Thursday, 24 May 2018

Welsh Festival of Land Rovers 2018

A wonderful display of Land Rovers were on display at the Royal Welsh Showground on the weekend of the 19th & 20th of March

This was the Welsh Festival of Land Rovers 2018, an event which I was proud to be one of the organisers of.

The idea originated last year and after some discussions with both the club and the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society it was agreed early this year that we (the South Wales Land Rover Club)  would organize and host an event as part of the Gŵyl Wanwyn Frenhinol Cymru / Royal Welsh Spring Festival.

Something like that does not happen overnight and it took a lot of work from the members of the SWLRC and it turned out to be a fantastic event.

Katy was there of course and we were proud to be parked next to "Lola" who was one of the original Land Rover owned 110 demonstrators for the duration of the event. Two definitely disreputable ladies (well if you consider occasional breakdowns to be disreputable!).


We were not the only specialist camping vehicle on show and there were many fine interpretations of what makes a good camper from a massive 6x6 vehicle that has been designed for an upcoming round the world tour, to this excellent camel styled Discovery conversion created by Richard of the SWLRC.


There were some strange vehicles on show and nothing looked more strange than this which is the Classic Land Rover magazine Marrakesh Express. It wasn't sporting a new style of roof tent (although nothing would seem more normal on such an already outlandish vehicle), that was the helter-skelter in the fairground behind us.


The main theme of the event was to show the variety of Land Rovers and how they had developed through the last 70 years since they were launched. We would have liked to have a 1948 vehicle, but had not been able to source one in time, but we were very happy to have this 1949 Series 1 which was the first Land Rover to be registered in Radnorshire and therefore a most appropriate vehicle to take place in our display.


There were other fine old vehicles on show as well. Here is Pete from SWLRC explaining the intricacies of the Series 1 engine to yet another interested visitor.


Not all the Land Rovers were old. There were some excellent rebuilds and conversions and not just for camping purposes. This one had had an engine replacement and was a superb sounding vehicle even when standing still as you can hear in this short video clip


Even when parked it was quite a superb looking vehicle as you can see with its twin exhaust setup showing. It came up in the pickup bed behind the truck cab


And at the heart of it the SWLRC stand which was visited by literally hundreds of visitors across the weekend.


The one aspect I am unable to share pictures of is the wonderful parade of land Rovers which took place on the Saturday afternoon. That's for the simple reason that I was the host and commentator for the event and therefore I was unable to take pictures or video.

The premise was to show the development of the vehicles through the last 70 years from the Series 1 shown above right up to a brand new Evoque 

The earliest production vehicle was Colin Pugh’s 1949 Series 1 which was the first land Rover to be sold in Radnorshire to the then Major ( Later Lord ) David Gibson Watt (note – a real war hero if you want to look him up https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/1384646/Lord-Gibson-Watt.html). It has undergone a full, but sensitive restoration in recent years and really does look in good condition.  

With a 1951 and then 86” 1955 following it was easy to show the changes that came along even in these early years. 

Series 2’s were represented by a wonderful 2A pickup which had been a complete rebuild and a very rare 2A Shorland Northern Ireland Police border patrol. Having this at the show was a real highlight and was only possible because of the wonderful weather as its owner Clive Elliott explained “The vision out of it’s small bullet proof viewing port (it’s too small to call it a windscreen) is so bad in the wet it is not safe to drive in those conditions”. 

Amongst the Series 3’s we had Bryn Jones’ 1972, still used as a working vehicle and still with it’s original engine. Coiled Sprung models were led off by “Lola” - An original Land Rover demonstrator for the 110 and with a number of special conversions including Tony Johnson’s superb 6x6 vehicle designed for an upcoming world tour, and “Katy” one of only 48 Marshall’s 127 Ambulances made (see the Landy issue 17). 

Discovery and Freelander’s interspersed the Defenders and the parade was completed with a brand new Evoque which the local Land Rover dealer Likes of Hay on Wye which was complete with a 70th anniversary design.

Many thousands of people same to see the display and as with all such events the success would not have happened without a lot of hard work from the members of the SWLRC.

Suffice to say that this was a great success and one that we hope to be able to repeat in a future year - or maybe even something bigger and better :-)

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