Book tip | Landy Love – The Real Deal
Which Land Rover should I buy? The original Landy that climbs mountains and crosses rivers? Or preferably a rare 110 County with a V8 Range Rover? Or how about a new Defender with decades stretched out before it? British native James Robb doesn’t ask such questions – he already holds all the answers.
His small but precious collection encompasses all you would expect from a fervent Land Rover fan. James Robb can no longer remember when exactly he became a Land Rover enthusiast. “I was always surrounded by Land Rovers. I grew up in Oman. My parents worked there. I remember a third series Land Rover, it was actually a bit of a wreck, that my sister and I used to play in as children. At some point, my parents then decided to buy this hunk of metal, restore it and bring it to the UK where we moved in 1984. I was just five years old at the time.”
What sounds a bit like carrying coals to Newcastle was to be the beginning of Robb’s own Landy Love. As a young man, Robb was obliged to join the British army, where he dealt with Land Rovers every day. In his spare time, the young Englishman drove an Audi, whereas at work it was a Land Rover workhorse, in which he explored the furthest corners of the globe. “I travelled everywhere with the army and always in a Land Rover. Whether it was on a Canadian prairie, mountains in Bosnia, or the Iraqi desert, we always relied on Land Rover.”
Landy Love since generations
After his military service came to an end, Robb moved to his parents farm in Scotland in 2010 where he began to use Landys again when working in the fields. “My first Land Rover was this one from Oman. Built in 1973. It’s not really anything special.” The off-roader has had 14 owners in the space of only four decades. Originally it ran on petrol, but it now performs its duties with a nineties TDI engine.
Robb didn’t want a Landy for business only, however, but also for pleasure. He lusted after a very early Series I model, built in 1950, two years after production began. Robb and Series I have something in common: both have served in the army. “That wasn’t really important to me, but as it would have been well serviced there, it’d keep going for another few years. You could call it good genes. This Landy is probably one of the world’s best examples of an original Series I car”, guesses Robb James.
At Landy conventions, collectors often come up to James asking to see his Series I because they want to know how their model had once appeared. The army hardly changed a thing, with the exception of the headlights, which sat behind the grille and griddle as stan-dard. The light output was so low that the army replaced the lights at an early stage. James’ Series I is a particularly short 80-inch version. The wheelbase is only 2.03 metres. You sit directly in the centre of the vehicle. The load bed is so short that you can easily touch the vehicle’s rear with your hand. “That made is relatively compact and handy off road”, says Robb, “but it wasn’t much use for the army because it soon turned out to be too tight for four soldiers kitted out in full uniform on the load bed. For that reason, the wheelbase was later extended to 86 inches (2.18 m). This makes 80-inch Landys something of a rarity.
Serie I, V8 und Defender – The entire family
Robb’s unit has been repainted but not restored, meaning it still has its first metal sheet and the original interior upholstery featuring three single leather seats. The charming seats are reminiscent of fifties’ kitchen stools. They can’t be adjusted so it’s best if the driver is lanky like Robb.
The second car in Robb’s private collection is also a really exclusive Landy. Only a limited number of Land Rover 110 County V8 models were built. His 1990 version in white only clocked up 15,000 miles in the space of 25 years and only during sunny weather.
The V8 county was made-to-order for its original owner. He had a classic car dealership and wanted to deliver cars with the V8. It was put in the garage soon after, however. The car remained there until it was discovered by Robb. “I don’t drive it in the rain, which is of course rubbish for a Land Rover, but this car is something very special due to its low mileage.”
The youngest member of Robb’s collection is a 2006 Defender 110 Utility, a long version without any rear seats or windows. “We bought it because here in northern Scotland we kept getting asked if we could do mobile catering for hunting parties.” Robb and his girlfriend Donnie transformed the utility into a mobile coffee bar and they now tour around club meet-ups and hunting events. “We get booked by a lot of Land Rover clubs looking for decent tea and coffee.” The utility has a 2.2-litre turbodiesel engine which helps us to manoeuvre the bar on wheels up the highest mountain slopes. A tailormade awning is proportioned to protect against rural Scotland’s rain in particular.
“The Real Deal” was published in the book „Landy Love since 1948“ by Nadja Kleissler at Delius Klasing. Numerous other exciting, varied and not least emotional stories from all over the world can be found in this picture and story book for every Landy fan to read, laugh and dream about.
1. Edition 2017
Price 59,90 €
Landy Love is available at your local bookshop or directly from Delius Klasing.
Text Axel E. Catton Photos Lynn Duke
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