First came a 109 or long wheelbase Series IIa previously owned by the RAF and converted with a pop-up roof (that's the odd bit on top) into a "Carawagon" to act as a signal wagon.
Built in 1972 and registered in 1973, Boris as he is known, manages to move at up to 60 MPH without the aid of Tax Disc, occasionally to Africa, and still has the sand of the desert in his crevices. The mileage, however is recorded by a device with no long term memory. It insists on an estimate of 30k in spite of the evidence.
In spite of the photo the paint is green. His hobbies are mud, frightening buses, and dropping out of second in traffic. Once upon a time, farm, farm away, in a distant land when Jim was very small, he learned to drive a tractor. It was simple and uncompromising and in the country lanes and busy trunk roads around his fathers farm they would slow many cars and lorries to 22 mph. After many years of thinking about getting up and doing something he grew up a bit to be a big and powerful prince who did a little radiography on the side, this surprised a lot of people, not least Jim. However his new found success was not complete, for he remembered those happy days on the farm, and wondered how he could return to those happy, traffic blocking days. Then he discovered the big green lump that other drivers called (epithet deleted) and decided that he needed one, or two. The Land Rover, for such it was, seemed perfect for his needs, weighing more than two tons, being 17 feet long (Land Rovers don't go metric) and having a genuine top speed of 60 mph if the gradient is kind. It was also ideal for the tractor driver hobbies of looming out of gateways in front of small, fast cars, and hiding in hedges. Sad to say, however the lump, which had been named Boris, by a previous owner, suffered from a serious disease and required expensive surgery, being reluctant to invest in what looked like a very long process Jim passed Boris on, for a reasonable sum, to a new owner who liked to weld things. Feeling that a newer Land Rover was the way forward Jim found a challenge, a significantly newer one would not be "historic" and so would not get a free Tax Disc. Fate stepped in and uncovered a Lightweight Short wheelbase that was actually a year older, but completely rebuilt by an expert, and generally a really good "deal."
But enough of this let's look at the pictures.
When I was driving Boris, people would ask me why I drive such a large, heavy, fuel thirsty, old, slow vehicle. So I bought something faster, older (but rebuilt), lighter, more economical and even got a soft-top for a new sporty image.
Here is Cog.
Cog is a year older and a tad faster, however the main advantagees are the all new chassis and suspension. Steering is much more predictable and he came with his own military trailer, also rebuilt.
Something that didn't really happen. I found the carawagon roof (example above) was disintegrating. Sad, because it worked very well. However like many military products it was unnecessarily robust, over heavy, too complicated and difficult to repair. So I took it off and used a standard Landrover 'safari top' with a tarpaulin as sides. The two ends had square panels hinged at the bottom which stopped the canvas from flopping about inside and became front and back braces for the lid.
It all worked quite well and I was about to replace the make-shift cloth part with tent fabric when I found the chassis had a serious rust problem. Boris went to a new home where I believe he gained a new chassis.