48OE Blog  
Dec 4

Written by: 48OE Admin
04/12/2012 09:31  RssIcon

This is a debate that stretches me intellectually. Well yes I know most things do. I have been a 4x4 fan for more years than I care to remember.  For most of my life this has manifested itself with the world famous Solihull badge.

The first 4x4 I purchased from new over 30 years ago, was however a Daihatsu Fourtrak simply because the Dealership was close to home. It was a canvas back and very basic but it worked and served me well. An early shortcoming was that the canvas top could not be lashed or zipped secure enough to contain my young and immensely strong German Shepherd.

When he came bounding into a Little Chef (he was big and his head was at table height), he caused quite a stir and he had ripped his way out of the tilt of the 4x4. I had left him quite contented in the vehicle whilst I had breakfast. He clearly had other ideas and wanted to share breakfast.

My second 4x4 was a Audi Quattro, without doubt one of the best cars I have ever owned and I deeply regret selling it. It was however replaced with my first Range Rover bought direct from Land Rover. I had an opportunity to have a JE Engineering “Dakar” upgrade which made this into a frighteningly quick road car.

It was during this period that I fell in love with 4x4 Motorsport and started Trialling a Land Rover 90. A few overseas events followed and then I gradually got drawn to Comp Safari racing.

No-one ever adds up how much they spend on motorsport. You would never start if you were told in advance the likely costs. It does not stop with the race vehicle as you need spares galore and constant repair and maintenance. Off Road racing is not a forgiving sport but it is an adrenaline rush up there with the best. You then need a transporter, pressure washer, mobile tool kit, jacks etc. You get the picture. You then want to be competitive with special engines, gearboxes and a myriad of tyres.

One day, at a certain age, and generally on a day of torrential rain as you stand in deep mud, you ask yourself “Why?”

Now I have a theory that it is age related but this is proven not to be a fixed age - as in the case of a great old AWDC competitor some folks might remember, one Pat Willis. It took him a long time to reach the age, but we all do.

I moved from off-road sport to the much more sedate pastime of collecting and showing vehicles. I traded in the lorry, the race vehicle and all the spares to start buying lovely vehicles that I wanted to cherish. An 88 Series 1, a 1948 Land Rover and Brockhouse Trailer, a Tickford Station Wagon, a Camel Trophy Defender 110, a Series 1 107 Station Wagon, a 110 Hicap Defender, a Forward Control, the list goes on and on....

I have bought and sold these and many more and have only held on to a few favourites. I call them my pension fund and with the way classic vehicle prices continue to rise they may just be one of my few good decisions.

However I am not really a “Show Car” type of person. I do not like to have my vehicles picked apart by panels of experts that are rivet fanatics. I am also not blinded as some are into thinking that car production stopped in the 1950s. I am a realist in so much as I like to drive them on sunny days around Herefordshire on B Roads or quiet lanes. My classic cars however have no place on motorways or for round trips greater than 20 miles. I like the luxury of my Discovery 4 for everyday motoring.

I love my old Land Rovers but for my own personal reasons and I will never really be a club or show person. Deep down I hanker after my youth as most of us do and I guess I really did enjoy my motorsport the most. These halcyon days are however best remembered through rose tinted glasses.

But Sport versus Show is a question that has no real answer - it is a bit like asking Rioja or Claret? No gentleman could ever choose - it depends on the day of the week.