The new Swansea Bus Museum and Transport Heritage Centre celebrated the seventieth year of Land Rover production with a display of some unique four wheel drive machines at the Viking Way premises on Sunday.
A superb array of the Land Rover models from the most early basic days up to the luxurious Range Rover versions of today, and with every imaginable fitments, was presented.
In that 2018 model range the show was superbly supported by Likes Land Rovers of Brecon and Hay on Wye, bringing their latest luxury models, and despite their gleaming paintwork and opulent interior, looked totally at home amidst the host of earlier models of deservedly proud owners from far and wide in Wales.
One of the furthest travelled was John Hughes and his family, who had journeyed down from Flintshire for the week-end, in their bright yellow Range Rover P38 Special Edition model, one of only three in that original colour in Britain, still immaculate despite having over three hundred thousand miles to its credit !
Kenfig Land Rover Club arrived in strength, no less than nine Land Rover models lined up, the club with over fifty members that regularly take part in ‘green lane’ trips and specialist shows – included were two impressive models from the RJ 4×4 specialists in Blackmill, a Land Rover 90 originally built for English Heritage in early 1985 and used to tow a mowing machine around the grounds of a Castle or two ! The ‘90’ has since been fully restored, being the third such model off the Land Rover production line.
The second was a Wolf XD military model, formerly used by 22 Regiment of the SAS, again fully restored but now with a somewhat less adventurous daily life !
There were Land Rovers of almost every vintage, from the early 1960’s to showroom models, and types from Series 1 to gleaming Range Rovers, Defenders and Discovery models, the ‘workhorses’ not so immaculate but still prized and serving their owners in daily working life, along with ‘specialist’ models like the Sirhowy Motor Club specially equipped 2014 Freelander of Swansea man Martin Harry, a member of the Motor Sport Association Safety Radio Team, seen regularly on rallying events in Wales, providing backup to both organisers and competitors in the running of the competitions and in any emergency situations.
There were the amazingly modified models too, perhaps best illustrated by the Kenfig LRC short wheel base Defender named ‘Beastie’, fitted with massive wheels and tyres and raised suspension, among its many modifications, such that there would be hardly any obstacle it could not overcome !
Organisers were faced with a difficult task in selecting the ‘best in show’ from the host of the ‘Landies’ present, but – by an overwhelming margin – exhibitors and visiting public alike chose the pristine 1965 Land Rover SWB Series 2A of owner driver Paul Batchelor of Neath, his model restored to stunning condition in a five year labour of love, and a deserving winner.
Organisers complemented the show with trade stands that included paintings, models, and badge making by the Anni Ben Dod founder, who also has a ‘mobile potters and ceramics’ bus at the Museum. With the success of the seventieth anniversary display it is hoped that the show will become an annual fixture at the newly established Viking Way Museum in Swansea.