Book tip | Landy Love – With Libby and Landy

Libby and Landy Love Land Rover 88 (5)

The search for the Atlantic green of the Western Cape leads across paths as red and sandy as the Kalahari desert. And ends on the wine-growing estate of a visionary. There, Gerard de Villiers speaks of hard labour and enjoying a slower pace of life – with Libby and Landy.

His estate is small and precious, as the name suggests: Kleinood, a African word of Dutch and German origin. It means gem, or jewel – a loving name for the winery, which Gerard de Villiers manages devotedly, together with his wife and his car, Libby and Landy.

His welcome is warm and his handshake is familiar, like that of an old friend. Gerard is tall and lanky, wears glasses and has an open and friendly demeanour. His cheerful persona keeps him laughing and smiling all day. He loves talking about his career, and as well as his loyal companions. In addition to his wife, Elisabeth, who introduces herself as Libby, and his two dogs, Melitte and Festa, this also includes the Landy, the Atlantic green Land Rover Series III with a short wheelbase, which has been part of the family for almost seven years.

Libby and Landy Love Land Rover 88 (1)

Good wine and a solid car

There was life before Libby and Landy. Gerard explains. He was born and raised in Cape Town, in a family where wine has always played an important role. “I drank my first wine when I was ten years old, on a Sunday,” he says, adding that he only remembers the weekday because in those days, wine was always had on a Sunday. Just like in many churches. In the late seventies, he studied civil engineering, also in his hometown. “Not in order to be able to build facilities for wineries, but simply because I wanted to become an engineer.”

And yet, it didn’t take long before he identified a gap in the market while still a student: The South African wine industry was booming, so he decided to become a plant engineer. In the following decades, he accompanied the planning and construction of more than 150 wineries and sparkling wine cellars. Each of these went on “for as long until the project was finished And that was only when I was absolutely sure it was finished.” He laughs again at how strict he sounds. In reality, it is reflected only in his tendency for perfectionism.

His desire to become a winegrower himself steadily grow during his years as an engineer, until he finally decided to buy the Kleinood in Stellenbosch. After Cape Town, Stellenbosch is the oldest settlement to be founded by Europeans in modern South Africa. The climate there is mild, the hills green, the ground loamy and the forests and rivers pristine. In this romantic area, Gerard and his team produce award-winning wine and unfiltered olive oil. All hand-picked, as a matter of pride.

Libby and Landy Love Land Rover 88 (3)

With Libby and Landy towards the sea

Also hand-picked are the friends of the de Villiers who know where the family’s holiday home is located. A second Kleinood, as if made just for the Landy. In Gerard’s own words: “It’s located so far in the middle of nowhere that we have neither electricity nor mobile reception.” Now his eyes light up even more, and he straightens his posture as if he were about to receive a prize for his best wine: “Libby and I spend the best five weeks of the year there – our summer holiday. As soon as we start carrying our bags towards the car park, the dogs jump in the Land Rover.” Gerard hints at the holiday home’s location: it is somewhere near the fishing village of Paternoster, around 200 kilometres north of Cape Town, facing the South Atlantic.

“We have a farm at the beach. The closer we get to our destination, the sandier the road gets. First we drive for kilometres on gravel, then over sand and potholes. Without an off-roader, it would be impossible. Once we get there, there is absolutely nothing. It’s wonderful.” This place has been his retreat for two decades. No neighbours, no mobile, no internet. Libby and Landy are all the company he needs.

In the past, his daughter Katharien and son Spicer would come along, but these days they are both grown up. That leaves for time for the two of them just to relax, do nothing and go snorkeling, diving and fishing. “We try to live on what we catch from the sea,” explains Gerard, stroking his two dogs in turns. Driving there in a modern car? “Unimaginable. The old Landy is perfect for the trip. It may take three and a half hours to cover the 200 kilometres, but the drive itself is already part of the relaxation,” he says and laughs again, as his mind’s eye pictures two wet and sandy dogs leaping into the car. “I don’t want to wash my car every day. The Landy isn’t bothered by the salty air outside or a sandy dog inside. I just like this car, even though it’s loud and even though the steering doesn’t handle well. Maybe even precisely because of that.”

Seven years ago he bought the Series III and has had a fair bit of work done on the indestructible car. He had sold his Porsche Cayenne because “I don’t want a car collection, I just want to drive – and only own one car at a time. With the Landy, driving is just fun,” says Gerard, who is approached by strangers almost every time he stops to refuel on his way to oversee the construction of another winery – either for his car, his dogs, or both. “People have nothing but good things to say, and not in an envious way. That’s Landy for you.”

With Libby und Landy was published in the book „Landy Love since 1948“ by Nadja Kleissler atDelius 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.

Nadja Kleissler: Landy Love since 1948, Delius Klasing, Bielefeld 2017

Landy Love since 1948 Delius Klasing Cover

1. Edition 2017
ISBN 978-3-667-10687-2
Price 59,90 €

Landy Love is available at your local bookshop or directly from Delius Klasing.

Text Alain Proust Photos Christina Rahmes

Author: Paolo Ollig

As editor-in-chief Paolo regularly writes about all the big and small stories related to classic cars and motorbikes. Classic dreams: Lamborghini Countach and Mercedes-Benz 300 SL.

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