The first time I saw the Land Rover — probably a Series II — it was parked in a dark, cave-like space. A building hovered over the truck, and the headlights peered out, unblinking, from the gloom.
That was a long time ago. I want to say it’s been 10 years, but I’m not sure. I do know that the license plate shows that the Land Rover was last registered in 2005.
Has this truck been stuck in that space for 15 years?
The tires — narrow and tall — look as though they’ve welded themselves to the pavement. The steel cages for spare gas cans are rusting, and the interior is hidden behind dust-caked windows. Leaves poke out from the front of the Land Rover, and I wonder if a seedling tree has sprouted under the left front fender.
Over the years, I’ve often been tempted to track down the owner and get the story behind this Land Rover’s long hibernation on a very trendy street.
Is it a project that never got started? There are a lot of stalled projects out there.
Is this particular Land Rover a talisman that carries strong memories for someone? Many cars carry emotional weight that their designers and builders never imagined.
Or is it just a half-forgotten truck? There are lots of half-forgotten cars and trucks out there.
I do know that it would be a good thing to pull this Land Rover back into the sun. It would be an act of hope and joy to carefully bring the engine back to life, check the gearbox and brakes — and install a new set of tires.
Then, as my old friend Paul Hardiman likes to say, it would just need a good wiping down with an oily rag.
This Land Rover would make a joyful noise — and probably a cloud of blue smoke. People would smile to see it chug down the street — or up a gravel road. This Land Rover wears its history with pride.
The logical, rational side of my brain tells me these thoughts are how gearheads quickly get underwater on a restoration. Does the world really need another old Land Rover — one so beautifully dented — back on the road?
The romantic, irrational side of my brain tells me that the world may not need another old Land Rover on the street — or the gravel roads — but bringing this one back to life would be a highlight of my own life.
Or should I keep looking for a lightly used Scion FR-S — or a new Subaru BRZ?
Why has this Land Rover haunted my thoughts for so long?