“How’s your old jeep?”
“it’s a Land Rover”. I reply flatly. “And it’s only fiftee… um… nearly twenty (gosh!) years old. Well yes, alright, it’s old. But it’s not a jeep!”
Like calling a chocolate torte a ‘carob cake’, or referring to marmite as ‘vegemite’, or to a Dyson as a ‘hoover’ (for goodness sake!): a Land Rover is not a blinking jeep!!! (Or a bus or a truck, although I think I can accept these two as being more in the spirit of friendly ribaldry rather than blatant misrepresentation. Initially called the Land Rover Ninety and Land Rover One Ten (ie. short or long wheel-base) the Landy Defender was developed from the original Land Rover Series launched in 1948. Does this make it a Baby Boomer? With the aluminium body it was certainly born out of rationing .
The Land Rover was designed to only be in production for two or three years to generate capital to bump-start (hmm) up-market Rover car production after the second World War. However, the off-road Land Rover just outsold all the other Rover vehicles and emerged as its own brand. In October 2013 Land Rover announced that production of the Defender would end in December 2015, after a continuous run of 67 years. (Nooooooo!) As Paul and I often tell people (and if you’re reading this, we may well have mentioned this to you personally, but forgive me for labouring the point) over 70% of all Land Rovers ever produced are still on the road, and, we add, the other 30% have no doubt been cannibalised into that 70%.
The Range Rover isn’t a jeep either, although some might be forgiven for thinking that neither is it really a land rover. First sold in 1970, this child of the Glam rock era gave birth in 1989 to the Discovery, aptly nick-named the Disco (teenage pregnancy?). Luckily the company decided not to include the Conran Design Group’s nifty custom sunglasses holder to be built into the middle of the steering wheel. They did include now collectable items such as the Land Rover-branded cloth fabric holdall in the front centre console which could be removed from the vehicle and worn over the shoulder – a landy handbag, Terence???
Our Land Rover Defender is called Evita. Our sunglasses sit firmly on our noses or pushed back on our heads when glaring at maps while bumping along dusty tracks. Our branded holdalls have Lidl or Carrefour printed on ’em. We hoped naming her Evita would mean less repairs, evitar in Spanish being to avoid (ho-ho….). Conforming to Spanish law she takes two MOT’s per year to make sure she’s fit for purpose. She’s stoutly borne us south to the Sahara and north to Galicia, speeding along motorways, tracks and mountain trails. She’s provided us with bedroom, kitchen and shelter from winds and rain (does leak a bit!). We love her –
AND SHE’S NOT A JEEP!