Living in Germany really makes you appreciate England and what it has to offer from greenlanes to Green Ovals. This appreciation for everything English and a love of long road trips were deciding factors in my Land Rover ownership. My first Range Rover was a 2003 L322 Vogue – a fantastic vehicle to drive which suffered the usual niggles.
Faced with a large repair bill, I changed to a 2010 TDV8 with eight-speed autobox – perfect for eating up motorway miles and greenlaning in comfort.
I fitted Cooper Zeon LTZ tyres in order to do more off-roading. These have been amazing tyres with no real increase in fuel consumption. They were tested to the limit at a pay-and-play site, at which the day’s playing was ended by a failed turbo inlet valve. Harwoods in Basingstoke did an excellent job of repairing the valve and ensuring we could return to Germany, and other than this the Range Rover hasn’t missed a beat.
Despite the Range Rover’s fun and comfort, about two years ago I wanted something with a bit more original Land Rover spirit, so I started searching for a Series III. This led me to southern Germany, where I struck a deal for a 1973 88in with a young German guy who had driven it from central Spain after it was imported there by an Irish chap.
The idea of driving a Series from Spain to Germany made my five-hour drive home from southern Germany seem like a walk in the park, but I have to say it was five hours of raw driving pleasure. I haven’t modified it apart from a Union Jack on the bonnet, which is a real head-turner. Many of my German engineering colleagues are impressed with the simplicity and effectiveness the Series offers (they smile and point out the similarities when it’s parked next to a friend’s 2012 Defender).
I just enjoy saying: ‘If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.’ They always smile and say ‘typical British’, but the moral of the story is that they all recognise the shape of the Land Rover Defender.
Let’s hope that continues…