I don’t remember my first ever experience in a Land Rover because I was only 2 days old. I have known nothing but Land Rovers from birth to current day. My name is Jack, and I have lived in South Devon my whole life. I’ve dreamt of owning my own Land Rover for as long as I can remember, and now, after a 20 year wait, I do.
My Dad ignited my passion for Land Rovers, having owned 5 himself. From when I was a little boy, all of my most vivid memories are centred around either travelling in a Land Rover or lying underneath one passing tools to my dad. I am so grateful to both my Mum and Dad for centring all of our ‘holidays’ (expeditions) around the Land Rover.
I have been to 19 countries in our family 1989 Land Rover 110 300tdi named ‘Moose’, a name given during a trip to Norway, 2007 when a moose decal was adorned on the rear. We saw this as a befitting name due to the 110 always carrying whatever we needed and being so strong and resilient in any terrain.
My whole life may have revolved around Land Rovers; however, I have spent the most time underneath one particular vehicle in the last 11 months more than ever before. I finally scraped enough money together to buy my 1998 Defender 110 hard top and I am so pleased with it. His name is Wolf, defined as a ‘quick pack animal part of a collective group’ (Moose & Wolf).
It certainly hasn’t been without issues, but I knew that going into the purchase (having experienced 4 major breakdowns in Moose). Most significantly, Wolf’s transfer box was replaced, and rear end was rebuilt after a trip to Surrey off-roading, resulting in a broken rear drive flange, and a stub axle turning into fragmented shrapnel! I certainly don’t have the tools or the knowledge to replace a transfer box myself (yet!); this was done by our lifelong family friend Rob of Evolutionary 4x4, who fitted a brand-new gear box which I am very pleased with.
I was recently fortunate enough to learn how to change brake disks, pads and drive flanges, which I noticed to be an issue from the day I purchased Wolf with notable drive-train slack. My friend Steve was patient enough to talk me through the various torque settings, the logistics of seating bearings and bleeding the brake system which invaluable knowledge to me when I rely on myself and my Dad for 90% of jobs on my Land Rover.
I have found it a common occurrence for people to mock me for owning such a problematic and ‘unreliable’ vehicle; however, I really do believe if you put the time in and have a willing attitude and source parts from reputable and reasonably priced Land Rover parts suppliers, you can save a huge amount of money from doing your own labour. In addition, I have no ECU to worry about and I bet the majority of people who question my vehicle choice couldn’t source an alternator for their car in the middle of Sub-Saharan Africa as I will inevitably have to do on future global expeditions!
I feel that the strength of a Land Rover lies in its simplicity: accessible replacement parts, Meccano-like construction and a willing owner can all contribute to a Land Rover being a ‘reliable’ car in comparison to the majority of cars today, dominated by electronics and inaccessible components which require specialists to maintain.
It’s always an adventure when you choose to drive a Land Rover, especially a 22-year-old one. That said, I wouldn’t change a thing about my experience with Land Rovers; they have taught me more about mechanics than I would have ever dreamed of and have completely shaped and defined where I have been and what adventures I will have in the future.
If you would like to follow my jobs and adventures with Wolf, head over to my Instagram!