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Archive for the ‘Rover Writings’ Category

Land Rover of Las Vegas conducted their first service clinic for owners to bring their vehicles for inspection yesterday. One thing’s for sure, when they decide to roll out their event vehicles, you definitely want to be there! On display was the no expenses spared Range Rover Classic that tours to various outings that they plan.

One of the main attractions was the highly secretive new vehicle eluded to on LRLV’s Facebook page during the week… the diesel powered Defender 130! What a sight as they displayed the truck in front of their showroom facility demonstrating the ARB X-jack. I’m not clear as to how many of these vehicles are in the U.S. but I think it’s safe to assume that you may be able to count them on one hand. As I not so subtly try to offer my services as an official event driver of the truck, it seems there is no shortage of those already assuming the position!

Trevor Fagan, the Marketing Director for LRLV was on hand taking pictures for those wishing to obtain a photo of themselves in front of the D130 presented in a nice Land Rover picture frame. I jokingly referred to these photo’s as evidence in case the truck happens to come up missing in the middle of the night! Funny how there were two photos taken of me…hmmm, coincidence? I think not.

Among those in attendance were members of the Land Rover Club of Las Vegas. We strolled around enjoying the wine and hors d’oeuvres talking about future club events and watching as some of the dealership staff took customers on the off camber obstacle course to test the capabilities of the new Rovers.

While customers as well as ourselves enjoyed spending time looking over the vehicles on display, we handed our keys over to the service team to get our own trucks in the shop and up on the lifts for inspection. One enjoyable aspect to the highly professional service staff is their willingness to show you around the shop and invite you back to take a look at what’s going on. I for one enjoy looking at the behind the scenes operations of the dealership. I was also happy to receive a clean “bill of health” for my personal Rover as the only thing wrong was solved with a quick spray of some brake cleaner to remove a little oil residue! Levi, LRCLV president was up next for inspection with his green Disco I…

All in all we had a great time and look forward to the next event. A special thanks goes out to Ray Dinardi (General Manager), Terry Majur (Service Advisor), Trevor Fagan (Marketing Director), and the rest of the staff who hosted the service clinic and inspected our vehicles. Be sure to stop by and visit the group to get updated on upcoming events scheduled for vehicle outings and Land Rover Club news, as there are some really great runs coming up for owners of all Land Rover models!

Keep the shiny side up,

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Holland & Holland, makers of the world’s finest sporting guns and Overfinch, designers and manufacturers of exclusive Range Rover enhancements, have joined forces to create the ultimate luxury off-roader. The Holland & Holland Range Rover was conceived with a single intention: to create the ultimate all purpose, all season, luxury supercar for the discerning few. Designers and engineers at both Holland & Holland and Overfinch have worked together to create a car that embodies Holland & Holland’s unique sporting heritage and Overfinch’s bespoke craftsmanship. The result is a quintessentially English take on motoring luxury.

Based on either the 5.0 litre 503 bhp Supercharged or TDV8 versions of the new 2010 MY car, the Holland & Holland Overfinch features a raft of enhancements that make it unmistakably something very special. On the outside, it has discreet but effective styling changes manufactured from OEM grade thermoplastic polymers, which give unsurpassed quality and durability. Bodywork is painted in one of four unique exterior paint colours, including Holland & Holland Tintern Green. Two-tone paintwork, similar to that of a Rolls-Royce Phantom, is also available, as is black. Overfinch’s craftsmen take 130 man hours to paint and hand-polish the car, which gives a depth of colour and quality of finish that marks it out from its mass-produced brethren from a hundred yards. Orange peel, the cellulite-like effect that is visible on many cars considerably more expensive than this one, is banished by Overfinch craftsmen’s skill and hard work. The effect is completed by Overfinch’s iconic 20″ Tiger wheels (fitted with all season Mud & Snow tyres) and special cast exhaust outlets. A choice of 22″ wheels is an optionfor those not intending to venture off road, or for those who also possess a winter set.


But it is on the inside that the designers have really excelled themselves. Eight of Europe’s finest hides, of a grade so fine it is only normally used in private jets, dyed in seven exclusive tones, are used to create a cabin of rare luxury. Professionals from both Overfinch and Holland & Holland have worked closely with a colour and trim specialist to ensure that interiors and exteriors complement one another perfectly. A unique trim style covers the seats, doors, upper and lower dash board, centre and rear consoles and even the cubby box lid, which is both cleanly elegant in style and fiendishly expensive in
terms of both labour and materials. Not for this car simple contrasting piping-the Holland & Holland Overfinch, even the contrasting colour signature stripes are cut from individual hides and trimmed to sit nearly flush with the leather surrounding them. As a result, it takes over 150 man hours just to trim the car. If the optional aviation-style quilted leather or Alcantara headlining is selected, it takes even longer.


The thirty one piece wood veneer kit blends seamlessly into the design of the rest of the car, including that of the gun cabinet and rear console. There is the choice of Olive Ash Gloss, European Burr Walnut with special diamond pattern inlay, Matt Gunstock Walnut and Piano Black Lacquer with silver inlays.

Only one hundred Holland & Holland Overfinches will be produced each year, and every one will be fitted with a special shotgun grade steel plaque, which features Holland & Holland’s trademark diamond inserts and “Royal” scroll engraving,hand-made by Holland & Holland’s craftsmen at their Harrow Road factory. The steering wheel has been designed especially for the vehicle too, with a special ergonomic grip and steel inserts, decorated with a design to match the Holland & Holland engraving, or even that of a customer’s own shotgun.

All Holland & Holland Overfinch vehicles will be strict four-seaters as the cars feature a unique centre console, which fits between the individual rear seats. Hand-veneered to match the rest of the car, it has an integrated refrigerator at floor level, large enough for a couple of full size bottles, which can be cold enough to hold an ice bucket. It also has a storage compartment, which could contain controls for the rear entertainment, a power inverter for a laptop and a Holland & Holland game book as well as Holland & Holland crystal tumblers and champagne flutes.


In the boot is a bespoke gun cabinet, hand-crafted in veneers to match the woodwork across the rest of the interior. Although it is itself removable for when more luggage carrying capacity is required, it is locked to the boot floor for security and safety. It has three drawers, fitted to carry eight further matching Holland & Holland crystal tumblers and flutes, customers’ own shotguns, a cleaning kit for them as well as cartridges and the bag in which to carry them. Additional drawers are available with alternative interiors so that, between the end of one shooting season and the beginning of the next, it can serve whatever purpose the vehicle’s owner requires, from a picnic at Ascot to an evening at Glyndebourne.

Contained within both the gun cabinet and the refrigerator in the centre console is room for six bottles and it is for these that the car will feature the world’s first self-replenishing cocktail cabinet. All cars sold in Europe will arrive from the factory ull of Pol Roger Champagne, The Balvenie single malt whisky, Hendrick’s single batch gin, Ivan the Terrible luxury vodka and Willow Spring Water from the Lake District. During the first year regular refills will be dispatched to the owners of the car to make sure that its passengers don’t go thirsty.

Daryl Greatrex, Managing Director of Holland & Holland, said, “Holland & Holland is globally synonymous with both luxury and supreme functionality. To look at, to handle and to shoot with a Holland & Holland is to appreciate 174 years of using the best craftsmanship and technology to make things work supremely well and look even better. It’s ten years since we had a Holland & Holland Range Rover and we decided that working with Overfinch was the only way to do it this time. Over the years it has become clear that what AMG is to Mercedes and Alpina is to BMW, so Overfinch is to Range Rover.”

Neil Underwood, Chief Operating Officer of Overfinch added, “There has always been a great deal of talk in the media speculating that Range Rovers could start approaching Bentley levels of luxury. For one hundred fortunate customers, that will now become a reality. Our designers and engineers have worked closely with the quite astonishing craftsmen of Holland & Holland to create the most exclusive, most luxurious off-roader ever built.”

Courtesy of Autoblog.com

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The Land Rover Defender to make a comeback? The internet is swarming with the idea that the iconic 4×4 will be updated for importation into the U.S. in the year 2016. That’s great news to those who have been looking for its return, however unrealistic as it sounds on the surface. One can only speculate what the sales performance of a vehicle that currently sells roughly 20,000 vehicles worldwide will be.

What will the truck be? It is highly unlikely that the Defenders will be manufactured in the same manner and sold as the rugged workhorse it is. Americans aren’t looking for a Land Rover deeply rooted in outback heritage, this is why the marketing strategy has shifted from that of the go anywhere offroad adventure vehicle to the supercharged urban sports truck.

The return of  the Defender is assuming alot. With the move toward a “Green” earth-biscuit society hell bent on demonizing the very fuel the world runs on, I’m not sure if we’re supposed to be driving vehicles powered by brussel sprouts or a giant wind prop stuck into a trailer hitch. It also assumes that we aren’t eating cat food from our rooftop tents, soon to be used as permanent shelters because of a failed economic recovery.

So I’m not going to hold my breath on this one, but like the rest of you… I would love to see this revamped farm implement roaming proudly here in the States as a diesel, fully box framed, solid front and rear axle bad ass.

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A fundamental issue that arises when evaluating the offroad driver is speed. All too often you’ll see someone hammer down the throttle while negotiating an obstacle, and invariably you’ll get to witness something break, twist, grenade, or the holy grail of ignorance…the roll over! Believe me when I say these things can be common for those who control their throttle and exercise caution also. But let’s just say that the probability is greatly reduced.

Knowing when to get on the gas is just as important as knowing when to stay off. This one single skill when mastered will save your rig, save your money, and complete the mission.

Do you know your limits and those of your vehicle? Speed and recklessness will point them out quicker than any obstacle in your way ever could. Getting on the accelerator at the wrong moment of an off camber situation will pitch you right over, which can result in you on your side or upside down at the edge of the trail with your gear dumped… or it can pitch you right off the side of a cliff ending in a single or multiple fatality!

Imagine for a moment you’re in your Land Rover or Jeep crawling over some very large rocks in a riverbed after a rainfall when the trail is at its roughest and your passenger front tire gets wedged; bringing you to a stop. You attempt to turn the wheels which severely stresses your steering components, you throttle up and… BANG! An axle breaks, a tie rod bends, or a steering knuckle snaps. It happens just that fast. Larger, heavier tires compound this problem. Add lockers into the equation and it’s even more probable that breakage will occur. We’ll get into the spare parts list and the portable welder at a later date.

Slow, consistent throttle application is the key to proper offroading. Choose the lowest gear and don’t manipulate the gas too much. An inconsistent application of the gas will cause you to bounce. When you bounce, your vehicle is out of control… out of YOUR control. If you’re lucky, it comes to a stop and you try again. If you’re unlucky, it flips over depending on the incline and obstacle. But there’s an often-overlooked situation that occurs when you bounce, which is WEIGHT. The bounce can compound the weight of your vehicle as it makes contact with the ground again… making the possibility of driveline and/or axle failure a reality. Slow and smooth is what we’re after here.

When do I get on the throttle you may ask? Each scenario presents its own unique set of challenges, but my answer for the purposes of this writing is MOMENTUM. Sometimes you just need to carry enough speed not to get mired in the muck. Maybe a quick blip on the gas is what makes the difference of getting your rear wheels over the rock to avoid the bounce. Use your best judgment and FEEL what is going on with your vehicle.

Another speed consideration is crossing water. After first getting out of your vehicle and determining that you can in fact cross without sucking water through the intake and hydro-locking your engine, approaching the water with sufficient speed to create a bow wave in front of your vehicle and driving in the lower water level behind it is the proper way to handle the situation. Stay tuned for more on the raised air intake, commonly known as the “snorkel” and prepping your rig for water.

Until then, control your speed and keep the shiny side up!

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I installed a pair of Hi-Lift “Tube Mounts” for mounting a Hi-Lift jack to my ARB bull bumper the other day and thought I’d review them here. The mounts come in two different sizes, the TM-700 is for 1″-2″ diameter tubing while the TM-750 is for 3″-4″ diameter tubing. At first I wasn’t sure if that is where I wanted to mount the jack as I have a Safety Devices roof rack installed on my Discovery I, but I gave it some thought and decided that it would be easier for me to remove the jack from the bumper rather than try to remove it from high on the rack.

These mounts are about as self explanatory as they come so I won’t waste too much time detailing the “installation process”. I used the TM-700 for my front bumper and they were an excellent fit.

The aluminum portion of the mounts are well finished and look good while the hardware that is included are stainless steel from the U-bolts to the nuts and washers, so no rust issues over time. There was also a set of spare U-bolts included in the package, yet they don’t appear to be a different size from the ones I used.

The aluminum knobs are just as nice as the rest of the bracket, my only concern was theft which kept me from purchasing them a couple weeks ago. There really isn’t a provision for locking them down in any way. Aside from the actual knobs being removed from the mounts, I was trying to figure out how to keep the jack from being ripped off as well. My solution came in the form of a cable lock used for firearms, which worked very well. In the end, if they really wanted everything and they had the time… they’d get it. I’m not too concerned, after all… maybe they’ll realize my firearm is now missing a lock and make the right choice!

All in all, a very nice product for about $50. They are very secure and about the only other item I’d recommend would be the urethane handle isolator to stop rattling.

Until next time, keep the shiny side up…

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The Land Rover Club of Las Vegas had another fun trip down Burro Wash yesterday. The group of “spaceships” rallied at the Railroad Pass Casino in Boulder City at 1:00 pm and left for the trailhead by 1:30 pm. My buddy Jeff who I invited a couple days earlier appeared out of nowhere with his fully built Sportsmobile, a vehicle which everyone was very happy to see in person. A 6-wheel Pinzgauer arrived also, but unfortunately did not join the run.

 

At the trailhead the group decided to air down for a smoother ride but I decided not to, much to my discomfort! Between having fully inflated MTR’s and my shocks adjusted to the stiffest setting of “9”… it made for quite a rattling ride for the first 20 minutes until we reached the more technical portion of the trail.

 

The trail first climbed a hill to a nice overlook to the valley below. We got lucky as the wind did not kick up too badly with just a light breeze, the previous day it was blowing pretty hard. After a quick stop to take some photos we were back on our way…

 

The trail for the most part is very easy, with some minor technical and “off camber” situations along the way. I suppose I define the technical sections as minor due to the amount of lift I have on the Rover, there are some very large rocks to negotiate. Of course, most of these rocks could be avoided… but was that our choice? Of course not!

 

It was also quite surprising how we could take small puddles in the trail and turn them into something making a raised air intake necessary! I couldn’t help but laugh as I questioned how 3″ of water could completely go over the roof of a couple of our Rovers…

 

I believed I was recording video of our shenanigans along the way with my new GoPro HD camera, but no, apparently I pushed the button wrong where it only snapped off some still pictures! That was aggravating to discover as I quickly jumped on the computer when I got home to review the “footage” I had captured, only to find out I’m an idiot. I would’ve had some great video of the technical sections of the trail as well as the cool little canyon we entered as we approached our destination.

As we approached the river’s edge down from the Hoover Dam, we decided to take the Rovers for a swim. Again, I thought I was capturing some cool footage of nothing but water in front of the truck… nope!

 

But it was all great fun, we immediately got to work with the important things in life… food and beer!

 

Levi sprang into action with the roof rack awning of his own design, tables and chairs popped open like the button fly of a fat guy, and viola… chips and dip!

 

I had brought an FN PS90 along for the ride for fun, as soon as that word got out… well it seemed to be almost as popular as the Sportsmobile!

 

With HID’s and electrical outlets at every corner, enough batteries to power the sun, and amenities rivaling your closest 4 star hotel, this truck had to be seen to be believed. Winches and lockers both front and rear. Push a button and the roof cap raises for enough head room to stand up. Pop a burrito in the microwave and you begin to wonder if you’re even camping! In the words of Ferris Bueller “if you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up”.

 

After some much needed relaxation, we packed up and headed out before dark. Some remained behind while the rest of us headed back to town. All in all a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon. So if you’re in the area, interested in good friends and good wheeling… check out our site calendar for upcoming runs and join us! Land Rover Club of Las Vegas.

Until next time…

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It’s a long way down to the canyon floor below as the Land Rover hugs the mountain wall on one side, and a steep ledge on the other. The growl of the V8 is a little more pronounced in low range as you climb the rocky trail towards the summit. There is a storm rolling in and you can’t help but want to get off the side of this mountain before it rains and makes forward progress more difficult and dangerous. Looking down the side of the mountain to the left you see large pine trees, but up ahead the trail becomes measurably steeper. You wonder to yourself if it’s the end of the line as the path narrows and your hood is pointed up toward a wall of trees. But you notice that it’s a switchback, a very tight switchback cut into the face of the mountain turning to the left. It takes a moment to decide how to cut the turn properly to avoid having to back up and at the same time negotiate the washed out section of trail at the apex of the turn. You engage the DiffLock…

You make it through the switchback as the trail narrows further and climbs higher. The view of the mountain valley is breathtaking as you begin to enter a layer of low level clouds hugging the mountain near the top. A very loud crack of thunder follows the bolt of lightning as the air cools and it starts to sprinkle rain; you’re pulse rises and that feeling of having run out of time sets in. The windshield wipers flick back and forth as you negotiate a particular rocky section on your approach to the next switchback turn to the right. You wonder what this trail could possibly have been used for, what purpose it must have served.

It’s really pouring down rain and it starts to course down the rocks and ruts in the trail. The wet mud terrain tires are breaking their grip on the rocks on the steep climb and it’s time to engage one of the lockers. You decide on the rear first, because you know that if you engage the front it will be too difficult to steer should there be another switchback. You pick a line closest to the mountain wall and as far away from the steep drop on the right side of the rover; your blind side. The front end is pointed very steeply upward as the hood obscures your view to the trail ahead; all you know is what you remembered earlier of some very large rocks coming up. The truck is pointed so far up in front that it’s impossible for you to lean out to see; all you can do is negotiate the rocks from memory. The right front tire engages the first rock lifting the front end even higher as you try and figure out how close to the edge you are. The axles are crossed and you’re glad you’ve got those lockers now. With nothing but a storm filled angry sky in view through the windshield, one tire on a rock and another in the air, you break over onto a ledge cut into the mountain.

You’re foot is shaking on the accelerator and you let go of the death grip on the steering wheel. You’re there, you know at last why this trail exists. At this moment your eyes follow two narrow gauge railroad tracks straight into a mine shaft; into the pitch black of the mountain you’re on. As the rain lets up, you jump out and make your way to the entrance; you can’t help but notice the musty ice cold air escape the opening in the mountain… you turn on your flashlight, it’s time for the adventure to begin.

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