Saturday, May 20, 2017

The perfect device for colonial imperialism

I was walking through Windsor Terrace recently when something appeared that seemed as foreign and out of place as the Coke bottle in The Gods Must be Crazy. Behold!
This is a 1978 Land Rover Defender 109 in what I believe is Spring Green (I think British Racing Green is a little deeper in an evergreen sense as opposed to this hue).
 Make no mistake - even though this is parked in a lovely neighborhood this beast is safari-ready. It is positively dripping with aftermarket heavy duty upgrades.
This is the long wheelbase station wagon that is really just a few steps away from its prehistoric ancestors. The Defender was originally launched in 1948 and ran all the way through the 2015 model year. While there were plenty of changes and series over the decades it remained remarkably true to its initial design over those 67 years.
You've got to give it up for the full external roll cage on this thing! In addition it has a roof-height snorkel for the engine. Everything about the presentation says it's ready and capable for serious off road adventures. How it got to Brooklyn is a mystery to me. Maybe it drove along the bottom of the ocean?
I have a close friend who drives a newer Discovery with these same wheels. He calls them the "U.N. wheels" because Land Rovers stationed around the world tend to sport these no nonsense white steelies.
I can't think of a single custom touch that this isn't already outfitted with. That spotlight on the roof even has a protective metal screen over it as if this were exploring a rugged continent. 
 From this angle it's plain to see how utilitarian these older Defenders are. Exposed hinges, simple metal body panels, big expanses of flat glass, etc. While this company went on to produce luxury SUVs and crossovers this vehicle harkens back to the need to traverse faraway lands with no paved roads. I'm sure this is cold in winter, hot in summer, and pretty loud and rattly on bumpy ground. It is 100% honest is what I'm trying to say.
Well that's where I'll leave this conquerer to enjoy semi-retirement. The fact that the license plate is mashed up under the bumper alludes to possible adventure so hopefully it's not retired at all. Either way I'm impressed and somewhat in awe of this hardy British beast.

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