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Adventure Stories & Humor

The History or Land Rover (another view) by Clive Blakely

Having recently re-acquired myself with the Rover product, it occurs to me that the history of the marque has been corrupted and deliberately distorted.

I believe this was orchestrated at the highest level by the Churchill led British Government of the period. O base this theory on the fact that only a government involvement could produce the result now named a Land Rover. Consider the facts, a country emerging from a World War with huge numbers of population returning from the war theatre requiring employment.

Large manufacturing plants now requiring alternatives to munitions and war machine production

. Churchill.s brief to the Committee formed was something like this .we will produce a machine that will challenge the population of the nation, a machine that will consume labour and resources, and will never surrender. So the Committee went to work, with the Land Rovers first release in 1948. Its first decision was to abandon that icon of British ingenuity, the .British Whitworth tapped hole.

All body bolts would be fine threads with a nut on the other side. This would require two people to do them up with a spanner on each.

The Committee also reasoned that if the bolts were excessively long, the fine threads would corrode, requiring the bolts to be chiselled off rather than unscrewed. This would create additional work at the bolt manufacturing plant. And so it went on, decision after decision, creating employment and production requirements. What about the aluminium body? The purists will say surely this went against Churchill.s intentions. Not so. By making it out of a relatively corrosion free material the vehicles life s prolonged. This meant the Land Rover would go on consuming labour and materials for an extended period. No short sighted plan this one.

Another notable decision was the provision of a barely adequate braking system. This is the only true part of the popular version of history. The aluminium stock piles had to be used up, so the sacrifice of minor panels were considered necessary. (This is why the front wings are bolted on, but note the long bolts and nuts on each side). The Committee also decided to provide the minimum amount of fuses, this aided the recovery of the Cable Manufacturing Industry. With the eventual passing on of Sir Winston the Official Secrets Act covered over the real reason for Land Rovers production, opportunists came forward and claimed responsibility, but the ideals of the original Committee continued into the later models. Locate the indicator switch stalk on the Series II so that the owners hit their head whilst carrying out maintenance, this to reduce the still large stockof War Surplus Bandages. Make it impossible to remove the gearbox cover plate without removing the whole floor, and so on. The mechanicals were difficult to tamper with as they were previously designed, but the potential of oil leakage was exploited to promote the sale of British lubricants. And there you have it, a brilliant plan which led to Britian.s recovery.

To this day Rover enthusiasts continue to consume labour and materials to the glory of the Empire. And my own contribution to the cause? Well my Series II restoration has certainly benefited the Land Rover spares dealer. But unfortunately the money eventually flows to the Indian continent. But they were in the Commonwealth once, and need the Rover system, Winston would be proud. [reprinted from the Review (Land Rover Owners. Club of Victoria (Oz), April 1998)]

Copyright Dixon Kenner, 1995-2011. Last modified March 15, 2005.
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