What makes my Land Rover special is that it used to be a Swiss fire truck, stationed in the village of Raron. Although rarely used in anger, it was always well maintained and was kept indoors – so it has survived the years in wonderful, original condition. Another factor that helped to preserve it is that they don’t use salt on winter roads in Switzerland.
It also has some of the original interior matting and all the original documentation that permitted anyone in the fire crew to drive the vehicle.
After I’d owned it for a couple of years, I decided to repaint it. The unmissably bright, fluorescent orange colour was quite funny – and my friends always spotted me miles away – but the paint was starting to crack and fade away. I’d wanted a Land Rover like this since I was a kid and watched the TV show Daktari, where Land Rovers were all over the place, but I’d never imagined having a bright orange one.
So, after much research, and inspired by the blue used by the British Coastguard, I decided to go for the impressive-sounding British Standard Royal Blue.
My dad Jan has helped me with many specific jobs to prevent future deterioration, while always keeping the Land Rover as original as possible. He used to work in the R&D centre of Philips and has the skills – and the patience! – to deal with all the small, fiddly jobs. I’m not a born car technician, so I’m learning all the time (sometimes I hate it and just want to sell the Land Rover) but it also helped me to discover more about myself and how I deal with certain challenges.
So, it’s really a hobby that gives me something I can put my mind to, with the aim of keeping it in good running order, and also preserving its heritage.
Oh, and I love driving it in the countryside on sunny days.
This owner review appeared in the June 2015 issue of LRO. Current and Back issues are available to download on digital devices here. Please note, we only hold stocks of the the last three back issues.