Re­liv­ing the glory days

As Trevor Cuth­bert’s pals con­sider buying back their old Land Rovers he won­ders if he should do the same...

Land Rover Monthly - - Writers’ Rovers - TREVOR CUTH­BERT CON­TRIB­U­TOR

Two good friends of mine – who I have known since my ear­li­est days of Land Rover own­er­ship – had the op­por­tu­nity to buy back their De­fender 90. Both in­stances were purely co­in­ci­den­tal and both had very dif­fer­ent out­comes. To fur­ther en­hance the co­in­ci­dence fac­tor, my friends are brothers-in-law and both Land Rovers were red De­fender 90 300Tdi mod­els.

Firstly, my friend John dis­cov­ered that the dude he had sold his 90 to was sell­ing it again, some nine years later. He seemed quite ex­cited about the prospect of be­ing in Land Rover own­er­ship again and was look­ing for­ward to the day when the three of us (Matthew, who sub­se­quently bought back his old 90 came along, too) set off with my trailer to com­plete the deal and haul the Land Rover home.

The De­fender was in a bit of a sorry state, but we could see the po­ten­tial in it; we could bring it back to its for­mer glory. How­ever, John’s face told a dif­fer­ent story and it wasn’t long un­til he mut­tered out of the ven­dor’s earshot, “I don’t think I can do this.” No sale. Matt and I wor­ried that the owner would con­clude that we talked him out it, but the truth was John sim­ply was not ready to go back to Land Rover own­er­ship, with all of the time and ex­pense that his old truck would need.

Not long af­ter this, Matt and I set off to buy back his red De­fender. He had dis­cov­ered that the owner had not been us­ing it for sev­eral years, but wasn’t pre­pared to sell – de­spite nu­mer­ous cold calls to his house by an op­por­tunist keen for a quick bar­gain. How­ever, when Matt ap­proached the owner and told how he had al­ways re­gret­ted part­ing with the 90, a sale was agreed – and at a very at­trac­tive price. We still have a lot of work ahead with Matt’s De­fender 90, but now – two months later – he is still very ex­cited and pleased to have it back.

This all got me think­ing of my early days of Land Rover own­er­ship, and my own first De­fender 90. Most of these early days were spent with Matt and John and nu­mer­ous other friends in the North­ern Ire­land Land Rover club – and I look back on them very fondly. Would I buy my old 90 back, if I got the op­por­tu­nity? You bet I would! Al­though I don’t know if I would be just as ex­cited as Matthew is about his (but def­i­nitely more so than John). The thing is I am ex­tremely fond of the De­fender 90 Td5 that I own now. I think I am probably more at­tached to this one, than any I have owned be­fore and don’t imag­ine I will ever sell her. The trou­ble is that my son is in­sured to drive the Td5 and when he is home from med­i­cal school, it be­comes Tris­tan’s Land Rover. So I won’t sell, but per­haps I will have to part with the 90 at some stage.

Look­ing back at the early days in Land Rovers is al­ways fun and Matt has been dig­ging up lots of old pho­tographs of our ex­ploits. Al­most all of these fea­ture his trea­sured red De­fender, of course – even though his first Land Rover was a Se­ries III 88in. It makes me won­der if my chil­dren will trea­sure their early days driv­ing the Td5 90. While my daugh­ter Emma is no big Land Rover fan, I be­lieve that hav­ing no op­tion but to learn to drive in a De­fender has started her driv­ing ca­reer in a very good way. There is no ques­tion that Tris­tan will look back fondly. Youngest daugh­ter, An­to­nia? She says that she doesn’t even want to learn to drive!

A lot of work is needed to bring Matt’s 90 back to its for­mer glory...

Will Trevor’s chil­dren have the same find mem­o­ries of ‘their’ first De­fender 90?

... but he’s get­ting there and is very chuffed with it

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