(Fast show devotees will know where I am coming from with that title
I was into offroading before RIBS from early days of CCTV trailing whislt at Uni through knocking lumps of an old Daihatsu F20 through to buying a Series III LR. Unfortunately my mechanical abilities, patience and time were insufficient to keep it running so after some time on the drive becoming one with nature it got sold to the relief of my neighbours!
Would love to do some of the French offroad raids though although serious investment in kit required as I sold my 4x4 when I sold Blue Ice.
My perspective on the whole Land Rover thing was coloured completely through the experience of working there for 18 months or so after Ford took over. Quality was appalling (this is back in 2000). New Rangie owner (prev. model P38A) stood 55% chance of having to call out Roadside rescue in first 3 years! Assembly methods were primitive - esp. for Defenders (much use of ISO std Hammers in Body Construction.) From what I hear from current contacts in manufacturing things have improved a bit although the workforce seems intent on committing suicide as Uncle Henry is losing so much money he has limited patience these days....
I had two Disco's as company cars (and managed to keep em upright Jono
) which I loved and hated in equal measure. The image is still outstanding, the indefinable quality of a motoring icon. Td5 engine OK, permanent 4x4 and active suspension make for good handling for what it is (much better the Trooper but nowhere near X5 etc). But the ergonomics, quality of material in the interior, equipment levels and fundamentally value for money are just awful. A £28k 4x4 with no aircon? Errm no I dont think so.
I had the chance to buy my last company car at a discount when I left in late 2001 but it was still poor vfm so I went Jap instead.
If I could justify a second motor for local work only then I'd have a Defender Td5 (or rather softtop V8) in a shot. Hummer? Too wide for Uk H2? watered down version to cater for America's obsession with SUV's Pointless thing.
Enough rambling. I'm off in my V*lvo!