I’ve always had a bit of a ‘thing’ for military vehicles. I guess theres no way about getting away with this one: in this respect, I’m a geek.
My favourite military vehicle has to be the good old Land Rover, stalwart of the British Army for years. I’ve never heard anything other than good words from people who have driven them, especially the 110 long wheel base versions – the military counterpart of the civilian Defender. There are some fantastic examples out there – 109′s restored as SAS ‘Pinkies’, Lightweight airportable verions, Gurkha versions, Royal Signals FFR (fitted for radio) versions, and ambulance versions.
There are even a number of communities dedicated to the restoration of ex-military vehicles – The Military Vehicle Trust and the Ex Military Land Rover Association are both fine examples. Just take a look at some of the vehicles in their galleries! There sure is a wealth of expertise out there.
I guess you could say it is an ambition of mine to own one. The plan, eventually, is to pick one up at a knock down price and take it on as a project – research its service history and restore it back to something like its original condition, complete with markings. The great thing is that you can research the service history of every ex-army Land Rover via the records of the Royal Logistics Museum.But, alas, as I haven’t got a driving license yet the Land Rover project is there on the backburner. But that doesnt stop me looking in the classified ads in military vehicle magazines, an on auction websites.
Not only do I find them interesting, but I can imagine a Land Rover 110 being a pretty darn practical vehicle – you wont find the snow stopping you driving round a Lanny. I can see it being an ideal fishing wagon too. And any vehicle that is designed to serve in action with the Army is going to be reliable and easy to maintain, surely?
If money were no object, I would like a WW2 airborne Jeep too. Now that would be something to drive along Southsea seafront in Summer. And while we’re at it, how about a DUKW amphibious vehicle? Is it a truck, is it boat? Its both! It beat Top Gear to it by 60 years!
The Land Rover is gradually being phased out as a combat vehicle in favour of more armoured and mobile vehicles. This is especially important given the inadequacy of the Snatch Land Rover at protecting troops from roadside bombs in Iraq and Afghanistan. But I’m sure the Lanny will keep on serving away from the front-line for some time to come.