LOST LANDY

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    Tamsin Mackay
    Participant

    I’m sitting here reading your March issue, and from the Forum letters I’m feeling that weird sensation you get when something that’s bugged you turns out to be “A Thing”. I am not alone in my Land Rover rage.

    I love Land Rovers. Since I was a little girl, I have dreamed of owning a Defender. Did you know that the Zulu word for the original Series 1 was schleschleman? It’s the sound the engine makes.

    My first Landy was a Disco 3. She’d been wounded in battle by her previous owner and took bizarre joy in throwing warning lights at me after every trip, but she always got me home − never once breaking down on the journey. Her name was Beast, and when I sold her, I cried, and scared the salesman. Someone is driving around with a piece of my heart.

    I sold her because I had the chance to buy Matilda, a blocky Defender who is awesome to drive. I’m not sure it’s possible to be in a bad mood driving her.

    But the story of Land Rover and the history of the schleschlemann seem to be on an awful path to lakes of cash without any sense of community. The new Discovery is as much fun to drive off-road as a jam sandwich. I was given the chance to test-drive it, and I didn’t even notice the hills, the sand or the axle twisters. What’s the point?

    Why didn’t I have any bruises?

    Then, the price. What the hell? The only person who can afford a basic model for a million rand isn’t going to take it off-road. Then, the attitude of the company with its clamping down on the use of the word “Landy” and the weird snobbishness that turns its nose up at the older cars and ethos. I nearly didn’t get Matilda. I was annoyed by this capitalistic urge to corner the rich; I felt as if the essence of Land Rover had been betrayed.

    Then someone drove past me while I was test-driving Matilda and gave me a wave.

    A complete stranger in another Defender just waved, and in that moment, said, ‘Land Rover isn’t a brand, it’s the people behind the wheel’ without having spoken a word.

    That’s the spirit of owning a Landy, and it’s still very much alive. I’ve attached a picture of Matilda’s rear as she’s just been given a wheel cover overhaul.

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    Anonymous
    Anonymous on

    Thanks for sharing your story.

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