Living The Dream...
The other day someone commented on one of the photos below which I'd put on our Instagram page - themudlifeuk. I mentioned that it was one of a collection of photos that I'd taken of a press Range Rover and sent to the Range Rover Register, along with a quick article, for their club magazine. After another conversation with someone else, I decided to re-jig it a bit and put it on here.
The idea was sound enough, get up ridiculously early in the morning and drive to a nice spot up yonder hills to take some photos of a beautiful Full Fat Range Rover at sunrise for an article in the now defunct Land Rover World magazine.
The alarm went off at 4.00am and if I’m honest, if it was for any other vehicle I would have stayed in bed, however, every moment I spent driving the Full Fat was like living the dream!
So there I was, creeping around the house on what was to be a bright November morning trying not to wake Muddy Madam. Camera, check. Tripod, check. Coffee, double check, and off I trundled to the aforementioned hills up yonder.
I’d had the Full Fat on loan from Land Rover for a week, and as a life long Range Rover enthusiast I was in heaven. Driving this great lump of 4x4 around was a delight, however, it isn’t without a few little faults in my opinion, but let’s not dwell on those.
Although I dislike too many electrical aids in cars these days, I loved the intelligent lighting system. It knows when its dark and switches on the lights. It knows when it’s really dark and switches high beam on, and it even knows when a car is coming towards you and turns high beam off - witch craft if you ask me!
When I arrived at the local beauty spot I watched as the sun rose on another day, and in between taking photos I pondered for a moment on the fact that this was just another working day that involved driving and taking photos of what I believe to be the best car in the world. Oh’ how I laughed!
Once the sun had risen and the photos taken, I decided that I’d explore a local green lane that just happened to be close by, it’s the only decent one in my area so it would have been rude not to, right?
As I reached the lane in this £80k+ Range Rover I must admit to feeling a bit nervous, I’m sure my palms would have been tacky, but I have a heated steering wheel so everything was right with the world.
The last time I drove this lane, which is rocky and quite steep in places, was in my 300Tdi Discovery, I remembered how it scrambled for grip on the loose stones, and on occasions would momentarily lose forward motion when a front tyre was waving in the air, but I was in a brand new Range Rover, so this would be easy, I hoped.
As I turned the sleek dial on the centre console to ’Rock’ mode, lots of things happened underneath me with muted whirring sounds, things that the majority of Range Rover owners wouldn’t concern themselves with, but for me magic was happening.
I have to admit that this wasn’t the first L405 that I’d driven, and it wasn’t the first that I’d driven off road either, so I knew exactly how good they are what to expect. For this reason I decided to drive as slow as I possibly could up the slippery rocks, just to test it, and it didn’t disappoint, the Full Fat climbed without hesitation with hardly a scramble from the huge tyres and loose rocks beneath them.
I wanted to make this part of the story quite exciting: Man and machine battling against nature, the vast aluminium body lurching from side to side as we fought hard against this treacherous ancient byway, that sort of thing, but in truth it was quite boring. Even when I picked the wrong line on purpose the Range Rover forgave me and carried on regardless. I’m sure it thought to itself, ‘Silly human, here let me take control!’
And so, with relative ease we reached the top, and I was left in a dilemma. On one hand it was too easy with hardly any driver involvement, yet on the other, due to its electrical witch craft, I didn’t have to use any momentum whatsoever, which in turn limited any mechanical breakdowns, potential bodywork dings and any damage to the environment. I suppose if I could afford a newer Range Rover then I could also afford a cheaper 4x4 in which I could have all the driver input I wanted, like my 19 year old Discovery.
If you have a Range Rover or desperately want a Range Rover, then the Range Rover Register is the place for you. It was formed in 1984 by a group of Land Rover Club members at a meeting of the Association of Rover Clubs. Bill King, who is now the club's President, was given the task of collecting the subscriptions and setting the wheels in motion for the formation of the club. The original aim of the club was to trace and register the pre-production Range Rovers (known as VELAR's) and the vehicles involved in the press launch in June 1970.
Since 1985 the club has evolved to encompass all aspects of the Range Rover and they remain the only British club catering solely for what I firmly believe to be the best 4WD in the world both for its owners and enthusiast alike.
Visit their website at: www.rrr.co.uk and join up!