Ottawa Valley Land Rovers newsletter, July, 1995
by Robin Craig
It is really noticeable that an increasing number of advertisers are using Land Rover products to get their message across. It seems that you can't open a magazine these days without seeing the familiar outlines of a Discovery or Series One gracing the pages. I was reading an American off road magazine the other day, just full of all that raised Chevy junk with those hideous paint jobs. In amongst all of this was an advert for Champion spark plugs with a Series One from the UK plugging through a swamp. The caption ran something like "real off roading performance"!
It always interests me how most people in Ottawa Valley Land Rovers are proud to proclaim their allegiance to the club. Recently at Strawfest a Hummer was on display and giving charity rides. After a ride in the truck a man said to the driver that he was really impressed with the trip and that he was an exec member of OVLR. What that exec member didn't know was that he was talking to one of my army of spies, out there watching for potential defectors from Land Rovers!
Land Rover's own newspaper for their fleet users, naturally called Land Rover Fleet World, issue number 13 arrived through the mail the other day. Perhaps the issue number should have been the clue, someone should have looked at the main photo a bit closer before running it. The picture shows The Queen at the opening of a new Land Rover assembly plant at Rosslyn in South Africa. What no one seems to have noticed is that one of the workers behind Her Majesty seems to be opening his zipper or something equally rude! In case you were interested, this new plant is right next door to the BMW facility.
The Fleet World paper is full of Land Rover good news stories from around the world. We are currently in a time of greatly increasing world sales for all three Land Rover products. However, it is the Defender 90 and 110 variants which are the big sellers for the fleet users, with the Discovery sales growing all the time. From all of this comes some really cleverly constructed conversions of the basic vehicles. For a safari viewing vehicle in Kenya, a 130 high top station wagon has been built, with four rows of high back seats in pairs. The roof has an opening down the centre, and the rear is a one piece window.
Even amongst all these new sales it is interesting to see some of the older vehicles soldiering on. King Hussein of Jordan uses a Series IIA review vehicle to inspect the troops and some of his current 6,000 Defenders are in use with his armed forces! Probably the biggest rise in use is going on in France and in Italy where utility companies and fire departments and paramilitary units around the countries are responsible for Land Rover being able to claim a 28% chunk of the national utility 4 X 4 market.
With all these sales just how many vehicles did the factory produce last year you say? A good question, The UK production of vehicles topped out at a record 94,716. Now that gets interesting, because Land Rovers has assembly plants in Kenya, Zimbabwe, Morocco, Malaysia, Turkey and Australia. So we can assume that the total global production has to be very close to 100,000 units when these satellites are included in the equation.
Considering blowing about $10,000 on a Land Rover? You must give serious consideration to the venerable Military Forward Control 101", as shown off by Team 101 Psycho Recovery aka Dave Lowe and Tom Tollefson at the club birthday party. I was pleased to be given the chance to drive David's beast around for a few minutes. It rekindled my earlier acquaintance with them, in the Brit forces a good number of years ago now, but about which I spent most of the Saturday telling David! For sheer fun they have to be the truck that takes the prize.
In the bush, the raw power is right there beside you, literally. The most unusual sensation for most people would be getting used to the fact that the front of the vehicle is at your feet and in front of you at the windshield. This is what meets every bit of bush first as you power your way around the trails. While the 101's look like the ugly ducklings of the Land Rover family, they certainly are no slouches. With the 3.5 litre V8 just begging to be tromped with the loud pedal they can certainly move! Just ask Dixon, did you know he is a closet 101" freak? He even has a piggy bank with money stashed away for when the exchange rates get better! In fact the Team 101" camp took on the air of a full blown military encampment with the addition of David's British military 1/4 ton trailer and the Lightweight. In case you were wondering where the two 101's came from, they were last used by the British Forces in Belize and passed through a third party before coming to Toronto.
Oh, I must not forget to tell you about the shame brought upon the Lowe family name. While Dad David is an accomplished off roader, one of his sons needed a quickie instruction session during the light off road trip. Most people in the convoy would not have heard about it as we were out of CB range at this point. The errant son got stuck in some very light guck. Upon closer examination by Dad on foot it was found that four wheel drive had not been selected! Oops!
J.B. Models of 18 Sandal Road, Wisbech Cambridgeshire PE13 2RS England have been at it again. They have released their 1/76 scale Ser 2A 109 with a 1/4 ton trailer this time. It is available in soft and hard top versions. It comes with some nice decals and for $10.99 can be built up into a respectable looking model. If you can keep a Land Rover on the road then you should have no problem building this one. If you want, you can order them locally through Hobby House on Montreal Road, or call 749-5245 and ask for Terry Jones. This kit is a little clunky, but it is fun to build and will not leak oil on the driveway, and will take up only 100 mm when built!
For all those of you who rush out each year to buy official Land Rover calendars here is a thought. What do you do with them when the year is over? The pictures are usually really nice and worth saving. Take them off to your local art shop and over the period of the next year get each month's picture laminated. With some careful trimming and shopping around this can be done for a reasonable price.
If you are the owner of an ex-military Land Rover and know that its registration when in service was 92 KA 81 would you please contact me. Also on the ex-military line, if you need to buy 24 volt light bulbs I might be able to save you a fair buck.
See ya'll next month, Robin.
Reprinted from the Ottawa Valley Land Rovers newsletter, July, 1995