A Rolling Road Block by Mike Rooth
A criticism often levelled at the Land Rover, particularly series vehicles, is that they are slow. This is not, however, a fault. It is a feature. A soldier once said that the Cavalry exists to lend tone to what would otherwise be merely a common brawl. The Land Rover, I submit, exists to preserve dignity of passage to what would otherwise become an urban scramble.
With great foresight, Land Rover engineers realised that Metropolitan Progress was, at the time, slow enough for the lady passenger to regard her surroundings in sufficient detail, to be able to pick out the latest price reductions in Harvey Nichols. They reasoned; correctly as it turned out; that in years to come, the lady could pop out, nip smartly into the aforementioned Harvey Nicks, snap up the odd bargain, and be comfortably re-installed before her conveyance had moved more than a few yards. The country, however was a different matter. Here, travel was becoming more reminiscent of the rush to the bar after "last orders" was called. The lady passenger was becoming bored with the constant blur of green hedgerows, and the only relief in sight, albeit briefly, the odd farm shop, was usually passed in a flicker of hand written sign by the roadside. This was realised early on at Solihull. Just think of the issues at stake here. Dignity of progress, marital harmony, the truth of the old adage that it is better to travel hopefully than to arrive, as well as the income of farm shops (the Land Rover, after all, *is* supposed to be the Farmer's Friend).
Consider, then, if you will, the brilliance of the design. The lady passenger sits at a suitable height such that the hedgerows are below her line of sight. The glories of the countryside are revealed to her fascinated gaze. Fields of corn, cattle peacefully grazing, and Mrs Hetherington.s remarkable red flannel underwear, flapping like a battle ensign on the line, become endless topics of fruitful conversation. Marital harmony is restored, and to assist this desirable state of affairs, the driver of the Land Rover is so busy keeping his charge somewhere in the middle of the road, due to the built-in affinity of the vehicle to ditches, (either side, it doesn.t matter, it was built for export as well), that he has little concentration left over to argue, a mere "Yes dear" through gritted teeth being all he can manage. The aforementioned affinity for ditches also meant that whereas farmers had previously to despatch tractors and trailers on long, arduous, and completely un-neccessary journeys round country roads in order to slow traffic down to a speed where the farm shop sign could be read, and hopefully complied with, now the potential customer actually did it for him! The driver, having endured the carefully designed discomfort for as long as it could be borne, was actually *grateful* to draw into a farmyard, and *encourage* the lady passenger to spend money. Likewise the frustrated column of lesser vehicles, the driver's of which were no doubt becoming concerned as to their blood pressure, would be only too pleased to alight as well, and partake of a little bucolic calm. And think, too, what the purchase of good wholesome food has done for the health of the nation!
As for the old adage, the Land Rover, as we are well aware, constantly generates in the breast of its driver the hope that eventually, it *will* arrive, preferably in one piece. A triumph of design work possibly unequalled in the annals of engineering. Further, to make the contrast between travelling hopefully, and actually arriving even greater, the driver, upon reaching his destination, is usually given furiously to think more about what he will have to do to the damned thing before he ventures forth again, than about the satisfaction of actually *getting* there. So there we have it. A vehicle, that, through design, and meticulous workmanship, generates dignity (the lady passenger being able, without effort, to look down her nose at lesser mortals), social harmony, proves the truth of old philosophical sayings, and improves health and the economic well being of the nation.
Let no one here assembled ever again consider that the pedestrian gait of the Series Land Rover is accidental.
For more amusing work by Mike Rooth visit his page on the OVLR site.