Rover 8 "Jeffrey"
Current Reg: RBF440J
Build Date: 17th Dec 1963
Description: Truck General Service. FFR 1/4 Ton, 4x4, Rover 8. Under MOD contract WV1327
Asset Code: 1625-0759
Chassis No: FV18021B
MOD Reg: 63 EK 92
Received at Vehicle Depot Hilton January 1964. De-mobbed and sold at auction at OS&DD Ruddington 13th January 1970.
My much loved 110 Defender was stolen in March of this year.
I began to look for a Series Land Rover, after seeing a particularly nice 3 Series pass me by one day. The more I looked, the more I wanted one and soon the hunt was on for real. I soon saw that any sort of Series 1 was out of my budget but a half decent 2 or 3 was definitely achievable.
Several unsuccessful attempted deals later I almost lost heart, until one night I joined Landy Zone online and on perusing the ‘for sale’ pages bumped into the next ‘love of my life’. An ex Army 88” rag-top in camo paint and with some weird ariel boxes bolted to the wings. It had undergone a complete restoration to it’s original military spec and was in lovely condition, I just had to have it.
(Pic – Jeffrey)
Following communication with the seller, I had an agonising ten day wait for the funds to come through from the insurers for my loss, before I could secure this gem. I had even dreamed of owning and driving her but experience laid a calming hand and I knew ‘A lot can happen ‘twixt cup & lip’. I kept in touch with the seller but was horrified when I saw a lady had made contact about the Land Rover!! She wanted to buy it as a toy for her husbands 50th birthday – aaaargh! My worst nightmare! The seller however, (my latest buddy) assured me that he didn’t want that kind of future for ‘Jeffrey’! At last I had his word, the Land Rover was mine! (I was a bit taken aback by the revelation he was a boy! Jeffrey!! My trucks have always been girls – kinda keeps them sweet!) Anyhoo – I was soon to be the proud owner of a properly sorted Series IIa.
The day finally dawned. The funds came through and the date was set for my trip to Solihull to buy, collect and drive her home! (sorry – I meant him) I took the train from my home town Milton Keynes to Solihull and arrived at the sellers house, as nervous as a teenager on a first date. There she was – on the drive! (yes ok - he).
The deal was done over a fine cup of tea. Paper was exchanged and I was presented with the keys and a large folder of documents containing the complete history of the truck, right back to it’s day of manufacture!
I jumped in and fired up the engine. it caught immediately and revved freely and quietly, immediately bringing a smile to my face. The following two and a half hours will remain etched into my memory for as long as I live!
The first thing that grabbed my attention was no seat belts! Mmm, feel a bit vulnerable without that belt but hey-ho, it’s only dark, absolutely pouring with rain and I’m on a busy southbound M6! What could go wrong? The next thing that demanded my concentration was getting the timing right on the gearchanges and doing a ‘crash’ refresher course in ‘double de-clutching’ – absolutely comical at first but it soon came back, like riding a bike (crunch). Soon I was motoring down the M6 at 45 mph with a huge grin across my face. I was alive! This thing I was driving was alive! The howling moan that came from the tyres confirmed it!
I soon learned on that memorable journey that you have to ‘drive’ these wonderful vehicles. You can’t sit back with one finger on the wheel & relax whilst idly taking in the passing scenery, as all those drivers who passed me were doing. You have to be an active participant every second and having no power steering, I really do mean active!
I have owned this fascinating vehicle now for five months and not one micron of novelty has worn off. Each and every time I take ‘Jeffrey’ out, it’s a distinct and unique pleasure which I hope will never dim. Yes, I have come to terms with his gender, especially as he served his country so ably – so Jeffrey it is. In those five short months I have come to appreciate that Jeffrey will outlive me and very probably his next owner. My duty is clear. No more bolting bits of unnecessary kit on. No more off-road abuse. Regular and meticulous maintenance but most of all – getting out on the road and exhibiting him at various Land Rover & Military shows around the country. In short, my job is one of ‘custodianship’ and I have come to take it seriously. With this in mind, the obvious next step was to join E.M.L.R.A. The Ex Military Land Rover Association, not only to access their valuable knowledge but to join in the fun at exhibitions and Armed Forces displays.
I look forward to sharing many shows, outings and meetings with Jeffrey in the future, confident that I can do my duty and hand him over when the time comes, in the same or better condition that I received him in. He Just flew through an MOT yesterday, with no reservations and high praise from the examiner – happy days!
As I prepare for my next adventure with Jeffrey, I wish all our members happy motoring!