While the cats away.....
Another new toy in the garage.
A comment I made recently on Facebook, about a day spent green laning in Shropshire, prompted a post from my old pal, Jason Woodward. Just eight simple words – ‘you’d have been better off in my 101.’ I had no idea he owned a 101 and replied to that effect. He then dealt the killer blow ‘it’s on ebay right now – I’m flogging it.’
I have never wanted, nor needed, one of these giants of the Land Rover portfolio. In no way, even armed with my ‘man maths’ calculator could I justify adding a 101 GS to the already swollen fleet of Land Rovers and 4x4’s. Just to make sure, I popped over to his farm to look at it and reinforce the certain knowledge that I did not want it. I took it for a drive round his field, enjoying the power of the 300 Tdi engine that had been expertly fitted by Land Rover specialist, Keith Gott. If one was to have a 101, surely a diesel one would be a good idea, but I did not want one, so that was simple.
With Jason being a mate though, I thought I’d help him out and stick a bid in – just to show the others who might be watching it, that they were not alone. ‘Failed To Reach The Reserve’ was the notice. Thank God! I switched the computer off and took a big sigh of relieve. I was not going to end up with it and fate had done a great job of steering me away.
Will it fit in the garage?
A few days later, all thoughts of helping mates forgotten, I had a text message from Jason, wondering if I was still interested, at the price I’d bid? I ignored it, but over the next hour kept reading it, wondering how to reply. As Oscar Wilde famously said, ‘I can resist everything except temptation.’ Damn! I said yes and we did a deal. The timing was actually quite good, as my partner, Jo, was away for two weeks with her boys and the other half of her double garage was empty. I went over to Jason’s armed with the cash and he kindly followed me back in the 101, at speeds far faster than I thought a 101 capable of!
I knew there was no way it would fit in the garage with the canvas tilt on, but a quick measure of all dimensions confirmed it should fit if I stripped it down. I made an early start the next day and, as I unscrewed various things and untied straps and ropes on the tilt, I became increasingly pleased with my purchase. Nothing had been botched and the roof and screen came off remarkably easily. I liked the look of the stripped down 101, reminiscent of those used by Land Rover in the Joint Services Trans Sahara Expedition back in 1975 on their unsupported West to East crossing.
It's getting smaller....
With all the tall bits removed I climbed up behind the wheel and reversed the great beast into the garage. It was a tight fit. Two inches to the right was my 1943 Jeep and to the left was a gap I could not see, but hoped would be wide enough for various bicycles etc. Visibility was somewhat hampered and I jumped out to check how much room I had behind the 101, and what I was likely to hit! The freezer was perfectly positioned to take a Nato hook amidships. I moved it a bit, switched the engine off and gently pushed the 101 for the last few inches. Up at the other end a quick check confirmed the garage door would just shut and with that it was in and concealed from view!
For some reason I forgot to tell Jo there was an addition to the fleet, but scored good brownie points for collecting her and the boys from the Airport at 3.00 am. Back home it was far too late at night to make any ground breaking announcements and these things are much better tackled after a good nights sleep. The following morning it was noted I had a cheeky 'cat that’s had the cream' expression on my face, but it was not until late morning that something was required from the freezer and the garage door was opened to reveal drab olive from floor to ceiling. There was a small shriek, followed by raised eyebrows, but a smile. It seemed, for the time being, I had got away with it.
A tight fit next to the 1943 Ford jeep.
You will be able to read the up’s and down’s of the 101’s restoration and various improvements I intend to make in the New Year and I hope that I shall be doing most of the work myself within the confines of a standard double garage.
Copyright Toby Savage