Tobys 101 earns its keep.
I confess with considerable guilt that my Land Rover 101 GS has been languishing unused in a friends' barn for some months now. As if that is not bad enough, it still had one of my jeeps sitting in the back of it equally unused, thereby storing two vehicles within the footprint of one. Readers may remember that at about this time last year a group of us undertook an ambitious, but thankfully successful trip in the jeeps to Egypt and the 101 was the mule that transported them to and from Felixstowe Docks. A job it fulfilled with aplomb, the 300 Tdi with extra large AlliSport intercooler managing to haul both jeeps (one in the back, the second on a trailer) at a brisk pace without the thirst for fuel associated with the original V8 petrol versions. It managed 17 mpg since you ask and peaked at a whisker over 60 mph. Traffic on the A14 may have been aware of the unusual rig tucked in between the truckers - and keeping up with the flow!
By sheer coincidence several members of my family were moving homes and businesses all within weeks of each other and as fellow 101 GS owners will testify, you are suddenly much in demand for helping move everything - including the kitchen sink, when you own a 101. The enormous load space and convenience of drop down side panels make the GS a versatile load carrier. I cycled over to the farm to find there were various bits of farm machinery between my 101 and freedom, but half an hours work moved them and to my delight the engine fired up immediately and with a few creaks and groans from the parabolic springs, I eased the beast out onto the road very aware of the one ton weight of a jeep in the back.
First job was to help my son Matt move some of the heavy items between his old workshop, known amongst friends as The Matt Savage Overland Preparation Barn, to a smart new industrial unit just north of Matlock. There was a double whammy in this as he wanted to borrow the jeep and would assist in removing it from the back of the 101. Last year we had used ramps and jacks to load and unload the jeep and each operation had taken about two hours. Now, with the help of his new two poster ramp the whole process took about half an hour and was far easier. With the jeep out and sitting on its own wheels the cavernous load bed was soon filled with some of the heavier items a 4x4 specialist business acquires over ten years; ‘useful one day’ engines, gearboxes, axles and enough wheels and tyres to start a separate business!
The next big job was the responsibility of my other son, Will. Will’s maternal Grandfather passed away before Christmas and his house had to be cleared of a 40 year passion for Model Railways! Every gauge was represented as well as the world's most comprehensive collection of associated literature and DVD's. The sheer weight of a lifetime's Railway Modeller magazine ‘for the average enthusiast’ probably exceeded the jeeps weight. Sadly there is little demand for these now and even eBay with a starting bid of 99p has not shifted them, so the magazines are destined for the tip and the books are going to The Great Western Railway shop in Loughborough in the hope of someone giving them a good home. On a positive note, however, the trains will live on and layouts are being planned on the backs of envelopes daily.
The final chapter in this busy month of 101 action was moving a few bulky items for which my Dad has no use, to other members of the family who could find a use for them. Dad has downsized and in one load we needed to shift his garage workbench which Matt had his eye on, a bed and a wardrobe that Will needed and a Chiminea from the garden that I rather fancied. All was squeezed into the beast of burden, for a 200 mile day relocating them to their new homes between Silverstone, Leicester and Matlock. The only slight regret in all of this is that none of these places involved the lengthy navigation of a challenging mountain track, or even coincided with the late snow that stopped the country in its tracks just as we all thought Spring had sprung! How smug we could have felt dismissing such conditions under the grip of the big Michelin XZL's. The sad truth is that it could all have been done in a large and economical van cruising up and down the Motorway at 70 mph, but where would the fun be in that?
Toby - 1 Removing the 1943 Willys was far easier with a 2 poster ramp than using trailer ramps and jacks.
Toby - 2 A lifetime's collection of Model Railway kits and literature was heavy, but easy work to move.
Toby - 3. Bulky furniture filled every square inch, but all fitted in against the odds.
Toby Savage. March 2013