I don’t remember the first time I saw a Land Rover, but I can’t remember not being in love with them. My first ride in one must have been when my family arrived in Kenya when I was three. Welcome to Africa. This is a Land Rover. This is how you get around.
Growing up in Kenya, my life was full of Land Rovers and I loved them all. But I never had one of my own.
I’m now aged 34 and living in
Botswana. Late in 2014 I decided it was time to get rid of my old Toyota and I told my friend Tim Race from Lotec (a Land Rover specialist) to start looking. A few weeks later I got a call.
He’d found a tired 1995 Defender 90 that had spent its life taking a doctor around Tanzania and Botswana – and it was a little worse for wear. I was deeply unimpressed, but Tim reassured me this could be the one, so we climbed in and took it into the bush for a test-drive.
Although it didn’t look like much the 90 was all right. I was sold. After 30-odd years of crushing, I finally had a Land Rover to call my own.
Since then it’s been stripped and rebuilt with all the love that the guys at Lotec can muster. A few upgrades have been added along the way, including auto gearbox, aircon, bearings, belts… and chequerplate on the wings so I can stand atop them and roar at the world with a brandy in hand.
It also has a new colour, the fruit of a long episode of agonising over the choice. The result is a stunning colour we have dubbed ‘Frustration Green’.
Naming a car is a delicate thing, and not every car deserves one. Most just don’t have enough character. But one day I walked into the shop as it was starting to look like a real Land Rover again. ‘Hello. Charlotte,’ I said. When I got home I looked it up. Charlotte means ‘Free Man’. A perfect fit for a Land Rover.
This owner review appeared in the January 2009 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.