My Santana started its life as part of a 40-strong fleet owned by the Spanish Civil Guard in the Basque Country, designed for riot control. Originally army green, after eight years’ service all 40 Santana 2000s were decommissioned and repurposed, mostly for use by other government agencies including Spain’s version of the UK’s Forestry Commission, the Agrupació de Defensa Forestal.
That’s what happened to mine.
When I gave the local ADF a call and offered to buy it, it hadn’t been used for a couple of years. But it was still officially classed as ‘active’ for a few months before I could buy it last year – even though it stood unused on site. I paid €3000 for it, the equivalent of about £2400 at the time.
Sitting behind the wheel for the first time was a bit of a shock to the system. For a start, you have to jump up to get in, because the cab is so high. But once I got used to that, it was lovely to drive thanks to the power steering and dual-brake system. It’s very loud; my wife and I can only communicate in the cab by screaming!
By a bizarre coincidence, four months ago a friend of mine told me he had seen a similar Land Rover. I didn’t believe him – I told him it couldn’t be the same, as there were only a handful of Santana 2000s converted for ADF duties. But we used Google Maps to have a look and, sure enough, there it was in a courtyard. I rang the telephone number corresponding to the postal address and the owner picked up. He told me his Santana had been working fine when he parked it five years previously, so after we agreed a price I returned home with my 2000’s long-lost twin.
These two are my first Santana 2000s – but certainly not my first Land Rovers. I have restored over a dozen Santanas and Land Rovers. It all stems from when I bought a Lightweight from my uncle. Then I met the events co-ordinator for the Spanish Classic Land Rover Club and have been hooked on classic Land Rovers and Santanas ever since.
Published in the October 2015 issue of Land Rover Owner. Download a digital issue, or order a back issue by calling 01858 438884. Please note, we only hold stocks of the the last three back issues.
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