A Land Rover in New Zealand


I have long been meaning to write and say how much I appreciate the forthright views and breezy style of Motor Sport. I have been particularly interested in comments and correspondence on the Volkswagen. This make has not long been on the market in this country, but is becoming very popular here in both car and commercial versions. After regularly reading Motor Sport, I nearly bought one myself, but as my home is on a 25,000-acre island, with narrow, hilly roads. I felt the high top gear would not be entirely suitable. Also, I like a bit more room in the back seat !

I finally picked on a Land Rover, partly because it is one of the few cars in this country which have no long waiting list ; owing to its agricultural uses there are no import restrictions on this class of vehicle. After eight months of varied use I am still delighted with it, and would be interested to know if any other readers of Motor Sport have had experience with them. To my mind the Land Rover combines the advantages of “vintage” suspension and build with those of modern brakes and engineering features. On good roads, although unable to cruise easily at more than 50 mph, one can maintain a commendable average by virtue of the excellent cornering and braking. The brakes, in fact, are the best I have ever tried, and I now find that the comparative lack of stopping power of other modern cars is quite disconcerting

The 2-litre Rover engine gives very lively acceleration up to about 40 mph, but after that the very large frontal area and un-aerodynamic shape naturally take their toll. Travelling fast on main roads, petrol consumption is around 23 mpg, but this drops to 16 mpg on short runs and cross-country work around the island.

Off the beaten track, the Land Rover, with four-wheel-drive, mudgrip tyres and high/low ratio transfer box appears to go almost anywhere, taking deep mud, wet clay roads, rocky tracks and fantastically steep climbs in its stride. Beyond the disintegration of the windscreen wiper mechanism, I have so far had no troubles worth mentioning. The only points I don’t like are the shoddy design of a few minor controls and the fact that taking down or re-erecting the canvas hood, is a major undertaking. Also, it is a particularly dusty vehicle ; this is a big fault in the conditions for which it is intended.

Thanks again for an excellent publication, and keep up the good work !

I am, Yours, etc,

John Watson. Auckland.

[The Land Rover is one of Britain’s better vehicles and its ingenious technical features make it of interest under the Motor Sport heading, so we are glad to publish Mr Watson’s experiences with one of these vehicles in New Zealand.—Ed]