CAN LAND ROVER SUPPORT SUPPLY AND DEMAND?
For decades, Land Rover has shown a fluctuating interest in the real classic Land Rover movement. That’s understandable because the business exists to make an income from selling new vehicles with, of course, the obligation to provide a reasonable spares back-up for the older models. With the exception of Defender, which remains virtually current, the traditional beam axle Land Rovers have no connection with the current model range, other than the intangible concept of heritage, and perhaps, a tenuous connection in essence. So, it’s not surprising that spares for pre-2000 vehicles are progressively less available as we go back in time.
Some years ago Land Rover addressed this situation by launching Land Rover Classic Parts to provide new Genuine spares for older vehicles. Sadly, that venture no longer exists, possibly because independent parts manufacturers and suppliers already existed to fill the vacuum created by the absence of affordable parts support from Land Rover for its early models.
In April last year, Land Rover began another parts initiative. Land Rover Heritage Division was announced with fanfare at the Techno Classica show in Essen, Germany, claiming to supply Genuine parts made on original tooling If vehicles that have been out of production for over ten years (Freelander 1 is the latest addition to the range). The parts are available through dealerships, so it’s worth checking with them. Dealership delivery times are excellent, and often prices are competitive. Oddly, Land Rover Heritage has now announced a sale of 25 rebuilt Series I models, though I’m not sure how this helps enthusiasts, nor the parts situation.
If Land Rover really intends supplying Genuine parts for classic models, it needs to produce a comprehensive range that we can depend on. Or at least concentrate on providing an alternative to some of the existing reproduction parts of questionable quality, such as suspiciously cheap hydraulic brake and clutch components. Otherwise, leave the existing aftermarket businesses to continue the great job they do of reproducing and reconditioning the parts we need.
I’m delighted to have just landed a set of Genuine brake and clutch cylinders for my own ongoing Series III rebuild, but it is vital that this supply of high quality safety-related components continues. Whether that comes from Land Rover or the aftermarket, is immaterial.