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Written and presented by James Taylor

Produced and filmed by David Jeffery

Four Wheel Films, 1994, 60 mins. VHS. $35.00

James Taylor knows his stuff. He is widely recognized from his numerous books as the pre-eminent authority on Land Rover history. His expertise is highly evident in this entertaining and informative video history of Land Rover.

Practically all the footage was shot for this production, which means there is virtually no archival coverage. While this may seem to be a drawback, it is in fact an awesome testimony to the durability of the Land Rover, for every model -- and quite a few special conversions -- are shown on the road in sharp color images, focusing on the features that Taylor considers important.

Starting in Land Rover no 29, a pre-production model unveiled at the 1948 Amsterdam Motor Show, and ending up in a 1995 Discovery, Taylor drives the viewer through almost fifty years of history, with plenty of action showing off the legend at its most versatile. Even the mechanically disinterested cannot fail but be captivated by the significant differences between models, and Taylor succinctly explains the socio-economic forces behind the evolution of Land Rover models. Among the interesting tidbits, we learn that Range Rover was specifically designed as a leisure vehicle for the American market, but it was so immensely successful in carving itself a new niche in the automotive spectrum that demand outstripped production and seventeen years passed before Americans could first purchase one.

Although excellently scripted and filmed, the video suffers from major sound problems. Half of it sounds like it was mixed in an echo chamber, and the interviews with Range Rover stylist Tony Poole are barely intelligible.

Review by T.F. Mills

Reprinted from the Solihull Society Newsletter, November/December 1995
Copyright Dixon Kenner, 1995-2011. Last modified March 15, 2005.
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