This is my Series II Land Rover, she's called Connie - I bought her years ago, as my first car. She was sold by a cricket club, £240 - I haggled them down from £250! My dad taught me mechanical things, as he had Land Rovers. My mum remembers the vision of me and Dad swallowed by the Landy, backsides sticking out of the bonnet.
I drove Connie when I was a student. But then you get a job, have kids, get a proper car. I kept Connie, always meaning to get her on the road again. She ended up on our driveway, against the hedge. Steve, my other half, and I kept getting bits for the rebuild. But we never got around to it.
It got bad - the door tops were falling off, it was a mess - too big a job for us. The scrap man wanted to buy it, he was even leaving notes for us.
Then I talked to John at Jake Wright Land Rover. I didn't want a restoration, I just wanted Connie back. There was a lot to do. I kept wondering if I was doing the right thing - so much money for something so frivolous, and is it still Connie when she's got so many new parts? I was nervous when I collected her - I hadn't driven her for years and it was rush hour.
What an amazing journey! I crunched the gears for the first few miles, then went round a roundabout and managed to not crunch any gears and it all came flooding back - all the memories of being a student, travelling all over Wales, breaking down all over Wales.
Now I've got to remember how to get it going again when it breaks down! How to set the points, and I always use dto get flat tyres so the jack and extendable wrench will have to go in the back.
The fuel needle was wobbling around empty so I put some more in and it's still wobbling around empty, I remember it being like that most of the time. The noise and bounce was brilliant - the kids didn't argue and soon gave up trying to shout over the noise, so it was the most peaceful drive I've had with the kids, ever. And probably the safest - they can't eat or drink because everything goes everywhere, they can't distract me because I can't hear them and even if I could I can't do anything for them. They seemed to enjoy it though.
The engine fumes took me back as well - I always taped up the holes for the heater (that I never had) to stop fumes coming in the cab, and the window was pretty much always open as well. I think I was indicating most of the way home - I must get used to cancelling the signal.
The speedo was just as wild as I remember, so I was doing somewhere between 55 and 65! I'm still getting used to driving it. Everything's much slower, and I'm getting used to four gears - at first I was trying to change up to fifth and sicth like my Peugeot.
It's cost a lot, Really, I suppose it isn't sensible. Bu I just felt that if I didn't do it, that I'd have let Connie down. John, you have not just rebuilt a Land Rover here, you have built a time machine. She's an old girl who's had a major face-lift, a new hip and botox - but she's still my Connie. You've made two old girls very happy.
Originally featured in the April 2014 issue of Land Rover Owner International. Download a digital issue, or order a back issue by calling 01858 438884.
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