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Old 30th May 2013, 12:09   #1
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Post Report & Drive : Land Roverís 65th Anniversary Celebrations

The first design of Land Rover was made on sand - yes sand! Confused?

Maurice Wilks, Engineering Director of Rover needed a vehicle that would do duty off-road and work as a light tractor. He made the first sketch of this ideal vehicle on the sands at Red Wharf Bay beach, Anglesey an island where he owned some land. It’s been a long journey since then for the legend known to us as Land Rover. 65 years since production started in Solihull, England; this year there is a celebration in remembrance of the journey, and to the exciting times ahead. Team BHP was invited for this 65th Anniversary Celebration by Jaguar Land Rover and that would be my next destination after the F Type drive in Spain (Jaguar F-Type : Driven). My dear friend and fellow moderator Khan has already gone on a similar pilgrimage of Land Rovers and my expectations were on same lines. But it was much more, much much more, what Land Rover had planned for me.

A quick snap shot of the celebration and the theme for the event: April 30th marks the 65th Anniversary of Land Rover, a special birthday cake “HUE” (land rover shaped) was flown in by Royal Navy Lynx helicopter to mark this day. "HUE" if you are wondering is the registration of the first Series I Land Rover that came out of production and she is lovingly known as "Huey" also. The vehicles (over 150 of them) on display at the venue showcases Land Rover innovations over the years.

"HUE" cake being flown in:

Report & Drive : Land Roverís 65th Anniversary Celebrations-cake_delivery_lr_65_years__300413_01.jpg

Report & Drive : Land Roverís 65th Anniversary Celebrations-cake_delivery_lr_65_years_300413_03.jpg

The REAL HUE 166, with Spencer and Maurice Wilk's portrait in the background.

Report & Drive : Land Roverís 65th Anniversary Celebrations-first-production-lr_01.jpg

So I land in Birmingham airport on Labor Day (May 1st) from Pamplona, and our group is to attend the 65th year celebrations the next day at Packington Estate. Packington estate has fair bit of history connected with Land Rovers, infact this is the same estate ground where the original prototypes were field tested in 1947-48, and this association continued till the early 70’s with the Range Rovers. The sight that greeted us was astonishing; even for a place brimming with so much of Land Rover history, this was a new high. About 150 different vehicles have been painstakingly collected and are on display today. Starting with the Series 1 to the latest Sport and Evoque, some of these unique machines are even available to us to take for a spin, more on these vehicles later.

View of Packington Hall, old to the new:

Report & Drive : Land Roverís 65th Anniversary Celebrations-allnew_rrs_lr_series_i_allnew_rr.jpg

Over 150 vehicles parked around the estate!:

Report & Drive : Land Roverís 65th Anniversary Celebrations-vehicle-lineup_01.jpg

Few of the vehicles available for drives:

Report & Drive : Land Roverís 65th Anniversary Celebrations-lr-oldest-newest.jpg

Last edited by Jaggu : 4th June 2013 at 11:34.
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Old 30th May 2013, 13:02   #2
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Post Land Roverís Anniversary celebrations - 65 Years of Technology & Innovation

This was sort of "off road nirvana" for me. There are series of activities arranged for the world press and we are as usual split into groups. Group 1 (which I am in) will start with the on road and off road preview drive of the Special edition Defender LXV, I had a glimpse of these vehicles lined up at the drive way when I walked into Packington Hall; the hall being the main building in this estate.

LXV is a Special Edition series, released to celebrate the 65th Anniversary. LXV stand for Roman numeral 65, and only 65 of these would be produced is what I understand. These are Defender 90 Hard Tops that comes in “Santorini black” with gloss finished “grey Sawtooth” alloy wheels. “Corris Grey” contrast roof, painted grille and side runners are the bits that differentiate the exterior from a normal Defender. Interiors are all black (I loved it!), with black leather seats, consoles, steering all detailed with an Orange stitching. LXV comes with climate control, a decent alpine ice with Bluetooth connectivity, heated windshield, powered door windows, and even heated seats. This feature rich Defender runs on 2.2-liter oil burner engine that is coupled to the 6-speed gearbox and dual range (H/L) transfer case. These vehicles had barely run-in and I just loved the way in which the gears felt, tight and precise by off-road standards. The TC though was lil sticky and needed some de-clutch and a roll forward and backwards to engage. Should be fine once the vehicle picks up some Km's on that odo.

LXV Special Edition exterior view:

Report & Drive : Land Roverís 65th Anniversary Celebrations-lxv_defender_special_edition_01.jpg

Report & Drive : Land Roverís 65th Anniversary Celebrations-lxv_defender_special_edition_02.jpg

Report & Drive : Land Roverís 65th Anniversary Celebrations-lxv_defender_special_edition_03.jpg

LXV badging on door under the ORVM:

Report & Drive : Land Roverís 65th Anniversary Celebrations-lxv_defender_special_edition_05.jpg

Sawtooth Alloys:

Report & Drive : Land Roverís 65th Anniversary Celebrations-lxv_defender_special_edition_06.jpg

You get a Union Jack sticker also:

Report & Drive : Land Roverís 65th Anniversary Celebrations-lxv_defender_special_edition_07.jpg

The custom floor mat:

Report & Drive : Land Roverís 65th Anniversary Celebrations-lxv_defender_special_edition_08.jpg

All black dash basic but very neatly laid out:

Report & Drive : Land Roverís 65th Anniversary Celebrations-lxv_defender_special_edition_09.jpg

Stitched leather on the seats:

Report & Drive : Land Roverís 65th Anniversary Celebrations-lxv_defender_special_edition_10.jpg

Thanks to some GPS goof up, I did not get to drive LXV much on the public roads or the motorway though the drive started with bit of both. But as a passenger LXV felt decently sprung (on stiffer side), with some body roll as expected for a tall, short wheel base off-road vehicle. Defender is not really designed for very high speeds, but can surely cruise all day at 100-120 Kmph without any drama; acceleration is pretty decent and for a sedate driver more than enough. No rattles or squeaks and the vehicle seem to be well put together for an off-road vehicle, unlike our Indian 4x4’s- if I may say. For an off-road enthusiast in India this would definitely be a superb choice, I truly wish JLR brought this vehicle to our shores, even if it’s for just a year or two, before the homologation rules would block it for ever! Then I would have begged borrowed or stolen myself to one.

Time to engage that low ratio; you can easily imagine how my co-driver get's thrown out of the driver seat at this point in time It’s a stream crossing, about 100 meters of it and atleast 3-4 feet in depth. Engage 1st Gear and in H, I was able to get across, no fuss, no slips and no leaks!

Report & Drive : Land Roverís 65th Anniversary Celebrations-rotation-4_001.jpg

Report & Drive : Land Roverís 65th Anniversary Celebrations-rotation-4_139.jpg

We proceed further and just to see how the 4 L would feel like, i push that lever. After a bit of struggle thanks to almost brand new TC, we move ahead. First thing you notice is the ride on the trail, its rather comfortable. Suspension is quite sorted out and there are no 'thuds and k-dangs' that one would normally expect. Even in this the most basic suspension that LR has, they have managed to tune it exceptionally well. The torque delivery is very linear and goes from as low as 800 rpm to till about 3000 rpm. These are factory fresh engines but still they rev without a fuss. Very short & close ratios, so one needs to quickly shift up to avoid over rev. Good news is you have 12 ratio's to select in forward depending on your need. Noise level is also pretty acceptable, yes the engine might sound agrarian at times (in comparison to the newer engine line up) but is quite acceptable for a pure 4x4 vehicle.

Report & Drive : Land Roverís 65th Anniversary Celebrations-rotation-4_146.jpg

Last edited by Jaggu : 4th June 2013 at 11:52.
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Old 30th May 2013, 13:22   #3
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Post Land Roverís Anniversary celebrations - 65 Years of Technology & Innovation

So after a bit of trail drive around the estate we are back in front of Packington hall. The driveway is lined with some heritage vehicles right from Series I Land Rover, to a naked chassis on wheels Range Rover with an exposed engine (looks like one of those dune buggies in real). I wanted to grab one of these vehicles, but our counterparts from France were faster. So now I had some time to kill, till they return from their spin around this beautiful estate.

Report & Drive : Land Roverís 65th Anniversary Celebrations-rotation-4_091.jpg

Looking back this was a very memorable wait, afterall I got to spend some time with the longest serving individual at Land Rover, Roger Crathorne. He is affectionately known as “Mr Land Rover” in some circles, that should give you some idea. Roger joined Land Rover about 50 years back! He started as an engineering apprentice and over the years been involved with developing the four-wheel system, brakes, suspension, tranny and the entire drive train for these vehicles. Currently he is the Technical Communications PR Manager at Land Rover. Another interesting part about Roger is his experience participating in some amazing explorations that the company took upon over the years. These were great experiences as an engineer since he could get a firsthand account of the real world scenarios and he got to take away many innovative ideas from these expeditions, for vehicle development. Roger had once visited India also many years back for a brief journey from Delhi to Rajasthan, where Land Rover did some shooting on the sand dunes. Imagine a Range Rover doing a drag race alongside a steam engine train. Well this is what made the brand special, not only are they farmers best friend, but the brand represents the spirit of adventure and epic journeys across the globe. Roger was sweet enough to email me that priceless "drag race" picture later. Thank you Roger!

Roger Crathorne: Yup he is the one you see holding the cake in the opening post:

Report & Drive : Land Roverís 65th Anniversary Celebrations-longest_serving_employee_roger_crathorne_01.jpg

Roger Crathorne has a dream project, which he wants to initiate soon. To trace back the first batch of Land Rover vehicles, if possible get them back to England and restore them to original glory. Apparently many had landed in India, not only with the forces but sold to some private parties too. He vaguely remembers Calcutta having a dealership back in 1950’s. So if anyone has info about these old vehicles, please do pass it on and would be a great help to this gentleman.

Finally it's time to drive few of these beauties, I had already decided what I wanted to drive... Start off with some series 1 and the army spec ones and slowly move up the ladder to the Discovery. That is exactly what I did; I was like that school kid on the day one of summer holidays running amuck around the house. I was jumping in and out of vehicles, driving around the designated trail and exchanging them with a different vehicle. Out of all the vehicles I drove two really stood apart. One was the forward control (FC) 1 Ton that was parked when I returned the military spec LR, not many were adventurous to mess with her size i guess. Saw it as an opportunity and climbed on just like a truck driver in India would, had a blast with the monster. She is quite big for a 4x4 vehicle more like a Unimog, but got some pretty decent turning radius which was saving grace at some of the tighter spots inside the trail. FC gives you a 360 deg panoramic view from the cock pit (thanks to the height), is quite livable and the vehicle can easily articulate its way through the ruts that you throw at it. Clutch had some shudder while being released, but then on it merrily chugs on the torque curve. The tall truck seating gives you a "neighborhood bully" feel.

The 1 ton FC:

Report & Drive : Land Roverís 65th Anniversary Celebrations-rotation-4_101.jpg

Second vehicle (rather engineering example) which i felt quite interesting was the open chassis piece aka my dune buggy. This is a Range Rover that was built for demo purpose, but a drivable one. You can see all the parts that work behind the scenes otherwise. Right from the engine with spinning fan blades, turning prop shafts, and the suspension with those rubber bellows. Everyone would remember seeing the naked bus/truck chassis being transported on our highways. Driving this piece is similar to that, difference being you have to have the mandatory full faced helmet and you are belted in tight. When I tried moving the buggy, the darn thing just leapt forward. For a second wondered if it was the lightweight form factor but then realization strikes! The chap who took it before (actually quite a few of them) were driving it in L range lol. Slotted it to H and then that crazy fan in front slowed down, it was quite intimidating otherwise. Like a huge turbine spinning in front of your eyes and throwing hot air at you, you will not realize all this when you are sitting inside a body shell do you? But in this naked format, one would be holding hard on to that steering wheel.

The open chassis:

Report & Drive : Land Roverís 65th Anniversary Celebrations-rotation-4_018.jpg

Its fun to drive all right, it doesn’t have a body sooo... it doesn’t have roll associated toooo. You can take pretty tight high speed turns on road, and manage doing some crazy articulation without fearing of a roll. I feel all manufacturers should bring out such models for us offroader’s, only for off-road competition use maybe

Next interesting bit about this event was the themed displays arranged around the estate of which i will cover two, that stood out according to me. First one highlights the spirit of various expeditions that Land Rover team has participated around the world. None other than Camel Trophy vehicles to best represent this, they are parked while displaying different recovery technique. Quite interesting to walk around these!

Camel Trophy Theme:

Report & Drive : Land Roverís 65th Anniversary Celebrations-camel-trophy-display_01.jpg

Report & Drive : Land Roverís 65th Anniversary Celebrations-camel-trophy-display_02.jpg

Report & Drive : Land Roverís 65th Anniversary Celebrations-camel-trophy-display_03.jpg

Report & Drive : Land Roverís 65th Anniversary Celebrations-camel-trophy-display_04.jpg

Report & Drive : Land Roverís 65th Anniversary Celebrations-camel-trophy-display_05.jpg

Report & Drive : Land Roverís 65th Anniversary Celebrations-camel-trophy-display_06.jpg

Report & Drive : Land Roverís 65th Anniversary Celebrations-camel-trophy-display_07.jpg

Report & Drive : Land Roverís 65th Anniversary Celebrations-camel-trophy-display_08.jpg

Last edited by Jaggu : 4th June 2013 at 12:27.
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Old 30th May 2013, 13:49   #4
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Post Land Roverís Anniversary celebrations - 65 Years of Technology & Innovation

Next would be the "farm" theme; we all know more than offroad and adventure Land Rover's are bread / butter earning vehicle for many around the world. I have seen tractors in India having various attachments that make it multi-utility farm equipment. First time i saw this phenomenon with Land Rover, when Maurice dreamt of replacing the tractor- he really meant business!

The Farm Theme:

Report & Drive : Land Roverís 65th Anniversary Celebrations-ploughing-field.jpg

Report & Drive : Land Roverís 65th Anniversary Celebrations-farm_03.jpg

Report & Drive : Land Roverís 65th Anniversary Celebrations-farm_04.jpg

Report & Drive : Land Roverís 65th Anniversary Celebrations-farm_07.jpg

Then there was this amphibious guy, who was ferrying passengers across a lake! This is really interesting and i wanted to try it badly:

Report & Drive : Land Roverís 65th Anniversary Celebrations-amphibious_01.jpg

Report & Drive : Land Roverís 65th Anniversary Celebrations-amphibious_02.jpg

Time to get some ice cream from the Series II ice cream van. I had to pay a price for having this ice cream. The amphibious took its last set of passengers to the lake while i was enjoying the ice cream and I couldn't experience the spin, rather the dip inside the lake!

Soon it was time to pack up from Packington estate and move to Sollihul facility.

Report & Drive : Land Roverís 65th Anniversary Celebrations-series-ii-converted-ice-cream-van.jpg

At Sollihul we started with the off-road drive experience and then moved on to a factory walk. I will not get into details since Khan has covered up pretty much everything in his trip last year.

Offroad drive experience drive thread: (Off-Roading with Land Rovers & Range Rovers at Eastnor Castle, UK) Difference being what i experienced would be a smaller offroad spin in comparison around the Sollihul factory.

A video to give you a feel, this was section one out of the two i drove.



Factory tour (PICS : Jaguar's Castle Bromwich (UK) Factory. Detailed report on the making of the XJ)- manufacturing process is pretty much the same, but i visited Land Rover Sollihul factory.

There was a question which was unanswered in the earlier factory thread about the "repairability" of the aluminum vehicles outside the factory IIRC. Answer is they can be repaired pretty efficiently.
  1. Rivetting- JLR has facilities with rivetting machines, please note these are specialized ones not all the dealerships might have it in India
  2. The resin used for accident repair is different, it does not need heating in an owen. This resin used at repair will cure at ambient temperature overnight
  3. Traditional cutting of the damaged piece and replacing with sections is the normal method for repairs

Well that's all folks!

Last edited by Jaggu : 4th June 2013 at 12:43.
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Old 30th May 2013, 13:57   #5
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Post Land Roverís Anniversary celebrations - 65 Years of Technology & Innovation

You are still looking at this thread, that means you are a Land Rover fanatic!

Well, I was really in a dilemma after my visit to Packington estate. So many vehicles and each one had a story to tell! On the other hand I had nooo idea how to capture all of them with images, notes and then share it with TeamBHP folks within those 5-6 hours packed with activities. But then there are some good men & women in JLR PR who had already thought of alternatives and left me to enjoy the experience.

Now the following is provided by Land Rover and i feel is one of the best documented information that i had come across about the heritage of the company, vehicles and the adventure associated. I just had to share this here, hope you like it.

A quick snap shot of history:

Name:  LRTimeline.jpg
Views: 4779
Size:  222.0 KB

Detailed thread with history of all the vehicles that were displayed or available to drive at Packington Estate. Models have been clubbed together and you can see detailed data sheets, history and some FAQ: (Click on links below)

History - Land Rover Series I, II, & III.

History - Land Rover Defender.

History - Range Rover.

History - Discovery, Freelander, Sport & Evoque.

History - Land Rover Explorations.

History - Land Rover Specialist Vehicles, Armed Forces Vehicles & Royal Vehicles.



Disclaimer: Jaguar Land Rover invited Team-BHP for the 65th Anniversary Celebration. They covered all the expenses for this driving event.

Last edited by Jaggu : 4th June 2013 at 21:27.
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Old 4th June 2013, 15:37   #6
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Default re: Report & Drive : Land Roverís 65th Anniversary Celebrations

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the 4x4 Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 4th June 2013, 17:41   #7
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Default re: Report & Drive : Land Roverís 65th Anniversary Celebrations

Thanks for the wonderful report - fabulous
Loved the saw-tooth wheels on the LVX. Looks hefty in-spite of the smaller spokes!!
On the sidelines, was there any murmur about bringing the 90 to India?
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Old 4th June 2013, 22:00   #8
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Default Re: Report & Drive : Land Roverís 65th Anniversary Celebrations

i cannot thank you more for sharing this!! (i mean just by clicking the thank you button)


Thank you very much sir!!
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Old 5th June 2013, 09:49   #9
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Default Re: Report & Drive : Land Roverís 65th Anniversary Celebrations

Thank you for this lovely article. Makes us Indians very proud that this company is now owned by the TATA group.
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Old 5th June 2013, 09:50   #10
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Default Re: Report & Drive : Land Roverís 65th Anniversary Celebrations

That is one brilliant report! Love the pictures and the good dose of LR history in the write-up. Good job.
Cheers!
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Old 5th June 2013, 12:56   #11
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Thumbs up Re: Report & Drive : Land Roverís 65th Anniversary Celebrations

Sighhhhh !!! I'm willing to work day & night to get myself the Defender LXV
Very nice thread here, thank you very much !!!
I think that amphibian looks particularly interesting.
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Old 5th June 2013, 16:39   #12
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Default Re: Report & Drive : Land Roverís 65th Anniversary Celebrations

This is a real classic. Being invited by Land Rover itself would feel so humbling and honored. Great going, the entire Team-bhp team. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 6th June 2013, 11:00   #13
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Default Re: Report & Drive : Land Roverís 65th Anniversary Celebrations

Wow Jaggu: You are the man to enjoy the LRs..Thank you so much for the details
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Old 7th June 2013, 11:58   #14
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Default Re: Report & Drive : Land Roverís 65th Anniversary Celebrations

Quote:
Originally Posted by mallumowgli View Post
On the sidelines, was there any murmur about bringing the 90 to India?
Nope no such plans, but then again getting it as a CBU will not make price sense. Production or assembly will take time CMVR rules might ban it by the time vehicle comes out. These are the reasons i feel. But yes as an enthusiast, am ready with the cheque book

Quote:
Originally Posted by SirAlec View Post
i cannot thank you more for sharing this!!
I knew there are many members like you who are keen collectors of such historical data, hence decided to dedicate the separate thread with vehicle details.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ashphil View Post
Thank you for this lovely article. Makes us Indians very proud that this company is now owned by the TATA group.
Yup these are proud moments for all of us.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mac_guy555 View Post
I think that amphibian looks particularly interesting.
Ya it has a propeller attached to PTO and a rudder connected by cables to the steering system. Floating bouys on the sides to keep the vehicle afloat attached like a rock slider would.
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Old 7th June 2013, 12:58   #15
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Default Re: Report & Drive : Land Roverís 65th Anniversary Celebrations

Thanks for the information.

But I am Surprised to see that no TATA officials at the Event.
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