We're bored - can we take the Land Rover? [Photo: Lars Blackmore]
These kids took over the QEI [Photo: Lars Blackmore]
Land Rovers continue to attract enthuisastic followings [Photo: Lars Blackmore]
The Next 60 Years – Who Are the New Enthusiasts?[Courtesy, Rovers North News, October 2008]
By Jeffrey B. Aronson
“Hey mister, can we play in your truck?”
The question came to me from a boy and a girl while I mowed the lawn of the house their families had rented for vacation. The kids were picking wild blueberries along the shore of this island when they saw me stop for a moment.
“Sure,” I said, “just don’t touch the key.”
They scampered off and I continued with my caretaking work. When I needed to get fuel for the mower, I walked around the house to the II-A. There I found 4 kids immersed in their fantasy inside the Rover. One sat behind the steering wheel.Two others in the front seat shouted instructions to avoid incoming enemy fire. The remaining kid in the rear had already figured out how to lower the jump seats and perform backseat driver tasks.
Lucas Adams-Blackmore, Norwich, VT, age 9, served as the driver and had already noticed that his name, “Lucas,” was engraved on the windshield wiper casing in front of him. He asked why and I told him of the legend of Joseph Lucas and Company. His sister, Lea, age “6 and a half,” assisted him from the rear jump seat. Kate Godsil-Freeman, Brooklyn, NY, age 9, and her sister, Rebecca, age 6, rounded out the adventure crew. I suggested that someone could serve as a scout by sitting on the spare tire on the hood; as I turned to return to work, one of them scampered onto the hood.
The job took me into the early evening. When I carried my equipment to the Land Rover, the kids were still engrossed in their game. I suggested that it might be time for me to leave; their distress was evident. My offer to take them all for ice cream, pending parental approval, received high acclaim. Anyone can spill ice cream in my Rover.
During the summer months I met a few dozen kids at the houses where I serve as a caretaker. None of them yawned at the Land Rover – they all seemed transfixed. These kids never saw Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom or Daktari on television, never heard the song “Born Free,” never watched The Gods Must Be Crazy at the movies. Their extreme adventures involve BMX bikes, skateboards, video games and movies; they had no direct contact with Land Rovers.
I also discovered that generations that grew up with Range Rover Classic or P-38, Discovery I or II, had imbued those vehicles with a cachet similar to those who grew up with original Land Rover Series cars or Defenders. Regardless of their age or experience with Land Rovers, they understood the marque values represented by Land Rover: individualism, authenticity, freedom, adventure, guts and supremacy.
Land Rover has never been a price leader; it takes some financial willpower to secure a Land Rover. It has made an extraordinary impact with relatively few models and vehicles; over 60 years, General Motors has lost more cars than Land Rover has manufactured. Nonetheless, it continues to appeal to men and women of all generations.
The new enthusiasts will come from the elemental appeal of the Land Rover as described by David E. Davis, Jr., the long time editor of Car & Driver and Automobile Magazine. “I know that it’s a perfectly useful daily driver for commuting business people and professionals and I know that it delivers kids to school just as well as any minivan, but I still believe that its natural habitat is dirt roads, rocky trails and old buildings that smell like guns and dogs. I just can’t get over the feeling that every Land Rover should spend most of its life dirty.”
Copyright 2008, Jeffrey Aronson and Rovers North
"The Land Rover is not a vehicle, it's a way of life."