This weekend I turned half a century old. In today’s United States of America that is no great fete. We have peace, security, great medical care, and a thriving economy (well…sorta). So turning 50 years old is pretty easy. I have always tried to take pretty good care of myself. So today at 50 years I still feel like I did at 40 years.
In 1964 Land Rover offered the iconic Series II. Imagine a configuration of a Series II and it was offered that year. It was the farmer’s friend. It was a reliable workhorse. With a Dormobile kit it was a camper. And it was a staple of overland travel in the third world. And…I want one.
Who in their right mind wants a 50-year-old Land Rover? Me.
These Land Rovers are dirt simple. They are sturdy, mechanically simple. If you have a diesel model there are about three wires under the bonnet. Electrically easy to sort out. Keep the rust off of her and you are golden.
Ideally, I’d love to own a totally restored version. You can only imagine that those go for northward of 50,000$(US). I am not a car collector. I could not possible afford to have a 50,000$ toy sitting in my garage. I would want to use that Land Rover. I would need to drive it….often, perhaps even as my daily driver. I imagine in a more romantic version of my life this mythical 1964 Series II would be my “Rocinante”. That was the name Steinbeck gave to his camper truck which he used to travel across the United States in 1960 with his dog Charley. (If you haven’t read the book, Travels with Charley, you need to.)
I know that driving a 50-year-old car on a daily basis is not practical. This is Oklahoma. It has a range of weather that includes -30’s of Southern Canada all the way to Sub-Saharan Africa 120F. My commute at this time is 50 miles a day in stop and go traffic. Finding parts is easy. Rovers North takes care of that for most Series models. Sadly I am in the farthest shipping zone from them. Getting parts quickly is impossible. This alone makes owning a Land Rover let alone a 50-year-old model “problematic”.
So for now I will just drive my 21-year-old daily driver. Perhaps when I am retired or semi-retired I’ll buy a 1964 Series II. I want to do some overland traveling and I can’t imagine doing it in a modern automobile.
Thanks for reading and Happy Rovering.