IS THAT AN ELEPHANT I SEE?
I would like to thank Billy Best for taking the courage to point his finger at the elephant in the room (Letters, Winter). It needed to be done, and it took someone as forthright as Billy to do it.
Billy is oddly silent about what he does like, but I guess that he drives a late Discovery 1 or older Defender and has a penchant for engine snorkels, knobbly tyres and chequer plate. Perhaps he takes an occasional trip off-road and sometimes explores the continent to find some secluded hilly lanes. Nothing wrong with this, it’s all great stuff. But here is the elephant in the room: to read about these exploits in a magazine is as exciting as an evening being forced to look at my neighbour’s holiday photos.
I won’t attempt to convince Billy about the huge satisfaction to be had rescuing and restoring a Land Rover that played some important role in Lode Lane’s history. I am not going to urge Billy to contribute to the preservation of Land Rover’s heritage or tell him about the thrill when a visitor approaches you at a show to say “I used that vehicle when I worked for Land Rover.” I will keep quiet about the terrific continental road trips we have taken in our rescued Rovers.
I do worry about Billy, though. He seems a little too concerned about his disinterest in what other people do. I am not a psychologist, Billy, but do you need to come out of the closet? Do you actually want one of these historic Land Rovers you seem to deride? Perhaps you could buy a G4 or a Camel Trophy vehicle? It’s quite safe – they are historically important in Land Rover’s story and they come with snorkels and big tyres as standard. You could even progress to a press launch Range Rover. Did you know that several pre-production P38 Range Rovers were used off-road in Botswana and Patagonia as part of the 1994 press launch? Many of these are yet to be found… who knows, one may be lurking on ebay right now.
The elephant in the room is that Land Rover enthusiasts tend to fall into two distinct groups. There are those who see their Land Rover as a blank canvas to modify and satisfy an urge to roam; and then there are those who see themselves as rescue-archaeologists who get a thrill out of discovering, preserving and researching some rotting vehicle that once played an important part in the Land Rover story. Visit any Land Rover show in the UK and you can spot these groups quite clearly.
Winston Churchill once said: “I disagree with your view, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” Billy, I disagree with your narrow-minded view, but I strongly believe that excellent magazines such as LRM thrive because they cater for both groups of Land Rover enthusiast. Adrian Embleton Doncaster The Land Rover movement is a broad church, Adrian, and we agree that there’s room for all enthusiasts of every persuasion – Ed.