinternet surfing, like you do, even tho’ I can’t afford one at the moment. A rebuild – like I did with OSM, my ’73 two-door all those years ago – just isn’t on now so I need one that’s had the rust sorted.

 That’s how I came across “The Chieftain” from JIA.

 The Chieftain is a Range Rover Classic: “radically re-engineered for a more modern, rewarding and surprising driving experience yet retaining even more of the DNA of the Classic and with even broader levels of customisation available”.

 I have no idea what the DNA of a car is, but think about a 430 bhp V8 mated to a six-speed auto gearbox, JIA’s own fully independent suspension and braking from a late model Range Rover or your choice of bespoke options.

 Once the engineering is sorted out, the fun really begins with the appearance. You can have a “sleeper” which retains the appearance of being factory standard or a whole load of different enhancements both inside and outside.

 Every Chieftain is a one-of-a-kind.

 Basic set-up for a Chieftain is 6.2 litre engine. Prices around £147,500.

 Me ? I’m saving up… https://chieftainrangerover.com

A Chieftain still looks like a Classic

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 I didn’t know, but some Discovery 2 (TD5) models came without the driver engaged diff-lock mechanism.

 And, although retrofitting the centre diff-lock is fairly straightforward many people are put off when they find that the operating levers are around £300.

 Now Kyle Cooper, of Navtech Engineering Services, has designed the Discovery 2 Diff-lock Activator Kit which costs £95 plus postage – a heck of a saving.

 Kyle tells me that his system works by using the vacuum line originally designated to the EGR system (so the EGR system must have been made redundant).

 The kit includes: 

Stainless Steel Bracket
Stainless Steel Lever Tab
Vacuum Actuator
Wiring
Switch
Fasteners and fittings
Pipework
Comprehensive fitting instructions with photos.

Installation should take 30 mins -1 hr.

 Kyle’s the bloke who rebuilt a beautiful Ser 1 – the one with the red wheels.

 Find him at Navtech Engineering Services: 07715 537147/07817 656713 email: nes.ltd@hotmail.co.uk

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 Watching my second-favourite repeated detective programme – “Midsomer Murders” – and I spotted a red P38 Range Rover. I was sure I’d seen a similar coloured P38 in another repeat, and the reg number rang a bell…

 Both had started with R , which I noticed because my own P38 “Biba” had been R-regged. Both followed with an 8; and both were BAC lettered, the “AC” indicating a factory-owned car (like the G-WAC launch Discoveries) I was certain…

 So, had the telly people used the same vehicle in programmes made two years apart ?

 “Death of a Stranger” dated 1999 was in front of me so I noted R834 BAC.

 Then I recovered “The Noble Art” (also featuring the Mod hero, Phil Daniels, if you get it, you get it, if not, read on) dated 1997 from my deleted shows and ffwded through until I came to the red P38.

 It was plated R815 BAC, so NOT the same.

 So, am I sad or would any of you done the same thing ?

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 If you have missed the shows this year as much as me and the beloved Marjorie have, here is a nice date for your next year’s diary.

 The Billing Off Road Show is 26-27 June 2021. This is the proper one, over the bridge from the Aquadrome, on Richard Arrowsmith’s farm.

 If we have our vaccinations by then we’ll see you there !

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Now I’ll grant you that many of you lot will be able to put your hands on a nice Land Rover or Range Rover for a wedding or similar event.

 But not everybody can so how about this nice 1955 107 ins owned by James Dixon of Windermere ?

 James has set up in business hiring this lovely motor out. So if you want something a bit different give him a shout on

jamesdixon22@hotmail.co.uk 

 The 107ins lived in Malta from new until it came back to the UK in 2016 so it’s rust free and almost original.

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I saw a post on Facebook today from a bloke who is struggling to remove the fancy metal dustcaps he has on his tyres.

 It reminded me of when I did the same thing. Mine even came with a little spanner (wrench) for undoing them.

 Needless to say (although I am saying it!) they didn’t last past the first time I watched the rubber valve twisting and turning. I seriously worried about breaking the valve seal.

 Save yourself the cash. Stick to the nice plastic ones that you can undo with your fingers.

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For those of you who are a bit fed up with the huge international tinternet auction site – “How many doors has it got ?” and “What colour is it?” being just two of the questions a mate of mine had when he put a Discovery up – there’s a new Facebook-page that avoids the numpties.

 On Facebook just type in “Series Land Rover Vehicles and Spares Auction Sales” and there it will be.

 …and no selling fees either !

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When they had the competition to find the best cutlery for eating rice how come two sticks won ?

Some Land Rover and Range Rover bits and pieces

We were talking in our “Lockdown Pub” – which is my or Bill Jones’ garage for the foreseeable future – about some of those silly mistakes we made when we were young.

 In those far off days before we even met it seems we made some of the same ones.

One of them was “The White Smoke”… 

 Me first: I had a Ford Anglia and, before I dropped a 1500cc Cortina GT engine in it, I tried a few ideas to give the standard 997cc engine  a bit more “poke”.

 Someone mentioned cleaning the carbs and cylinders by dripping a cleaner into the inlet.

 I had grown up being told to use Redex and I do to this day, but I had recently seen a demonstration of Wynn’s for Petrol Engines and bought myself a can.

 I was also told that I should drive far out into the country to use the stuff ‘cos it produced a bit of white smoke.

 Hey, I was 20… so on my drive in a quiet little cul-de-sac on the outskirts of Crewe, I popped the bonnet, took the air filter off and, with the engine running, started dripping the stuff into the inlet.

 Within seconds I was enveloped in a cloud of white smoke…

 Whoops, air filter back on (remember the old days when you just stuck it on top of the carb, hardly even bothered tightening the clip?) and went for a quick drive out into the country.

 Eventually I found the entrance to a field and started again.  The clouds of smoke arrived, as did, fairly soon after, a farmer with a fire extinguisher. 

 Still it did seem to have improved the engine a bit. But then I got offered the Cortina GT engine and another chapter began…

 Bill was on a mate’s drive in Potters Bar. Fortunately, his family were out but PB was covered in a smoke screen after Bill used a product called Piston-seal in his 850 Mini van. It was supposed to seal worn rings or cylinders but as he says, given another 45+ years experience, it is difficult to see how it could have worked anyway !

 Dennis’ story involved a Territorial Army armoury – and a LOT of fire engines!

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I love my L322 but I have to be honest, it ain’t a Classic, like my TAZ here… so I’m looking…

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I’ve got a flip-key for my L322. A lot of people have them of course. There is a problem with mine in that, if the key is turned without grasping the whole body it can pop open. It’s a fiddly job to get back together, particularly getting the little spring back in properly.

 I rarely do it myself these days but many times when it’s been in a workshop it comes back with the spring not quite fitted correctly. They’ve popped it and put it back together as best they can.

 Then I had an idea. Now when I take it somewhere I flip it open beforehand and tie it together with a small tie wrap. Mechanics don’t care if they can’t close it and I just cut it off when I get it back.

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Another I don’t remember taking…

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Having owned a plethora of old Land Rover products I’m used to sqeaks and rattles as I proceed on my merry way.

 However, the L322 is a different kettle of fish. It’s mostly quiet – being a plushmobile.

 That was until an annoying squeak started from the back of the motor.

 It didn’t take long to find the cause. One of the parcel shelf locating pins had snapped off so the shelf was moving up and down. Only slightly but it was enough.

 Replacing the pin was another story entirely. Not just fiddly but, it seemed no matter how I looked at it, impossible. Then our friends at Powerfuluk came to the rescue yet again.

 The guy who does their videos, Simon I think, had come up with an ingenious way to replace a broken pin.

 Took me less than ten minutes to get rid of that squeak  once I’d received the new pins – which I bought from Powerfuluk of course !

 Here’s the link… er… no it isn’t. I’ve tried to put the link to the video from YouTube in here six times now and I’ve given up ‘cos no matter what I do the bloody video itself comes up.

 Dunno what I’m doing wrong. I’m sure I’ve posted video links before but life is too short to spend all day on it.

 Just open YouTube, type in Powerfuluk and hunt through their videos for “Range Rover L322 Rear Cargo Cover / Parcel Shelf Repair / Pin Replacement”. There are loads more vids to interest you an’ all – for all models of Land Rover, not just my L322.

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Bill’s V8 Series Bitsa was a lot of fun to drive

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There was another of “those” items on the TV news the other day. You know, the dead donkey stories that they can drop if something interesting comes up.

 This story was about the latest driverless car technology and, part way through a reporter telling us how weird it was to sit with your hands and feet off the controls although you had to be ready at all times to take control if the vehicle told you to, I had a thought – why driverless cars ?

 I mean, just what is the point ? They are not the thing of Si-Fi films where you sit back and go to sleep, or write your latest column/blog. You have to be alert at all times.

 So why have them at all ? I simply don’t see the point.

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Quintin Aspin, an email buddy, wrote: “In a new personal record of saving it until you need it, yesterday I used a small fiber washer that my father saved from rebuilding the SU carburetors on his triumph TR3a in the early 1960s to seal the drain plug on my Volkswagen when I changed the oil. That’s right, I saved the part in a drawer for more than 50 years and I used it today. I knew it would come in handy eventually!”

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On Facebook a bloke asked for recommendations as to which tyre pump he should buy. My response was that whichever he decided upon, he should buy two ‘cos the time will come when he needs to alternately use them. Allowing one to cool down while the other worked hard.

 A perfectly reasonable bit of advice, you might suppose, based on 53 years driving and pumping up tyres. At least forty of those in off-road situations. 

 Ah but, other respondents trolled me, pointing out that they had bought the Acme 2000, or the Bloggs Super and it had repeatedly aired up nearly flat tyres in the hugest sizes you could imagine. <sigh>

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I came across a piece on Youtube. A guy was showing how to modify a Range Rover dvd player so you can watch a dvd while you are driving.

 He did point out that Land Rover have made it so you can’t watch a dvd while driving. And he also mentioned that in many States (he’s American) it is illegal to watch a dvd while driving.

 What sort of nutter is this guy ?

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The September issue of Damien Turner’s Mud Life Magazine is out there on tinternet right now. The usual great read and Free of course. Just click here – after you’ve finished m’blog : http://bit.ly/TML-issue18

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A Land Rover with Rusty Nuts

 I was just emerging from the garage when a rather tatty Ser 3 pulled up at the end of my drive.

 A bloke got out and looked at me.

 “Mr Elson ? Frank Elson, the Land Rover writer ?”

  …er… “Yes, I write about Land Rovers, what can I do for you?”

 “I’m ******* ( I missed the name, my beloved Marjorie says my hearing’s going in my old age but I claim people mutter more, and talk when a car is going past on the road, stuff like that – I heard raindrops on the window yesterday, before anyone else) I’ve just bought this Land Rover, I was told you live here. I’ve got a bit of a problem.”

 I could see what the problem was, well, one problem anyway. From the tatty state of the motor, there could well have been some more I couldn’t see.

 The one I could see was a nearly flat rear tyre.

 No problem, I could put some air in that.

 It appeared, however, that he’d got a pump and he’d put air into the tyre three times in a two mile drive…

 …and he didn’t have a spare wheel…

…and it didn’t end there.

 Yep, I could also see there were only four wheel nuts, and they were loose and had allowed the wheel to move about so that the lug holes were oval-shaped.

 While the tyre might just have been u/s the wheel was decidedly what we call VSF (Very Seriously Broken).

 Look, I know that it’s twenty years or so since I last owned a Ser 3 Land Rover. But that spare wheel and tyre at the back of the garage might be useful one day.

 In fact, it was just about to be useful, although I wouldn’t offer up a lot of hope for the tyre. It was still in better condition than the punctured one on the iffy wheel.

 It would get him to the nearest tyre place anyway.

 Rather than work on the wheel on the road I directed my new friend up the drive to park outside my garage. (“Up there mate”.)

 I have one of those extendable wheel braces these days. It takes up less space than the old spider brace plus three foot of scaffold pole. So I whipped the extendable out to crack off the four lug nuts before rolling the hydraulic jack underneath.

 Yes, I checked it was in gear and the handbrake was on even tho’ right outside the garage is one of the flattest areas of concrete on earth – I know it is, I laid the thing ten years ago.

 Oof, these muthas were on tight… er, no, they couldn’t be, else how could the wheel move about enough to oval the lug holes ? 

 Marj brought the coffee out. I hummed a bit. I lifted the wheel off the ground a bit on the trolley jack. The wheel was loose – and the wheel nuts were rusted on.

 Okay, let the jack down, spray the nuts with penetrating oil (not WD40, it does lots of things but it doesn’t penetrate and it’s not a lubricant) and finish the coffee.

 Mr Asterisk admired my Range Rover, my garage and my tools and said that was the set-up he wanted one day. I pointed out that it took me 70 years to get it together and I handed him the wheel brace again.

 Not a thing… I had played the heart disease card and the one-armed card but I could tell that he was really trying.

 I’m very protective of my cordless impact driver (or wheel nut gun as they are known), and a little suspicious if truth be told. I use it on my own wheel nuts once they are cracked off but I don’t like to submit a little cordless electric motor to much. However, I decided to give it a go…

 …nope. Still nothing.

 To the back of the garage and the old three foot length of scaffold pipe. Slid it over the brace and, “heave…” there was a cracking noise and something moved!

 Within a few minutes, still hard work but three of the nuts were at least turning. Now the gun could do its stuff once we had the trolley jack back in place with an axle stand doing its thing.

 Number four, however, wasn’t moving for anything we had tried so far.

 I heated the wheel nut with the blowlamp until it glowed red – nothing, and I’ve never known that sort of heat to not work.

 There was one last thing to try before the nut splitter, I reckoned.

 I got one of my bottle hydraulic jacks out and carefully positioned it under the wheel brace, as close to the nut as I could get it and having taken a few minutes to work out which way was anti-clockwise. Then, very carefully started to lift. In effect this was attempting to lift the entire vehicle on one wheel nut.

 No crack, no drama, but at last we could see the nut start to turn and the wheel brace, which had been ever-so-slightly below the horizontal, started to straighten out.

 What a relief that was. Now it was the work of just a few minutes to get all the nuts off and then the knackered wheel.

Nothing to do with the story. Just a lovely Ser 1

 I handed Mr Asterisk a drill with a wire wheel on it and told him to get to cleaning the wheel stud threads while I set to with a smaller wire wheel on my dremel copy on the inside of the nuts. Then I had a look through some of my boxes of bits and, of course came up with a wheel nut that fitted although I wouldn’t like to guess what vehicle it originally came off. Given my history I certainly couldn’t bet against a Land Rover !

 On with my “spare” wheel – luckily, given the different widths of wheel and sizes of tyre there are to choose from it was the right size – and a little safety lecture from me about the age of the tyre and the general condition of the motor, as in: “don’t drive far, or fast, and get the whole motor checked over by a professional asap”. To this the reply was that it was going straight into his garage to be stripped down for a rebuild.

 …and off he went.

 To Marjorie’s questions of who was he and where was he from I was able to answer, “dunno” to both. I just never seemed to get ‘round to asking. We wondered if I would ever see my spare wheel again. But it was an old wheel and just taking up space in the garage so he was welcome to it.

  … and then… about a week later a delivery van pulled up outside Elson Towers. Not a rare occurrence in these days of lockdown, we seem to buy everything from tinternet.

 The guy had two boxes. One for me contained a bottle of Jameson’s whiskey (proving he has read my stuff for some years) and one for the beloved Marjorie had a bunch of flowers inside.

 There was no sender’s address so we still don’t know our new friend’s real name.

 So if you read this Mr Asterisk, pop in for a brew sometime and let us know how you are getting on with the Series rebuild. You can keep the wheel by the way.

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Bill Jones has added a Ford Explorer to his stable.

 It’s needed a bit of fettling and he recently bought an ignition pack.

 He had to import it from the States. Including postage the whole thing cost him half of what I paid for the ignition pack for my P38 which was made in this country.

 So, no surprise there, then.

Not the Explorer of course. Bill’s old six-wheeler that he took to Africa one time. It came back as well despite the fact that I helped build it.

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I “followed” a new-to-me page on Instagram about Defenders.

 Would it be wrong of me to point out that the very first photograph I saw on that page was of a 1983 110 (the front sliding windows are the clue) which, of course was NOT a Defender ?

 I’ve been a journalist all of my working life and facts are very important – but are they really that important when we’re just talking about pretty pics of Land Rovers ?

 When I worked for one of my newspapers and I described a road as “cobbled” I received quite a few letters explaining that what I was writing about were “setts” not cobbles – and explaining the differences. Look it up if you care.

 For well over thirty years the Coronation Street TV set has been described as “cobbled”. They’re not. They’re setts. I don’t shout at the telly anymore, but I may mutter occasionally.

I’m not going to off-road my “baby”… honest

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

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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

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 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.”

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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

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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 !

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…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.

 https://youtu.be/T5Z8ZTEpLvE

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

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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…”

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

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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.

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 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  

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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/

 

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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 !

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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…

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 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.

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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.

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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.

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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…

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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/

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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.’

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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?)

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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: 

classicmotor.co.uk

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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.

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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 ?)

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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

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  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…”

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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.

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 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.

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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.”

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 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

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