Tuesday, 18 March 2014
Roger Crathorne and Land Rover
Roger now says he is retiring. It is surprising how much an individual can influence a company culture. Lotus had Colin Chapman. MG had Cecil Kimber. Rover had a handful of Wilkses; Jaguar Sir William Lyons and Bentley WO. Test and development driver, engineer, the cross-country pre-eminence of Land Rovers and Range Rovers owes everything to his skill and (I do not exaggerate) devotion. He has achieved it, furthermore, while remaining one of the most courteous approachable and unostentatious individuals in an industry where such virtues are rare. I was honoured when he agreed to a foreword in the 65th anniversary edition of my Land Rover book.
Retire? It is not in Roger’s nature. He will be fettling his own classic Land Rover. He will be advising, consulting in his quiet-mannered way. Royce was lucky to have Rolls for the practicalities, to perfect the imperfect, to work out ways and means. Land Rover was just as lucky to have Roger Crathorne.