Accidents with yoked oxen on the way to Panama, exciting break downs while getting on ferries with only transmission brakes, desert boots melting to the floorboards after driving 65 miles an hour for 24 hours straight,  forging parking spaces on the streets of New York City by pushing cars apart in low gear range.

My son waxes poetic remembering these not exaggerated stories so I'll review them quickly on our history page.  I bought my first LandRover in 1964 in Cold Spring Harbor Long Island, New York.  Now  you have to remember that in 1964 there were few four wheel drive vehicles, and no SUV in existence.  There were no Toyotas, and just a few Jeeps and Dodge power wagons-- but none in New York City where I was living.  I was a medical student and I drove by the Saab, Citroen, Land Rover dealer across from an exclusive golf club and fell in love.  It was an 88" station wagon--I wonder who owns it now??  The dealer had a test course and drove us across water.  It was a year old demo model that cost $2400.  It was green with small jump seats and did not resemble any car I had ever seen.


I commuted it to work at Belleview hospital from Avenue C in New York City.  Local kids used it for a jungle gym climbing on its tire on the hood and up on its roof.  As my son said, when it snowed I would make parking spaces in front of Belleview hospital by pushing a car or even lines of cars in low gear range first.  It was remarkable-- and the best way to make a motorcycle parking space into a Rover space that I have yet found.

The first summer I drove it to Mexico and explored in the mountains of Chiapas near San Cristobal and Palenque. (See Pictures.)  We drove it into the Palanque Ruins before there was a road.  It lost its brake master cylinder at Palenque and I had to drive onto each ferry with no brakes.  The ferries were flat barges that you pulled across rivers with a rope.  I would drive to the front of the ferry to take its back off the bank in low first then put on the emergency transmission break and stop one foot from the back, and then repeat it to get off backwards.  A mechanic fixed it in Villa Hermosa by taking a large fender washer and filing it down into a master cylinder pushrod retaining washer.  We met his family and drank orange sodas.   We were tired of Mexico and decided to go home.  We drove our 88" Series ll straight from Chiapas, Mexico to New Mexico without turning it off--about 3000 miles.  I melted my desert boots to the firewall;  I wonder if I could do that now?  No air conditioning, top speed of about 65mph, noisy, buy hey, I was young?? I guess.


The Green Rover was also a beach buggy on fire island and became a Central American exploration vehicle.  The next year I read about Herbert Zipkin (link) in the old rover owners magazine The Review.  I was 24  years old he became my new hero and changed my life forever.  Now this was 1965 and I put on a welded front rack with 4 Jerry cans and 2 one gallon oil cans. I put air horns on the hood next to the tire, fog lights around my capstan winch, beds inside that went from the firewall front shelf to the rear, etc.. I could not get as much stuff on the car as Zipkin could because I was a mere medical student and not the man himself but I  drove it to Panama anyway.  Once again, I drove straight from New York City to the Mexican border.  It ate its generator like usual in St. Louis, and melted a fourth pair of desert boots but we were used to that by now and knew the Rover dealer.  We went to the zoo and they always fixed it. On that trip we were stopped by rebels in Guatemala, the olive green car looked like a government vehicle but we escaped without being shot.  The Rover was outfitted with two spares and  chains and we used them.  We went in the mountains and forged streams.  The Pan American highway then was almost all gravel and the mountains were dirt with no bridges.  There were the usual ferries with pull ropes, but the Mexican rebuilt master cylinder made it for the rest of the life of the car. We were hit by a pair of yoked oxen in Nicaragua and the rover was covered with hair and blood.  A man told us to run before the police came and we did.

Once back in New York City, the local Rover dealer, Martin Brothers, liked the GreenRover so much that he took it in trade for a new 109 6 cylinder five door to be delivered at the factory.  The GreenRover was supposedly put in his showroom, ox hair, ten tourista stickers, entrada de Panama stickers, and all.  During the wait, he lent me a Volkswagen Beetle to drive.


The new 1967 Series IIA 109 was blue and bloody awful.  It looked beautiful in Sohihul but it broke on the way to Yugoslavia over and over again.  Eventually it made it to Spain and then back to England.  A tractor dealer fixed it in a small Spanish town when the oil dipstick and its mount just disappeared. He milled the part in a machine shop from pictures in the rover parts manual.  He too gave us orange soda and introduced us to his family.  Was it a tradition??   We had Martin Walter doormobile beds fitted into it in Dover at his factory and Rover factory jerry cans and lights mounted on.  Back in the States it could not even make it to California -- two times!!! So I had to sell it in New York City in 1968.  Who owns it now ??   When the new car first broke in England they told us that this six cylinder we got was number two after the queen's and I believed it  The six cylinder engine did not belong in that poor rover but it should have stayed in the passenger cars it came from.

My next rover was LittleCar in 1986.  I bought it for my son who was a freshman in high school and liked to take things apart.  See LittleCar.

So much for my history.  See Our Old Rovers and Adventures and Trips for more!