FIRST LOVE

Land Rover Monthly - - Norfolk Garage -

Ev­ery­one says you never for­get your first Land Rover, but the other day I was clear­ing out a cup­board at home and came across some old pho­to­graphs of the ve­hi­cle which re­ally set me on the path to be­com­ing an in­cur­able Land Rover ad­dict.

It wasn’t my first Land Rover that did this to me: that was a cheap Se­ries III Light­weight which broke down al­most daily, ran me out of money within months and should have put me off the breed for life. Nor was it the sec­ond, a diesel SIIA which I bought cheaply from a dodgy car dealer in Leeds, drove down south in a cloud of blue smoke and sold to an Ox­ford­shire game­keeper for a quick profit af­ter a few weeks. The ve­hi­cle that got me hooked was num­ber three.

Hav­ing just left univer­sity in 1990 with no idea of what to do next I was liv­ing in a car­a­van on a cat­tle farm in Lin­colnshire, work­ing as a petrol sta­tion cashier and Fri­day night driver at the lo­cal car auc­tion. I had the use of the farm work­shop and time on my hands, so I thought I would buy an old ve­hi­cle, do it up and sell it on. A Land Rover seemed the ob­vi­ous choice, and a friend pointed me in the di­rec­tion of an old boy who had a small­hold­ing, kept a few pigs and chick­ens and dis­man­tled Land Rovers for spares as a side­line. As soon as I ar­rived I spot­ted a light grey 109 truck cab with Tex­aco stick­ers on the doors. I had driven past it count­less times, aban­doned at the front of a closed and derelict vil­lage garage. Now it was des­tined to be bro­ken for spares – un­less I wanted to buy it.

The ask­ing price was £400 and I just had to have it, es­pe­cially with de­liv­ery to my home thrown in for free. I didn’t give it a proper in­spec­tion, and it was only when it had been dumped in the farm­yard that I set about find­ing what I had got my­self into. The an­swer, in­evitably, was a big heap of trou­ble. On the plus side, it was an orig­i­nal 1960 Se­ries II with straight body pan­els and all the cor­rect fea­tures for the age of ve­hi­cle.

How­ever, it had ob­vi­ously not run for many years and the brakes and clutch were seized, and the rear half of the chas­sis was ab­so­lutely rot­ten, as were the footwells. The ra­di­a­tor was clogged solid

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