I was afflicted, for many years, with what can only be referred to as Rover Fever.

My 1967 Land Rover series vehicle was the love of my automotive life for many years, though she spent most of her time in the yard acting as an extra garden shed.

There are some things you should know if you have any intention to buy or drive a Land Rover.


No, just don’t. The newer Discos or Freelanders are money pits when used, and not much better when new. The parts are expensive, the engineering is laughable, the breakdown is frequent, the clusterfucks abound. Don’t get me STARTED on the steering.

My 109 series rover was a “real” rover, it had a tire on the bonnet. it had the suspension of a truck. What else? everything leaked, things broke easily, it often had electrical fires, the steering was as useful in guiding the thing down the road as divining, and the noise the straight gears made obviated the need for any kind of radio. I have had more pleseant driving experiences bungee corded to the top of a bus in the rain.

Repairing a broken axle invariably occurred in the mud, the brakes made subtle but poignant efforts at dragging the vehicle to some semblance of “stationary” and the gearshifts- there were five such devices- took some getting used to.

I miss mine. I miss the way hitting a bump felt like having a stevedore hit you in the small of the back with a spade. I miss the smell of the battery lead burning off it’s insulation for the umpteenth time, I miss the smell of the engine baking the tire on the hood right in front of the only vents.

I don’t miss it badly enough to get another one, though.

If you’re looking at a Disco or a Freelander or god forbid a Range Rover, get a damned jeep. The parts are cheaper, and it will last longer and run better. The momentary pleasure you’ll have in pride of ownership will be eclipsed the first time it strands you along the road, which will be on the way home from the dealership.

yes, the Rover is a serious 4wd vehicle, and yes, they do offroad like few other things, but if you’re really serious about 4wd get a G wagon, the cachet is better, and the vehicle is nicer, and might actually run for ten miles without major repairs.

Still, theres something about the romance of a real Land Rover that makes them a hoot to drive.