The Land Rover is a fa­mil­iar sight in Nor­folk, from el­derly, util­i­tar­ian Defenders chug­ging around farms and coun­try lanes to sleek Range Rover Ve­lars de­liv­er­ing chil­dren to school in Nor­wich’s Newmarket Road. It’s a favourite of the Royal fam­ily as well, though we’ll draw a veil over the most re­cent in­ci­dent at San­dring­ham...

So it is ap­pro­pri­ate that a Nor­folk-raised writer has pro­duced a com­pre­hen­sive new book de­tail­ing the his­tory of one of the mo­tor­ing world’s iconic brands. Dave Phillips grew up in west Nor­folk and fell in love with the leg­endary ve­hi­cles which trun­dled around the coun­try lanes near his home.

In fact he has made a ca­reer out of a love af­fair, edit­ing the best-sell­ing mag­a­zines on the Land Rover and co-au­thor­ing the Off-Road Driv­ing Man­ual from Haynes. He has also driven Land Rovers around the world and owns a cou­ple – the new­est over 20 years old – so clearly puts his money where his heart is.

His new book The Land Rover Story is a tes­ta­ment to a life­time of fas­ci­na­tion with the ve­hi­cle, de­tail­ing a story which has had more ups and downs than the Khy­ber Pass. Dave takes the story up from con­cep­tion to the cur­rent range and tells tales of tri­umph and disaster with equa­nim­ity.

His en­cy­clopaedic knowl­edge of the mar­que and its his­tory and his pas­sion­ate and read­able de­liv­ery make this an en­gag­ing book which isn’t just for petrol­heads. The chap­ters on the 60s, 70s and 80s, for in­stance, are mi­cro­cosms of the na­tional in­dus­trial pic­ture of the era.

At over 300 pages, in­clud­ing some su­per pho­tos, it is a sub­stan­tial, well-re­searched piece of work which will be a wel­come ad­di­tion to the en­thu­si­ast’s bookshelf. DC

The Queen in a Land Rover De­fender at San­dring­ham

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