Eddie's going places

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Father and son getting in some greenlaning fun : credit: © Ashley Clarke
Ashley Clarke recounts his young son Eddie’s introduction to Land Rovers, and how the lad’s love for them has shaped his own collection

My son, Eddie, is Land Rover mad. He’s turning eight in May, and has come to love Land Rovers and everything about them over the years, which I’m hugely proud of as a father and fellow Land Rover nut. It’s really encouraging to see the younger generation carrying on the enthusiasm for these vehicles and the great adventures they take us on.

Pictures of Ashley’s first Land Rover ignited the green oval passion in son Eddie

​​​​​​Eddie’s story with Land Rovers started with me, and my story with Land Rovers started with my uncle, so it’s fair to say the passion runs in the family. Eddie first became interested in them at the age of around three or four, when he cast eyes upon some old photos of my first Landy, a Series IIA Lightweight, and asking about others thereafter – of which there have been several!

With his new-found interest in the vehicles heightening, I found my gateway ticket to invest in yet another, with my wife’s approval, of course.

Ashley and Eddie use the Freelander 1 for greenlaning, pay-and-play days and overland weekends

In June 2020 we bought a Freelander 1 Td4, which we tricked up with all the traditional mods to boost ground clearance and make it more capable off-road – a lift kit, chunkier tyres and a few other bits which allowed us to do more greenlanes and pay-and-play days in confidence, which we really enjoyed. But after a while we decided to go the extra mile and did a camper conversion to allow us to go off on overland weekends.

We do a number of these trips and camp-outs throughout the year with a group of good friends in a variety of trucks, including Toyota Hiluxes, Nissan Navaras and other Land Rovers.

Fold-out bed and diesel-powered heater make for comfy camping

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The Freelander later gained some luxuries, including a TV up front for Eddie’s entertainment (which was his idea), extra carrying capacity in the form of a roof rack, and, most importantly, a fold-out bed and diesel-powered cabin heater which both make for really comfy camping despite the Freelander’s compact size.

Since we were getting on so well with the Freelander, we took on a restoration project – a 1987 110 County Station Wagon. Its original V8 was very worn-out, so we decided to fit a 4.0-litre Lexus 1UZ V8 in its place for a bit of extra power, reliability and, dare I say it, economy.

1987 County Station Wagon project (and fully operational 1:10th replica) for Eddie!

The project is in full swing, and Eddie regularly assists me working on the 110 at the weekends. We have plans to travel to Morocco in it in April 2025, and Eddie already has a fully-operational 1:10th scale radio-controlled replica.

Eddie decided he would like it if dad got something a bit more rugged and more in the traditional style of Land Rover, which was just the prompt I needed to purchase another one, this time in the form of a Series IIA.

We decked it out for our camping weekends in a similar style to the Freelander, with a bed in the back and a few other conveniences just in time for its maiden voyage in our ownership, a trip to Wales. It swallowed up the 140-mile journey easily – going that far in a two-and-a-quarter diesel is an adventure in itself, but Eddie had a smile from ear to ear all the way there and all the way back, and an even bigger smile on the greenlanes.

Eddie’s even managed to take his passion for Land Rovers into school, where he made his own costume out of cardboard for World Book Day. Yep, you guessed it, he went as a Land Rover. Hopefully some of the other kids catch the Land Rover bug, and get excited about these brilliant vehicles and the world of adventure and fun they open up, too.

 

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