A 4×4 Is Born
In the late 1970s, Land Rover built 15 very special vehicles for the Swiss Army. They were a hybrid of other vehicles being built or developed by Land Rover at the time, like the early Range Rover and the embryonic 110. They were called the 100 inch Land Rovers and they remain some of the rarest Land Rovers ever made. I am only aware of three that have survived.
Land Rovers are peculiar things. They aren’t that pretty to look at, they let in the rain, they are noisy, they guzzle fuel and the seats make your average park bench feel comfortable. Yet, for all that, trillions of perfectly sane human beings love them like family. I do. I have been infatuated with Land Rovers since I was a small child.
It was only a matter of time before I pitched a Land Rover project to Discovery as a workshop TV series. Partly, I did it because of my love for these off road rompers but also because I figured a broadcaster that shares its name with one of Land Rover’s most famous models, would not be able to refuse.
I was really keen to do something a bit different, something ambitious that would get the Land Rover community talking. Land Rover owners love to talk about Land Rovers ! So, egged on by Phil Bashall from the Dunsfold Collection, we – that’s me, Les and another Phil – decided to build a 100 inch from scratch as a tribute to the originals. Seemed like a top idea at the time. It’s easy to bodge a Landie. But, to build one well, takes as much time, graft and attention to detail as any other car. We spent 2500 hours building Hill Billy, as we christened my 100 inch. And, HB is still my pride and joy.