I remember my first time very well!……………………………..I was sat in the back of a Range Rover Classic!
My first memory of a Land Rover was going with my father to the local Rover garage and being taken for a test drive that included some off-roading in a quarry. It was in the seventies, I was a young boy, maybe 5 or 6 years old and I remember sitting in the middle of what seemed like an enormous rear vinyl seat and sliding from side to side, there were no seatbelts in those days!
It was a 1974 Baham Gold Range Rover Classic 3.5 V8, I cannot remember if it was new or nearly new but was very excited when dad took me along and we went for the test drive and remember going back to the dealers a few days later to pick it up with him and ride home to the farm.
There are a few things that stick in my memory about that Range Rover, of course, there was the throaty roar of that legendary V8, the vertical bars of the radiator grill, the large door handles and the wing mirrors mounted way out at the front of the bonnet. I remember riding across the fields with my sisters sitting on the tailgate with our legs dangling over the edge, we were too little to reach the ground!
Inside was best described as functional, there were large vinyl seats in mustard brown or calf scour brown as we used to call it with matching carpets. The gearstick was very tall and used to vibrate and hum at cruising speeds.
I cannot remember even if it had a radio in those days. But it had its own soundtrack, there was a very distinctive V8 burble from the engine and a hum from the transmission on the overrun, certainly nowhere near as refined as later Range Rover’s from the late 80’s and early 90’s.
This Range Rover was the first of many for my dad, I remember a Warwick Green 2 door which was followed by a burgundy 4 door, Trocadero Red I think was the official colour name. I recall this being an EFi and they suffered ignition or ‘pinking’ problems under hard acceleration and it went back to the dealers several times to try and fix it. This was replaced by a 3.9V8 Vogue in Ardenne Green, by this time they were getting very luxurious and of course, the price was increasing too.
I have fond memories of this particular Range Rover as we were away on a Family holiday on my 17th birthday in Lyme Regis, I took my ‘L’ plates with me and could not wait to attach them to the Range Rover, so this was the first car that I drove on the roads, I had already passed my tractor driving test 12 months before on my 16th birthday so I already had some experience of driving on the roads. Even so, driving a £26K V8 powered car was a dream come true for me as a 17-year-old and I enjoyed the 150-mile drive back home very much. That was back in the days when you could enjoy driving, there was less traffic, no speed cameras and fewer speed restrictions. My dad was a great teacher and he taught me well, he used to tell me to make full use of the road and the gears, knocking it down to 4th or 3rd when necessary to overtake safely.
My dad loved his cars and replaced them frequently, I went off to Agricultural College and when I returned home there was quite often a different car in the garage, he did try Daihatsu’s and Shogun’s we even had a 4wd Bedford Rascal on the farm for while but there was always a Range Rover too for as long as I can remember.
In 1995 he was tempted by the New Range Rover P38 and he bought a 2.5TD with the BMW engine, we were never that taken by it so it did not stay for long. I don’t think there was anything in particular, it did not break down or anything, it just felt slow and well, not like a Range Rover should feel. So this went and was replaced by many BMW’s and Mercedes cars and a Defender became the farm hack, the first being a 1989 Defender 90 200TDi, this became my daily driver and the start of ownership of many more Land Rovers for me!
So do you remember your first time……………That you drove or was driven in a Land Rover?
We would love to hear your stories.