The summer seems ages ago with the cold weather we have suddenly acquired, but the day I spent with the Series 1 Land Rover Owners Club at the Packington Estate was something I shall not forget in a hurry. There had to be over 400 Series 1 Land Rovers there. It was glorious.
Land Rover Series 1 Club 75th Anniversary
Seventy five years ago the very first Pre-production Land Rovers were tested in the grounds of the Packington Estate in Warwickshire, and to celebrate this anniversary, over 400 Series One vehicles graced the grounds once again including some of the very same Pre-production vehicles that started off the brand that we have all grown to love. It was quite some spectacle indeed being surrounded by not only the number of Series Ones but to see so many in such fabulous working order; ranging from ‘just working, to fully restored – but overall, the quantity and variety far outweighed any nut and bolt counter that may have looked on with awe.
I had the privilege to visit the Land Rover Series One Club Anniversary Homelands Rally and hitch a ride for the annual Friday evening fish and chip run, which consisted of an 18 mile circular route through some of the West Midlands hidden and very beautiful narrow country lanes and drovers routes, any oncoming modern car would find themselves waiting for quite some time for the line of pre-‘58 cars, pass by.
The countryside route included the infamous Packington Ford which, turned out to be as deep as the bumpers – and then some, making for some really nervous faces before the dip into the very private waterway. Looking out of the rear tub at the line of ‘Ones’ following, was so delightful and really incredibly special.
The fish and chip run concluded with fish and chips of course, back at the estate with two vans serving up delicious portions of tasty cod and lots of chips. A huge canvas marquee looked particularly smart, should the British weather take for a turn, contained a well-stocked bar along with other food trucks, there would be plenty of refreshments for those who might not have brought enough of their own supplies.
With activities throughout the weekend for all the family, including suggestions for visits to the many local motoring museums and stately homes, on-site automotive gymkhanas plus a timed autojumble allowing the attendees to buy and sell from their rear tubs on the Saturday afternoon.
A full list of attendees shows that Series One Club members had travelled from Norway, Belgium, New Zealand, Netherlands, Denmark, Scotland and Cornwall as well as nearer locations such as Worcestershire and West Sussex. Walking around the field I noticed most had travelled in on their own steam, whilst a trailer park allowed for multiple vehicles to participate from the same club member, and those examples who just don’t need to work as hard anymore to play out with its friends. Although the Scottish contingent drove down in convoy creating a week-long holiday for all concerned.
Having 400 Series one vehicles in one place simply goes to show that the mechanical craftsmanship and skill, which has kept these cars on the road is a testament to sustainability at its purest form. Maintaining these Land Rovers whilst an easy task, is more a passion amongst the club members than anything else. Values of the Series One has gone through the roof in recent years however some say that the price has fallen, which to most of these members means nothing, I doubt if anyone would be selling them any time soon.
The original all terrain vehicle celebrates its 75th anniversary and all in all, this Club Members only weekend seemed to be an incredibly special occasion to celebrate the brand, but to simply stand back in awe and admire the sheer number of cars celebrating with me, was a delight. Thank you Series 1 Club for inviting me and my 1964 Series 2, I felt very honoured indeed.