The Fairwater Collection !

An MGBGTV8 Sebring and some interesting Land Rover conversions.
Now, see also my professional site at: www.met-alchemy.com !

How an Obsession Starts!....

Sometimes I have been a bit wary of putting together a site "advertising" my individual vehicles and exploits.  I don't want to come across as in any way pretentious. 

I hasten to say that most other sites I have seen are not in that category and are actually an entertaining, interesting and educational read. 

This little site is primarily a personal record for my own use, and not really an attempt to show how great it is here. I humbly hope then that the invited reader will be interested in these musings, rather than irritated, and can relate to the personal expressions which have been the result of much graft on  my part at the expense of other things which may have been more important, but which didn't give the same value of therapy.

 It is meant as a little insight into how ordinary people can become hooked.  The site is very much under development still, and changes regularly.  It is as much a personal record and account as one for others to see, as it is a bit of a life story to some degree. 

It describes my transition from having one car (my MG V8), to a collection of Land Rovers, as well as the MG and now another MG too, with the prospects of more MG's seeing as with me getting older my interests are also getting into more older cars,  how these came about, and how they came to be modified for my own purposes, to satisfy the need to "do something different", experiment, and just for pure therapy. 

I will say now that this site is not for rivet counters and purists.  My vehicles are platforms of expression of my own ideas and are very personal developments, with the possible exception of the MG TD.  I have found working on them a great source of relaxation, even if that is accompanied by much swearing, and of escapism from the rather too busy, real world.  The conversion game stemmed from my much customised Mini Estate which I did myself over my six years of ownership from when I was 17 and which gave me a hankering to do again, but it wouldn't have worked on other cars I don't think somehow and only now are those feelings coming out again.

I have always had an interest in Land Rovers, as they are pure machinery, which I love.  Coming from Brecon in Mid Wales, Army Land Rovers were always around; Brecon being a big centre for training the best units, (Para's and infantry were there at the time), and I remember the SIIA swb with bumperettes, fondly, and the newly introduced Lightweights, which looked very smart in the early 70's. We lived on the road leading to Dering Lines Camp, and the scream of Land Rover tyres going far too fast to get around the junction at the bottom of the road, followed by a great big crunch, in the early hours of the morning, was a regular experience, as they took out the local gas installation again. It was eventually re-positioned out of the way.

I had an early introduction to Land Rovers physically when I took on a job for a petrol station owner friend, who had this short wheelbase  series 2 recovery vehicle.  He needed a new clutch, and I spent about a week outside the house taking floors, seats and tunnel out, getting the gearbox balanced on a trolley jack, and eventually getting it back, with minimal tools.  It was a great fun vehicle but the doors wouldn't stay shut because the chassis was so full of holes you could put your arm through, the body was keeping it together.  A couple of weeks after this, the chassis broke in two pulling a car out of a ditch, and that was the end of the vehicle unfortunately. 

As far as I was concerned other than this, despite a close encounter with a nice Series 1, which I was thinking of buying in the early 80's, and further designs on a Series 2 LWB hard top van bodied "custom vehicle"; a wall to wall shag pile carpetted, likewise wagon! (well, I was in my 20's still), I did not actually own one until 1992, when I bought a 1980 Range Rover. 

Until then, I had owned only my MGB GT V8 for the previous seven years, while the wife had run a succession of Minis into the ground, as they do!  MG's had been an interest alongside Land Rovers for at least the same length of time, and this largely started as a result of my brother's purchase in 1967, of a 1939 MG TA with his college grant.  He subesequently rebuilt this at home, and has done so again since.  This  introduced me to the delights of mechanics and taking things apart and putting them together again.  Obviously my brother still owns his TA and since aquired a 1936 MG SA saloon to go with it too.

This Range Rover referred to above, and the following couple of four door Range Rovers were family cars, stayed pretty normal and just came and went.  I do sometimes wish I had kept the two door though, as it was a good one, in lovely condition, with only 52000 miles on the clock when I sold it.  I saw it for sale about one year later, and it was ruined.  The seats were greasy black, the rest was filthy, and it had 152000 miles on it.  Sad to see. 

These vehicles were the learning curve, and I soon got the idea that Land and Range Rovers were the way to the future.  Ease of maintenance, non dating, cheap to run (apart from the fuel of course, which is but a minor inconvenience), cheap to maintain, cheap to insure, last forever, simple technology like the MG's, but we could transport the family in them too, unlike the MG!

The real fun started in 1997.  I worked with a friend who was running a SIIA Ambulance, ex RAF, camper converted.  This was a real beast, and he always described it as "the dog's bollocks".  I saw what he meant and started tentatively looking.  It wasn't long before I saw something I  fancied.  Advertised in LRO magazine, A SIIB with Luton body, ex GPO.  It was for sale in the Black Mountains, near Hay on Wye.  I recognised the std code.  I went to see it and was hooked.

It all went from here, as you will see:  I hope you enjoy it.

This is our first RR.  I wish we still had it.