To help us celebrate our 70th Anniversary we asked Land Rover fanatics and owners alike to send us their Land Rover memories. After reviewing hundreds of incredible stories and pictures, we’ve picked out three of these which embody the true Land Rover spirit.
Read about restorations, adventures and rescues with a Land Rover at the forefront.
Ian Arthur – Range Rover Classic
In the early 1980’s, Ian Arthur’s grandfather made the short journey from his home in Woburn Sands to a Land Rover retailer in nearby Woburn. It was here that he used the phrase every car salesman longs to hear: “I need a new car”. He chose a blue Range Rover, the beginning of a story for Ian and his family that still lives on today.
Ian used to regularly walk from school to his Grandfather’s house to have what he called ‘grandad cooking’. Ian recalls that as his grandfather didn’t like to cook “we often had fish and chips, and we’d eat them whilst sat on the tailgate of the Range Rover”.
Fast forward to 2005 and not only did age begin to catch up to the Range Rover, but some questionable driving did too. “He wasn’t a very good driver in his later years, he must have crashed into every stationary object in Woburn I’d imagine!” Ian observes, and sure enough in 2005, the Range Rover failed its MOT. However Ian decided at this point that he would make a promise to his grandfather and get the Range Rover back on the road.
Sadly, Ian’s grandfather passed away in 2006, making the promise he made even more important to keep and later that year, Ian set about transforming the Range Rover.
With this determination and plenty of time on his hands, how difficult could it be? The ‘quick fix’ Ian had hoped for ultimately took a lot longer than expected – 10 years in fact.
Work got off to a slow start. The Range Rover was moved from Ian’s garage where he struggled for space, to a friend’s workshop where he had more room to work and the tools needed to do it. All of the vehicle’s body panels were removed in preparation of being repainted and in some cases repaired, leaving the Range Rover almost unrecognisable as a hollow shell. Shortly after the panels were stripped and sent for restoration, the body shop tasked with this went out of business, slowing the project to a complete halt. It would be seven years until the repairs started again.
2015 arrived and after months of deliberation, Ian decided on one more attempt to get the Range Rover back on the road. By late 2016 the body panels were repaired, painted and every dent knocked back into place. The original interior was reinstalled with as minimal change as possible to allow Ian to hold on to the memories the vehicle brought him. “If it wasn’t broke, I didn’t fix it” Ian notes. The following year, the Range Rover was back on the road for the first time in 11 years. Ian had seen through on the promise made to his Grandfather 12 years prior.
As you can see from the images Ian has provided, the Range Rover is again very much a part of his family.
Benjamin Micallef – Land Rover Ninety
A huge part of the Land Rover reputation has been built on vehicles performing in all weather, particularly adverse conditions that other vehicles could not cope with. As this story demonstrates, these capabilities can sometimes lead to Land Rover drivers helping those that need it.
In 2010, Benjamin was travelling back to his home in Oxfordshire on roads covered in heavy snow. He recalls that “while I was making my way slowly through the snow, I came across an ambulance struggling to make it up a hill, so much so that it was actually sliding backwards each time they tried to drive up it”. In stepped Benjamin and his Land Rover Ninety. Pulling to the front of the ambulance, he secured a tow rope and helped them up the hill they’d so far failed to climb themselves.
A short tow up a hill became a longer journey shortly afterwards. “The paramedics told me they were on their way to a call at the time, specifically to someone suffering a cardiac arrest”. After being told this, Benjamin offered to escort them for the rest of their journey – roughly a further two miles.
A few months later after his encounter with the ambulance on the hill, his good deed on that snowy day was repaid. Benjamin himself was in need of an ambulance - who should arrive to help? The same paramedics he had towed through the snow.
Benjamin now regularly offers both his and his Land Rover’s assistance to the local hospital during heavy snow, providing transport to members of staff who would normally be unable to make the journey in those conditions.
Tim Elmhirst – Land Rover Series IIA
The story of this Land Rover Series IIA started on a campsite in Cornwall moving caravans, its next 30 years saw visits to Scandinavia and across mainland Europe with Oslo and Paris amongst the destinations for adventure.
Tim’s first meeting with the IIA that would become his travel companion was during a 1976 holiday on a friend’s farm on the edge of Dartmoor, wasting no time in negotiating a deal to buy it once he found out the vehicle was for sale. He drove his new pride and joy back to his home in Yorkshire the following weekend. This was despite, as he would later discover, a lack of bolts on the steering box causing it to have a mind of its own at times.
The IIA was put to work over the next few years, used daily on Tim’s farm. But it wasn’t all work. Regular visits to Burgundy and Paris on the other side of the Channel, as well as journeys the length and breadth of the UK made sure the odometer was given a regular a work out, with the odd off-road jaunt thrown in for good measure.
In 1980, the IIA took on its longest journey yet. Tim commented that “fellow Land Rover enthusiast Simon Murphy and I decided it was time to see the midnight sun”. Loaded with tents and kayaks, they set off for the Arctic Circle via Newcastle where the IIA was loaded, quite spectacularly, onto a ferry bound for Oslo.
“Whilst heading for the Arctic Circle we discovered the main roads were immaculate smooth tarmac, this was almost a disappointment as we had assumed that a Land Rover would be needed to negotiate the Arctic tundra. No matter, finding Camping spots off the main highway is where it came into its own” Tim recalls.
Tim and Simon’s journey lasted three weeks, heading as far north as they could in the first week by driving 8-9 hours a day with their final destination being Tromsø. The further north they travelled, the more day merged into night. Simon recalls “I remember thinking one particular town was a bit quiet, only a few people around and the shops were all closed at what we thought was three in the afternoon, then we discovered it was in fact three in the morning!”
Their reward from those long days driving was not only the stunning scenery they encountered across Norway as they made their way back south at a much more leisurely pace, but also making sure they did not waste the opportunity to use the Kayaks they had brought along for the ride. The trip saw the Series IIA clock up around 3,500 miles.
A few years after their arctic adventure, Tim sold the IIA to Simon. Despite a few repairs over the years, including a fair amount of welding, the Series IIA lives on. The original engine and factory reconditioned gearbox still intact to this day. Simon now lives in South Devon and regularly takes the Series IIA to Dartmoor, the scene of Tim’s first encounter with it more than forty years ago.
We want to hear more of your amazing Land Rover stories. If you’d like to tell us yours, contact us via our social media channels - Facebook, Twitter and Instagram - making sure you use the hashtag #LandRover70Years.