The Pink Pussycat Club, Kings Cross, Sydney: it's 2am and photographer Anthony Geernaert makes his way back from the crowded bar with a squat whisky glass held in each hand high above his head. Just 12 hours earlier we had found ourselves in the Australian bush interviewing Hilton Pollard, the 70-year-old responsible for the replica 1950 80-inch LRPV featured in the March 2014 issue of LRO.
In a rare moment of weakness, or perhaps as bait for a cunning trap, Hilton had indicated earlier in the day that he might be persuaded to part with his cracking little machine for £5000; a casual enough remark that now had a frantic Geernaert feverishly thrashing out figures on the back of a beer mat with a borrowed eyeliner pencil. No matter how hard he tried twisting the results, the tiny numbers in smudged eyeliner stubbornly insisted that he was still short by about five grand - so that was that.
Flying back to Tasmania the following day, a crackpot scheme for creating my own LRPV Land Rover started to bubble away merrily inside an aching skull still sloshing with single malt. How hard could it be, I wondered, to build a convincing copy of a 1968 SAS Pink Panther on a shoestring?
A few days later, inadequately armed with a cache of scant information about Marshall-built LRPV Land Rovers gleaned from the internet, I stumbled across a battered 1968 Series IIA 109 rotting away in a sheep paddock. It was only after £125 had changed hands that I noticed some disconcerting details about my cleverly negotiated purchase.
Hold on! This mouldy heap of detritus now dominating every square inch of my wife's garage wasn't a Series IIA at all, but an earlier Series II.
What a monumental cock-up. I couldn't possibly proceed with my Pink Panther replica now. It's not only the wrong model - it's the wrong year. Everything's wrong. The rivet counters are after me. It's gone black. I can't breathe properly!
Miraculously, an emergency escape route does exist through a chronological loophole conveniently provided by the early SAS unit-modified Series II or 'pre-Pinkie', which Marshall Specialist Vehicles presumably drew upon as a starting point for their purpose-built standardised IIA versions.
Because these unit-modifieds Series IIs had evolved in the field, no two pre-Pinkies were ever exactly the same, which means - wait for it - that any contemporary interpretation of one will hopefully completely confound all but the most committed obsessive-compulsive fixated on finding faults. Brilliant!
The work to build my own Pinkie continues. Next instalment coming to an LRO near you soon. Or soon-ish. Maybe...
Originally featured in the July 2014 issue of Land Rover Owner International. Download a digital issue, or order a back issue by calling 01858 438884.
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