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RIP Land Rover Defender

Discussion in 'The Great Outdoors' started by Tiki Tom, Jan 29, 2016.

  1. Oh, man! now you make me feel so old! They always looked such fun. Same as sidecars for motorbikes, never seem to see them around much.
  2. I've seen more sidecars here in the Portland area than I ever saw anywhere else. There's a Russian motorcycle dealer in town who seems to be the main guy for them. Personally, I'd rather have a Morgan 3.
    Mr. Godfrey likes this.
  3. MikeKardec

    MikeKardec Practically Family

    The market is corrupted by the amount of money that the companies can make building luxury SUVs as opposed to real off roaders. I don't know if it's actually the market declining so much as greed. Ironically, LR created that luxury market with the Range Rover, though many others (like Jeep) immediately followed suit. One thing you do not see in places where if your truck fails you could die is a bunch of accessorized American 4x4s. The dominant vehicle in those markets has been the Land Cruiser 70 (pictured above in Sarge's post), it is (or was, because this trend is spreading like a disease) not very computer dependent, easily serviced, and built like a brick you-know-what. But it's really the only one left unless the Indians or Russians have something. Mahindra, maybe.

    I had a LC 55 and a 60 back when they were built like the modern 70s and they were real work horses but not at all built for a modern lifestyle in the first world (the 60 actually wasn't that bad). They were both slow and inefficient when it came to fuel but they would go forever without repair and were really built for "off road speeds" of up to 45mph or so.

    The Defender was a pretty good update on a similar design. It has lots of drawbacks but it performs as good as the LC 60 and maybe the 70 (I drove one for about a week but it was a long time ago) ... it just never could do that dead-reliable thing quite as well.
  4. BlueTrain

    BlueTrain Call Me a Cab

    Corporations exist to make money and for no other reason. As far as off-road goes, there's no where I know of (meaning no where I've actually been) in the East where you can actually drive off-road, not counting strip mines. Now, there are miles of poor, unpaved roads where you changes of not making it to the other end of the road are maybe 50-50 on a bad day. But a plain pickup truck (still available for any dealer) with good-sized tires is really all you need most places, provided you know how to drive on bad roads. In fact, the joke is that you are more likely to get stuck with a 4x4 than with a two-wheel drive truck. And if you have a winch on the front, you can get stuck so bad you'll never get out. And it's no joke. I know these things from personal experience.
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  5. Indeed. I've seen a driver of a brand new 4x4 drive out onto a wet, plowed field on the presumption that with four-wheel drive he could go anywhere and sink his silly self right down to the frame. All-wheel won't get anyone out of that!
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  6. I would agree having seen that happen too. I do not like the modern terrain selection dial on the Rangerover and discoverys, seems to imply that you do not need experience and the ability to read the terrain and conditions to drive 'off road'. I guess being 'old school' a compass is better than GPS for me and also a 'landy' and knowing how and where to drive it seems to have more appeal that the new modern 4 x 4 cars for me. Yes, I known Iam a dinosaur ;-)
  7. BlueTrain

    BlueTrain Call Me a Cab

    Well, I haven't seen (the inside of) any "modern" 4x4, much less driven one, so I can comment on things like that. But everything is going to be new at some point and you usually appreciate whatever mechanical help you can get. After all, four-wheel drive is more than two-wheel drive and you could make an argument that you don't really need four-wheel drive if you know how to drive. Sometimes it's almost essential, other times not so much. Few of us would ever get the opportunities to drive in all the varied terrain in this country and in all seasons. In any case, I'd say few "sport utility vehicles" would made good off-road/back road vehicles the way I see them. But that's okay. I even have one and I know I'll never drive on so much as an unpaved road, or at least I probably won't.

    Once, a long, long time ago, in the winter, I was driving from the road (unpaved) to a field where I think I had been before. There were deep ruts there made by a much larger truck than my little Land-Rover. They were iced over and I fell through and was on the axles. I had to get pulled out. Another time I was trying to bypass an old bridge that had long since disappeared and didn't make it. I got stuck in the creek. One of my cousins was with me and it took two or three hours to get out. My uncle knew just where we'd get stuck, too, and he was already on his way to find us when he saw us coming.

    Haven't been stuck since then.
  8. Lol, my point about experience, eh!

    You have a switch that allows you to select ice, mud, etc which like you say allows an easier life, however I still think you need to understand the basics principles and an ability to read the land / route and I feel sometimes modern devices fail to teach that core value.

    Fire is a good one, a match makes fire so very easy and one I would not like to be without but I have made Fire by flint and still, and fire by friction so I understand the knowledge and effort needed to create fire and so how valuable a match and modern fire striker/ferrous Rod is.

    As much as I love landrover I would be most happy to drive and own a VW Kubelwagon if I could afford one, at least they are light enough to dig out of the mud! ;-)
  9. BlueTrain

    BlueTrain Call Me a Cab

    I have sometimes thought that a lightweight, front-wheel drive car with a hatchback would be an ideal all-round vehicle, allowing for its small size and provided it had decent ground clearance. The idea was that it would be easy to get unstuck, especially if you had someone with you. I even had such a vehicle but as it happened, it was easy enough for two teenagers (I assume) to turn over sitting in your driveway. The right tires are critical, too, but conditions vary and such a vehicle would be unlikely to be practical in deep snow, not that we have deep snows that often where I live.

    I've never known anyone personally who ever started a fire with anything but matches. In the old days, the first principle was to never let the fire go out. The second principle was to have plenty of matches and to keep them perfectly dry. I even recall a story from grade school called "Borrowing fire, about a boy living on the frontier who was sent to a neighbor's house to bring back burning coals in a bed warmer. So they must have thought that was easier than starting a fire some other way. I understand that frontiersmen and Indians always carried a fire-starting outfit with plenty of duplication of components. Don't know when matches become common but it was before 1900.

    Some of the vehicles we've had, like Volvos, had a selector button for slick roads or something like that on the transmission but we never used it. Having used plenty of different vehicles with manual transmissions (try driving a six-speed with right-hand drive), I'll take an automatic transmission any day now. Even they require some particular techniques different from manuals. My wife's car has a "sport" setting on the transmission, which makes the upshift about 1,000 rpms higher than normal. It's very disconcerting to use, especially when you weren't expecting it to be in that mode.
    Mr. Godfrey likes this.
  10. I've never had much luck with flint and steel but I have very successfully started fires with a bow drill and friction. But, yes, matches are right up there with the printing press as an essential to civilized life.
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  11. MikeKardec

    MikeKardec Practically Family

    My experience has been that true "off road" driving, as in no road at all, is pretty darn rare and few ever do it more than a few hundred yards. Bad "roads", however, are a very different thing, in fact they can be considerably harder to drive than no road at all in places because of the damage, mud and erosion issues. The "can you actually drive a bad road" question is probably more significant out here in the southwest but I think you are right, my vision of off roading in the east is that you'd often be better off with a chain saw than a winch.

    I wish I could find it but I have some video footage from a trip to WA State of a Series Rover driving right over a pyramid of three big logs. Loose logs! I've been some pretty hairy places mostly in the Four Corners area but that really impressed me. Of course the most capable off road vehicle is the one you don't care about.

    My experience with the various super high tech 4x4s is that they use the technology to mitigate other factors rather than to add capability on top of the qualities of a good old 4x4. An old solid axle Rover with good wheel travel is fantastic off road but it doesn't ride well or handle well. If you take away the solid axles and wheel travel, you get ride and handling ... but you have to add multiple layers of traction control technology to make up for it. Everyone wants their 4x4 to be an SUV these days. No doubt there are more people than ever living and working in poorly accessible areas but there are vastly more who live in town and they are the ones who drive the market. Where we used to have about a dozen hard core off roaders world wide we are now down to about 4, with the best, the Land Cruiser 70 and it's off shoots, unavailable in the USA. The 70 is a great truck, a real blast from the past!
  12. BlueTrain

    BlueTrain Call Me a Cab

    An acquaintance of mine in college had a long wheelbase Land-Rover. But he gradually switched over to using a Dodge pickup, probably for more than one reason. When I had mine, though, I "explored the limits" of it's capabilities. True, it did not have a soft ride but that wasn't a requirement. It really didn't have a lot of power, either, but that wasn't a requirement, either. But to make up for the relatively weak engine, it was low-geared, which meant it wasn't very fast on the highway. I really didn't have any serious complaints about it, though, the worst being cold in the winter because of zero insulation and a small heater. I did take it off road now and then but there were plenty of poor roads in places I went.
  13. The best results I have had with flint and steel is to use it with char cloth to catch the ember, I have also used jute too.

    Never managed to catch an ember from a flint and steel with crampon ball only with the ferrous rod.

    I would agree with you old sarge and Ray Mears once told a groups of us that the control of fire is the key to our ability to rule the planet.
  14. Blue train I would agree that it keeping your fire or embers alive is the key to an easier life with fire. Finding tinder and keeping it dry for an ember takes a bit of forward planning. It is that initial transfer of heat to build your fire and fetching it from a neighbour may have been seen as the better choice for some.

    Have driven manual cars for most of my life I find automatics more difficult to drive. My habit to want to change gear from the sound of the engine, using my left foot to hit the brake pedal instead of the clutch! All my habits are to strong for me to choose an auto by choice. I am sure could adapt with some persistence.

    But then I am old just like the landrover, which why I love them I guess, having them around for most of my life.

    And as for Dodge, check this out

    Last edited: Nov 9, 2017
  15. BlueTrain

    BlueTrain Call Me a Cab

    Those who carried flint and steel, Indians, Mountain Men and other frontiersmen, for starting fires, carried a whole kit, including charred cloth (if they could) and other tinder, in the same way we would carry more than one match even though we were only going to build one fire while we were out. As for keeping a fire going all the time at home, it would have been a normal thing because the fire was always necessary for cooking and usually for heat as well.

    Using an automatic transmission, especially after being accustomed to a manual transmission, does require some adaption but it is worth noting that you have to do the same thing going from one car to another, even though both have an automatic transmission. In my experience, though, it takes more care too adapt to using different brakes. With three cars at home at one time, all Volvos, the braking from one to the other was almost as different as night and day. One was dead, another very sensitive, but they all would stop the car. The car I drove was naturally just about right.
  16. Your right about the brakes, after driving a friends mini down a hill once I began to wonder if the brakes were going to kick in, they had to pumped quick a bit.

    I used to have a Toyota and went to flash my lights once only to have the windscreen wipers drag accriss a dry window I had a ford before that car.
  17. aaaa88dcba143ebc380646f8c62f91db--dodge-power-wagon-.jpg
    If I was going to cross Africa in a Dodge, I'd want one of these or possibly its antecedents.
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  18. BlueTrain

    BlueTrain Call Me a Cab

    Too nice! Dodge made a so-called command car during WWII, which was basically a Dodge truck set up as a passenger car. I've never seen one in person. There were other variations on the same vehicle, including an ambulance, one with a different style bed and even one with six wheels, presumably with six-wheel drive, although I'm not sure of that. Not sure either if those were made in the United States or not, though. My favorite army vehicle to actually drive was a 3/4-ton truck, which I think was a Dodge, and which my father referred to as a weapons carrier.

    My favorite army vehicle, however, of those I never drove, was and still is, an M114 reconnaissance vehicle. The unit I was with in the army has two or three and also a couple of M577 command vehicles. Didn't have any M113s, which I believe the army is still using after all these years. The M114 wasn't used that long, I understand, and I've been told that it was unreliable or something. I don't think our were ever taken out to the field.
  19. A graduate student back when I was living in married students' housing had one of those command cars. He was quite the collector and had a knack for bargains. Among other things in it was a four passenger open AC Bristol of which, he said, there were only seven made. His real score, though, was a '28 Rolls that he found in a farmer's garage out in an orange grove. I don't want to even talk about that one!

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