For the 13th year running, Dave marks the birthday of his Defender with a trip to a famous Land Rover
he annual drive down to the Land Rover show in July is always special for me. Not just because I’m going to the original, biggest and most famous Land Rover event of them all, and the one I was involved with at the very start, but it also marks my Defenders’ birthday. Well, sort off.
Back in 2004 the first real journey my Defender ever made of any distance was down to Billing. It had been on the road for about two weeks before I hitched the caravan on the back and headed off to Billing. I remember it had something like 200 miles on the clock, so by the time I arrived at Billing Aquadrome that had almost doubled. I also remember when I arrived the engine wouldn’t stop running when I turned the ignition off. So I had to stall the engine to stop it (funnily enough, I never had that problem again).
Since then, my Defender had been to the Land Rover show at Billing every year, and with the show at a new location this year, namely Kelmarsh Hall, 2017’s shenanigans were a little different. I have to say though the move was a big success – it’s a great location for the show.
The month prior to the show marks my Defender’s MOT time, which is always a bit worrying. You hope even after you have given it a check over that everything is in working and safe order, but you never know what the MOT tester might find. This year it went through without a problem, not even an advisory or a comment. So that was all good.
Since that first journey in 2004 my Defender has clocked up 82,000 miles and it’s changed a bit. Mechanically it’s still very much the same, other than a replacement gearbox. It’s still on the same exhaust system, so buying a stainless steel one has paid off. But there have been a lot of other changes over the years: side windows have been fitted, a winch, internal roll bar and I’m on my third set of tyres.
On the downside, some bits of the bodywork are now starting to show signs of corrosion. I guess at some point in the not too distant future I need to do something about it before large holes start appearing. There does seem to be a new draught coming in around the bottom of the driver’s door, which I should probably check out.
Overall, I’m looking forward to another year of motoring in my Defender!