Twelve months ago I started with a car that, though complete, hadn’t moved for 15 years, and wasn’t likely to. Today, the car is not only working, it is mechanically sound, and visually largely still as it would have been when a working vehicle. I set out not to do a restoration, which would have erased the car’s life to date, but keep as much originality as I could, only replacing what was necessary. That brief gave us some freedom, yet at the same time a definite focus. It was a car with a story and one I hope to have preserved. I think I’ve succeeded, thanks in no small part to the multi-faceted talents of Land Rover specialist James Holmes. His welding is peerless, but his breadth of knowledge across all workshop areas meant we never came across something we couldn’t fix.
Neither James nor I are Series I experts. My knowledge until now was in the metric Efi Range Rover Classic and Discovery era. Last January I’d never even seen a BSF spanner, nor worked on a positive earth car. Today I can say I’ve learnt a great deal by simply trying, immersing myself in research and by spending so much time with an expert like James. I basically researched each area in turn as we came to work on it, took James’ advice on our approach to restore that part, then worked together to do the best job we could. That was our plan. I’m still no expert – experts would have done it quicker, with a deeper gloss, I don’t doubt – but I can say I did it, and I now have a greater depth of technical knowledge to help me maintain the car and keep it on the road, which is what the technical section of LRM is all about.