In­tro­duc­ing the rufty-tufty moun­tain ma­chine

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - Living with Classics - THEO FORDSAGERS CON­TRIB­U­TOR

1968 LAND ROVER SE­RIES IIA

‘Urgh, that’s so un­hy­gienic. I’m be­ing rained on. I can’t be­lieve you ac­tu­ally drive this thing. Ouch! Some­thing sounds wrong, is it OK? Ow!’

It’s a fa­mil­iar recital by now, one that’s typ­i­cally hurled from the pas­sen­ger seat when I in­tro­duce ‘Glug’ to a friend for the first time. For­tu­nately, their alarm usu­ally mel­lows into ad­mi­ra­tion when they re­alise how tough this old beast is, and the hi­lar­ity it can de­liver in the mud.

GLG 525G was a non-run­ner when I found it eight years ago, but I knew it was fun­da­men­tally solid. Some tin­ker­ing fol­lowed, af­ter which it wob­bled to its first MoT and came back fit as a fid­dle, the tester ex­plain­ing to me with a puz­zled look that he’d cured the wob­ble by sort of, er, at­tach­ing bulk­head prop­erly. I’ve learned a lot since then…

It’s a hodge­podge of dif­fer­ent Se­ries Land Rovers, but me­chan­i­cally it’s all 1960s/70s spec, from its 2.25-litre petrol en­gine to its Fairey over­drive and four-speed non-syn­chro­mesh gear­box. Syn­chro was for veg­e­tar­i­ans in the ‘60s.

I have made one or two con­ces­sions to the mod­ern world though. There’s a Brit­part LED light bar on the front and I couldn’t re­sist hav­ing the vinyl seats fit­ted with elec­tric bum-toast­ers. If it wasn’t for the lit­tle switches next to the seats, you’d never know they were there.

The high­light of my life with Glug so far is def­i­nitely our jour­ney to the Ital­ian Alps, made a cou­ple of sum­mers ago in con­voy with a cou­ple of mates, Ben and Sam, in Ben’s 1949 Se­ries I 80in. His knowl­edge of Se­ries Land Rovers makes him handy to have around when you’re stuck on an Alp with an over­heat­ing fuel pump. Even­tu­ally we found the so­lu­tion: stick the bon­net in the back to help the en­gine keep cool. It stayed there all the way back to Calais.

At home Glug lives along­side my late Dis­cov­ery 1. Then there’s my re­cently-ac­quired Alfa Romeo 145 Clover­leaf, the sur­vivor of a dy­ing breed of old­school hot hatches. But those are for a fu­ture Our Clas­sics…

Fun be­gins as the dis­com­fort sub­sides.

De­scend­ing an Ital­ian Alp, sans bon­net.

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