An innocent discovering Land Rovers
by Bill McClelland
(future OVLR member when the below comes to pass)
Dear Diary: Had an interesting conversation with a fellow I met at Statistics earlier this year. I mentioned I needed to get some sort of tractor to haul logs out of the back fields for firewood and was having trouble finding something cheap/reliable enough. He asked me if I had thought about a Land Rover and when I expressed a certain amount of skeptical incredulity he assured me they were routinely used as farm vehicles in the U.K., pulling ploughs and all sorts of other uses. I promised to give it some thought, but I don't think so.
Dear Diary: Bumped into the guy from Stats again. He had glowing things to say about Land Rovers used as farm vehicles and gave me a copy of a Land Rover FAQ that seems to support a lot of his statements. If they really are that easy to rebuild/repair/maintain it might be worth some serious thought. I like the bit about being able to stand up to the charge of a bull rhino. I could use one to chase the bulls back to Jean-Guy's farm when they get out every summer (and they always break through his old fences to come after my corn)
Dear Diary: I am so enthusiastic about getting a Land Rover for the farm. I will also be able to drive it to Ottawa whenever it snows really badly because it seems, so I am told, that no amount of snow can stop them.
Dear Diary: I am told of a Land Rover at a wreckers where it has been for 4 years waiting for someone who can appreciate it to come along. We are going to go see it this weekend. I am told it will be a great bargain because these wrecker guys don't know anything about British machines.
Dear Diary: We went to look at the Land Rover today. I am assured that the price the guy is asking ($ 300) is a great bargain and the machine can be restored to a work of art without much trouble. Who does he think he's kidding? The only machines I've seen like that in wreckers' have been there because that is where they should be. It looks like this thing has come to the end of its useful travelling life. I bet if you attached a chain to it and pulled the thing would break in half.
Dear Diary: I was told at lunch today that the Land Rover we saw on Saturday would make a wonderful restoration project. It seems there is some guy in the hills outside of Lanark who can rebuild frames and make these old babies fly again. He said it wouldn't cost much to rebuild a frame because they are always doing it and then all that would have to be done is some simple wiring and stuff. It seems the holes in the body don't detract from the machine but actually give it character. Honest. That's what he says.
Dear Diary: It seems there is a secret society that some people are a member of, the Ottawa Valley Land Rover club or some such name which, from the way he describes it, is some sort of support group for Land Rover owners. It seems that apart from a few, all the members are anxious to share their knowledge and experience with others who want to enjoy these classic automobiles. I must remember not to refer to them again as "those Toyota look alikes." It seems that is about the worst mistake you can make when talking to an initiate.
Dear Diary: I am so excited. I have decided to buy this classic 4-wheel drive vehicle and restore it to pristine mint condition. It seems this can be done for very little money in just a couple of weekends by the wizards at their secret lab near Almonte. He says I will be able to drive this little baby all over the back fields around here where the roads no longer go. (to be continued in future newsletters...)
Reprinted from the Ottawa Valley Land Rovers newsletter, February, 1994