Landie’s burn­ing

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - Our Classics - Calum Brown WEB PRO­DUCER





My Se­ries III Land Rover is a god­send. Af­ter a day where ev­ery­thing goes wrong, or I feel down, I can jump into my ad­ven­ture wagon and take off into the sun­set for an evening’s ex­plo­ration, slid­ing that spindly gear­stick into place on a sound­track of charis­matic gear­box whine and ex­haust bur­ble.

I don’t look to go from A to B fast and I rarely give her a bath, rel­ish­ing the ‘rough’ look. This al­lows me to tackle greenlanes and by­ways with­out fear of ob­sta­cles, as once I get past that fi­nal row of houses and ven­ture into the rough stuff, my trou­bles fade away; I could be in Africa. No one else ex­ists. It’s just me and my Land Rover, tak­ing on the world.

I’ve re­cently dis­cov­ered a green lane close to home, so on a re­cent clear night with moon­light drap­ing the hills, I cranked up the en­gine and set off to dis­cover new ter­ri­tory. But this new route ended up trick­ing me.

In­stead of the ground re­main­ing level upon en­try there was ac­tu­ally a sev­eral foot drop where the Se­ries III dipped and lifted its hull with such force that my ex­haust brack­ets snapped, my spare wheel set it­self free and the back end slung it­self into a wild tank slap. All at 12mph.

Be­sides re­shap­ing my back, the big­gest woe was my sud­den lack of headlights. The jolt had dis­lodged my earth to the electrics, which for an in­stant seemed to af­fect only the lights, be­fore a cur­tain of thick and sour-smelling smoke erupted from be­hind the steer­ing col­umn.

Hav­ing brought the Land Rover to a sharp halt, like a man, I ran away. Af­ter a few min­utes hid­ing in a hedge an­tic­i­pat­ing a fiery ex­plo­sion, I emerged to in­spect the dam­age. The ig­ni­tion was dead and the smell of burn­ing was enough to curl the nose hairs. As I stood stranded in the cold dark­ness miles from home, I longed for my P38.

With no tools or in­deed any idea about elec­tron­ics, I set about try­ing to get my jalopy go­ing again us­ing the start­ing han­dle.

Mirac­u­lously, she coughed into life and I limped her home, stop­ping ev­ery few miles to empty the cabin of yet more smoke.

The Se­ries III is back on my drive for more re­pair work now, with any sub­se­quent for­est fires in the area a mat­ter for the courts.

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Even Calum’s choice of stur­dier wheels couldn’t save his Land Rover from a vast drop on the green lane.

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