Bob Cooke – contributor

HotchkissNever again will I allow a lunatic at the wheel of the Hotchkiss…well, maybe ‘lunatic’ is a bit strong, it’s just that it’s a while since Ivor had done any off-roading and he’d never before driven anything as much fun – and as open – as Eugene. Now Eugene may be close on 50 years old but the old dog can still move; the 2.2-litre Willys engine may only be puffing out around 55 of its original 60 horses but with its stroke of nearly 4.5 inches it’s still got surprisingly muscular lowdown torque, so when Ivor saw a gap in the undergrowth and went for it, his enthusiastic flooring of the accelerator saw Eugene leaping into the bushes like a startled rabbit, leaving me hardly any time to hang on, let alone blink.

In consequence, weeks later, I’m still trying to blink fragments of shredded gorse bush out of my eyes. Resolution No 1 in consequence of this: three pairs of eye-protection goggles becomes standard equipment in Eugene’s glovebox, one for driver, one for passenger and one for anyone crazy enough to sit in the back while Ivor’s driving.

Shion Scudamore – contributor

bedfordThe sun has been beating down in North Wales and so there has been little excuse not to get on with sorting the TM for its MoT. I started well and the lower cab panels have been removed, revealing even more rust, I have exposed even more daylight through the cab floor.

The problem is June is also a good month to do several other things that are considerably more fun than grinding rust and welding. The start of the month saw a trip to France on the bikes with a crowd of my ex overland driving buddies, some enjoyable miles spent in the Alsace region meant I needed some tyres and brake pads to get home so that blew the vehicle budget for the month. A landmark birthday party meant a great weekend of camping at our place and rerunning some of the old stories over a few drinks (well, a lot of drinks really). The Bedford was present which seemed fitting as many of us had driven them all over the globe but not yet fit for active duty. Finally, I failed to get her ready for Glastonbury but taking a VW camper instead meant the budget looked better, it would be cheaper just to charter a jet these days rather than drive her to Somerset; 300 quids-worth of fuel is a very conservative estimate.

Kevin Baldwin – contributor

defenderIt was only a couple of months ago that I was telling you about the spate of Defender thefts in the West Yorkshire area which had reached such epidemic proportions that it had prompted the local Police to implement a stop and check policy on any Defender, night and day. I reported that although this hadn’t seemed to deter whoever was responsible, thankfully my 90 had managed to escape the attention of the local ‘TWOC’ers’. That’ll teach me…

For the first time in 25 years of motoring I’ve become a car crime statistic, with an insurance claim, another first for me, for my stolen Defender Td5 90. Ironically, it wasn’t at home where the Defender was stolen. Instead, a Holiday Inn car park in Northampton was the last known sighting of my 90. And it was the first time K3MUD had been outside West Yorkshire in months! As I sit here typing this two weeks after the event, I’ve finally resigned myself never to see it again.

Hils Everitt – editor

1-isuzuAfter enjoying some excellent offroading in the lee of the rolling hills of Herefordshire, our Rodeo Denver Max LE pick-up truck has been put to more everyday use. Over the years the longterm pick-ups on the magazine fleet have been extensively used for hauling stuff around – and on many occasions shifting various bits of furniture.

This time our blue machine became the removal van for bookcases, rugs, tables and chairs and various other bits of furniture from Sevenoaks to a fl at in London. In all our pick-up tests the Rodeo has always lost out to others with its loadbed dimensions, with an area of 0.7m3. We put that to the test and did find that, as you can see from the picture, a 174cm bookcase just couldn’t fit in, so we had to leave the rear window ajar to transport it. Even an ironing board only just made it. The huge protruding wheelarches don’t help matters. A trip to the garden centre to fill up with plants is fine, but if you want to carry skis, furniture, long planks of wood and still have the security of the trucktop then this isn’t ideal for load-carrying.

Louise Limb – contributor

2-suzukiYou can imagine my dismay when, flicking through what passes for my vehicle paperwork, I found that my warranty had run out. I’d just given the Suzuki main dealer over £350 to service my vehicle and their cheerfulness was annoying. Yes, it would have been covered under my warranty but don’t worry, they chirped, it’s not an expensive repair and we’ll be kind over the man hours it will take as you’re a regular’. I groaned inwardly; Barclaycard’s well-spoken, if slightly stilted, automaton would be on the phone again just checking that yet another three-figure purchase on my account was really mine.

Garry Stuart – freelance photographer

3-nissanOver the past month or so the Terrano has served as transport to several assignments in Cornwall and Dover plus single trips to Anglesey and Northumberland, racking up the mileage in the process. Touch wood, there has been very little to report as the truck itself has been running as smoothly and reliably as ever. The heater matrix has not yet been repaired, but the water levels have remained constant, not even needing a top-up after covering thousands of kilometres. Strange, it must have repaired itself. Maybe some debris got lodged in the hole?

In Devon, the Terrano was put to light offroad duties carrying me and my kit around the expansive grounds of Newnham Park as I photographed the three-day ALRC Nationals for sister magazine Land Rover World.

Kevin Baldwin – contributor

4-landroverShock horror, the 90 has encountered its first real problem in 12 months of ownership. The metallic creaking sound I heard through the open window as I pulled away from my local filling station didn’t bode well at all. Luckily for me, I was less than five minutes from our workshop, where with the 90 wheels jacked up we assumed that a failing CV joint was the likely diagnosis. Stripping the hub to get at the CV would, instead, reveal a bone-dry front wheelbearing.

Ann Lockley – contributor

5-kelseyLike lost puppies, I have brought home several automotive lemons in my life but none quite like ‘Kelsey’, my 1991 Range Rover Great Divide Edition (GDE). Like a dog that has been rescued from an appalling situation, she had more proverbial baggage to work on and repair then I care to list, but, in the end, has proven to be the best of companions.

I came by ‘Kels’ in February 2007 when she was bought from a Boise, Idaho location on eBay by my good friend, Stuart Longair, to be the sister of his ‘Chelsea’, GDE #319. I was in need of a Land Rover to use as a daily driver that could double as a trail rig since my immaculate Rutland red 2004 Freelander SE3 was not up to the latter and thus for sale. I bought Kels from Stuart thinking that the Range Rover would be an extremely capable intermediate vehicle until I could import a 110 from the UK.

Bob Cooke – contributor

6-cherokeeThe Cherokee is my off-road plaything but everyone else sees it as a big truck. Hence whenever anyone has something big to move, who they gonna call? ‘Oh, Bob’ll move it, he’s got that big Cherokee!’ I keep trying to tell them that the Cherokee is a compact 4×4, but no-one listens.

The first call came from Tim who’d bought a doghouse at auction for Elaine’s Chocolate Labrador Conker. “It won’t fit in Elaine’s MX5,” he said. Of course not – and we were only able to squeeze it into the Cherokee after we’d knocked off some of the roof-edging trim. Then Kerrie needed the scenery for her travelling play shifted, so the Cherokee was again called into service, with seven sturdy 4ftx7ft stage flats strapped to the roof and the cargo bay bursting at the seams with props, including a fake fireplace and two heavy supporting beams. Last, but by no means least, Saffron decided to have a couple of chickens for her birthday which meant – you’ve guessed it – I had to collect the chicken shed needed to house her two feathered friends. There followed an 80-mile round trip to Herne Bay to collect and deliver the chicken shed, which was only just wide enough to scrape through the Cherokee’s tailgate opening, but being a foot too long I had to tie the tailgate down against the shed with a ratchet strap wound round the tow hitch.

Phil Weeden – editorial director

7-lanrriverWe introduced the Discovery to the long-term fleet a few issues ago. So, just to recap, we’re big fans of the Discovery and we ran a Series 1 in Land Rover World for a couple of years, so when discussing potential projects for sister publication Car Mechanics, the Td5 model seemed like the way to go. They’ve come down in price and yet they’re actually a reasonable workhorse for day-to-day stuff, allied to legendary Land Rover off-roading ability. The plan is to get it mechanically sorted, at which point we hand the vehicle over to our mates at Land Rover World where we can start playing in the mud.

When we went shopping for a Discovery, it was during the snowy spell we had in February, so 4x4s were selling fast and at firm prices. At our local auction house, BCA in Peterborough, even ratty looking off-roaders were shifting, so imagine our trepidation when the black Td5 you see in the photos rolled through the halls. We had to get this one as press deadlines were looming – not exactly the ideal buying conditions.