Land Rover owners explain what makes this iconic 4×4 car so special.

As Land Rover after Land Rover arrived, the car parks at the Royal Estate in Sandringham quickly filled with 4×4 vehicles.

While each one clearly had its own identity and purpose, as a collection they celebrated a much-loved brand.

This was the start of a recent Land Rover event in aid of The Firefighters Charity, and Adrian Flux Insurance was among the supporters.

The Land Rovers setting off from the Royal Estate at Sandringham. Picture by Matthew Usher.

On the day, 200 vehicles took part and practically every variety of Land Rover was there – from the classics to the brand new, from the ultra-modified to the unaltered.

Discoveries, Defenders, Freelanders, Vogues were lined up alongside ex-military, emergency, search and rescue teams and farmland vehicles.

Whether they served a purpose or were recreational, it was an opportunity for the community to come together to complete a route which took them to Holkham Hall on the North Norfolk coast.

As so many were there, we asked a few owners what makes them the best 4×4.

Land Rovers are a unique part of British history and heritage

Stuart Gore, and his Land Rover Defender 110 XS TDI “People definitely notice you in a Defender,” he said. Picture by Matthew Usher.

“Since I was a child, I always wanted one,” said Stuart Gore, who travelled from Sandwich in Kent to participate in the run.

“Land Rovers are a unique part of our country’s history and an important part of the heritage. We used to live abroad and bought a Land Cruiser when we moved back to the UK, but then went on to this Defender.

“It’s certainly the vehicle to own for an adventure; we’ve used it to travel across Europe and even to the Arctic Circle. It has managed the narrow and steep roads of Sicily as well as the conditions of Norway and the Arctic.”

Gore, who is also a member of the Invicta Land Rover Club, added: “I really hope Land Rover start making Defenders again – they really are a brilliant vehicle.”

For many enthusiasts, Land Rovers bring back happy childhood memories

Mark Bocking (L) pictured with his son Tommy (R) before the Land Rover run in Norfolk. Picture by Matthew Usher.

Mark Bocking from Norfolk parked his Land Rover Discovery TD5 Adventurer next to Gore before set off. He also brought his son, Tommy, to the event.

He said: “Looking back, spending time with my dad who was a groundsman first sparked my love for these vehicles. When I was 10 or so, there would be days when I’d join him at work and I particularly enjoyed being in the Land Rover.”

Those early memories sparked a passion, and Bocking has driven and owned Land Rovers throughout his life. In the TA, he regularly drove a 101 Forward Control Land Rover. It had a 3.5L V8 engine and carried a 10.5mm field gun for the Royal Artillery.

He has also owned a 1973 Land Rover Lightweight series 3 for the last 17 years.

“I want to pass it down to Tommy so he can restore it himself one day,” he added.

He’s had the Discovery since 2014. Even though they’ve had their ups and downs, it’s still “more or less” in its original condition.

Bocking laughs: “Yeah, several steering boxes have gone and so did the suspension – but it has all been repaired. Despite all those problems, I’ve stuck with it and still love it.”

4x4s in the military and emergency services

Ben Walthew and his 1993 Snatch Land Rover which served in Northern Ireland and Iraq. Picture by Matthew Usher. 

Search and rescue teams, the emergency services and the military were also well-represented at the event.

Among them, Ben Walthew, from Norfolk, bought his 1993 Snatch Land Rover which served in Northern Ireland and Iraq.

It was a patrol vehicle with a 3.5L V8 Petrol engine, weighs 3-tonnes and has a Kevlar bulletproof bodywork. The hatch on the roof would have accommodated two soldiers.

The same Snatch Land Rover serving in Iraq. Picture: submitted.

Walthew said: “We’ve had it for three years and spent the first year stripping it right back to change the bolt head to get it driving again. It was quite a job but we managed it.”

He added: “You have to realise these vehicles were huge targets for The British Army during any conflict and had a reputation of being blown up.

“This here is one of the lucky ones. It kept personnel safe, and it came back home as well – it’s a really special vehicle.”

Owning a Land Rover means you join a community

Wendy Fisher and her luxury Land Rover. Picture by Matthew Usher.

Wendy Fisher’s family have also always owned Land Rovers – and she is continuing that tradition by owning a Freelander 2.

Her father used to work for Land Rover in Hartwell Banbury, and he knew the ins and outs of the more traditional models such as the Series 1.

In fact, now in his 80s, last year he was featured in a YouTube video testing the capabilities of a restored vehicle.

“I personally consider Land Rovers to be a luxury car,” she said. “I travel the country for my work, so I like to be comfortable when I’m driving.”

Wearing her ‘LR Ladies’ hoodie, she is a member of a Facebook community of women Land Rover owners from around the world.

Members of the LR Ladies Facebook group. Picture by Matthew Usher.

Its founder, Victoria Towell, from Northamptonshire, said: “We set up the LR Ladies Facebook group last year because we wanted a place where women could celebrate owning a Land Rover.

“We now have over 900 members – some from as far as Brazil and Australia – and have organized a few meet ups in the UK.”

She added: “Even The Queen knows about us – and if a Land Rover is good enough for the Queen, it’s certainly good enough for us too.”

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