Monday, 13 May 2013
I wish I had thought of LXV for the 65th anniversary edition of our Land Rover File. Land Rover thought of it first, for a 65th anniversary special edition Defender. If you haven’t driven a Defender for a long time you will be astonished how refined they are now. Short of elbow room maybe, but with the 2.2 diesel and not the old Ford Transit 2.4, along with an improved NVH package introduced in 2011, they are quite acceptably quiet. Drove one at Packington Estate, testing ground for the original 1948 Land Rovers, where they had 130 heritage Land Rovers with which to compare it. Certainly it’s nothing like the rest of the modern range with automatic electronic gizmos, hill descent control and air suspension. Yet it is perfectly civilized, with 6-speed manual transmission and a decent turn of speed. Nought to 60 in 14.5sec and 90mph isn’t bad and the LVX has 16in Sawtooth alloy wheels and Santorini Black paintwork with Corris Grey roof, grille, headlight surrounds and facia. There are leather seats, upright but perfectly comfortable and practical, with LXV embossed headrests and orange contrast stitching, extending to the steering wheel and centre cubby compartment. Even the ride is quite smooth; maybe something short of serene, but nothing like the spine-jarring turbulence once associated with Defenders. There is a union flag on the back. Be prepared for a surprise at the price. It now starts at £28,765. They hadn’t thought of variable-vane turbochargers and high pressure fuel injection on Land Rovers in 1948, but there is a lot in the LXV with which Wilks family members, present for the celebrations, were perfectly familiar. Shown a copy of the new Land Rover 65th anniversary book, Stephen Wilks, president of the Land Rover Series One Club pointed to the family Anglesey beach picture on page 15 and said gleefully, “That’s me, aged 7.” Land Rover milestones. Packington.