Ottawa Valley Land Rovers newsletter, April, 1995
by Robin Craig
Earlier this year Andy Graham and I visited Land Rover Canada's offices in Mississauga to see a prototype aluminium hard topped Defender 90 NAS (North American Spec). After some juggling of schedules by Shawne Alexander of LRC, we were able to have the vehicle for a couple of hours.
While it is nice to record such items, this is an appropriate time to state what might be the obvious to some of you. Land Rover Canada's primary function here is to sell and service and support the current product line. I know from talking to Toronto area dealers that some of the club types down that way seem to have failed to grasp this concept.
From what information I can gather, there was identified a need for a lockable hard top to satisfy customer demands. There being two main problems with the soft top as fitted to the Defender 90. The primary is lack of security for items left in the vehicle. The second is the wind noise created by the flapping canvas, something the series owners have grown to love, but then again you don't have a stereos in your Land Rover!
Logic would dictate that the easiest conversion would be to install an ROW (Rest of World) hard top. Should be no problem, eh? Wrong! To do so the roll cage that was fitted interferes with the outside dimensions of the vehicle. This leaves a number of choices, which are based on what your priorities are. If you really want to get the hard top on then the roll bar has to be sacrificed and parts need to be removed. Infact all the pieces from where the roll cage goes inside the vehicle just above the doors. This is what had been done on the vehicle we saw. The rear tailgate was complimented by an upward swinging hatchback operated by struts that even in the cold had quite a kick to them.
In the end a decision was made to produce a custom made plastic hard top which can be seen in Ottawa on top of the C.A.R.E. Canada white 90 that is on loan from Land Rover Canada. I have noticed on this one and others that stress cracks are already appearing at the bolt holes. Not a good sign. On behalf of Andy and myself I would like to take this opportunity to thank Shawne Alexander from LRC for helping make the arrangements to have this vehicle available. Now another significant piece of developmental history has been captured.
Last month I made mention of the Land Rover Experience book. Well, having re read it for the third time I really feel that this is a real gem. I really can not spout more about it, buy one, you will not regret it. The quality of the pictures and drawings are of an extremely high quality and the text is so very easy to read and understand. Again, this is available through Westboro Land Rover parts department.
For those of you getting caught in the stamp collecting bug, there is a new stamp coming out. From Tristan Da Cunha is a set of four stamps featuring transport subjects. The 60p shows a 110 station wagon, with a small pennant on the fender, perhaps the local government official vehicle. I have no idea of cost as yet. If you want one let me know.Again on the collecting front, this time toys, Majorette is up to its tricks again. This French manufacturer seems to put out a new variation on a regular basis and like the diecast companies of old makes the most of a set of dies! The latest edition is a Defender 90 in plain white with a red light bar on the roof. This is just about exactly the same look as when this vehicle was first ever issued when it came with the radar trailer. The only difference is that the original had a coloured plastic lens not a translucent one as this one has now. So I guess those of you who are into back dating and repainting might take this opportunity to make your own original version per se.
I think this is an appropriate time to say that I think we all need to thank Dixon for his editorship of the newsletter, he has managed to get the club letterhead in just about every recent issue of Land Rover World and now in Land Rover Owner. The club that you belong to now has a world wide reputation and profile, from all of us, Thank you Dixon.
Until next month, cheers...... Robin 613 738 7880 (email@example.com)
Reprinted from the Ottawa Valley Land Rovers newsletter, April, 1995