I still remember my misgivings when, back in 2011, Mud announced that after careful consideration and much trawling of the internet, he had come to the conclusion that the ideal car for me was a Series Land Rover.
Now please bare in mind that I had been car less for some 6 years or so by this time and had been primarily relying on the increasingly infrequent and unreliable bus service to get into town. So when the idea of getting me my own little run around was first broached I, not unreasonably so I thought, envisioned a nice little Corsa, a Fiesta or maybe, at a push, a little Mazda: something warm, modernish, with the usual sort of things one would expect to find in normal cars like, you know, power steering, heated windows, a water tight passenger cabin!
Never in my wildest
dreams nightmares did I imagine for one moment that I would end up with a vehicle that required the muscles of Popeye to steer, an extendable ladder to access the drivers seat and I was blissfully unaware at this point that it was possible to be rained upon even in the (supposedly) enclosed cab area of a vehicle.
However, whatever my dreams and aspirations were, they were sadly waved goodbye when I realised that the occasional forays Mud had made into the realms of modern hatchback, during the search for my car, were simply a way to pass the time until the ideal Land Rover came into view and so it was that Mud, the Mudlets and I found ourselves on the road, early one June morning in 2011, to go and see half a dozen hopeful candidates in a dealership near York.
Annie caught my eye almost immediately. She wasn’t the prettiest Land Rover there by any stretch of the imagination, in fact imagination was exactly what was needed to see beyond the faded and flaking paintwork and slightly tatty looking interior. Added to her woes was the fact that she was a long wheel base (109 inch in Land Rover parlance) and this wasn’t what Mud or I had in mind at all. So I watched as Mud cast his experienced eye over the other shiny, nicely painted and restored short wheel based models.
“Chassis been patched and painted,” was uttered once or twice.
“This so called ‘full’ restoration is not on a new and/or galvanised chassis,” about another.
“Prop shafts knackered on this one!”
“Oh my! What have they done to this poor Series?”
One by one he discounted every other candidate, feeling that the money being asked was too much for either restored vehicles missing important items such as galvanised chassis, or that had had just too many modifications done for his tastes.
Eventually we were left with two options one of which was Annie. Mud gave her a thorough inspection and realised that whilst there was work needing doing, quite a lot of it was superficial and the main area of concern had already been addressed by a previous owner in the shape of a new, galvanised chassis. The asking price was far less than we expected and so after a quick discussion with me, Mud sealed the deal and a few days later, my lovely Land Rover was delivered……… not that I got to drive her for a few months though and the reasons behind this can be found in an earlier post “Beware the gift horse …”
So nearly 3 years on and I wouldn’t be without my dear old car now and at 29 years of age, she really is quite old for a vehicle (I’m guessing 60-70 human years equivalent). Yet she hasn’t let us down and trundles on regardless of worn gearbox and tired old engine. She starts first flick, even after several days sitting on the drive and doesn’t seem to notice standing water, ice or snow. Last week she passed her MOT first time through for the third year running and I had planned to take a picture of her basking in the sunshine and her own glory but it was raining by the time I picked her up from the garage.
Today is her birthday and the sun is shining and I have managed to stop and take a couple of shots of the old girl, on the way back from town, bathed in sunshine and looking every inch the star that she is.