Ottawa Valley Land Rovers newsletter, June, 1995
by Robin Craig
We're getting into some interesting times here in Canada now, very quietly the heat is being turned on in the Canadian Forces procurement plan to replace the Iltis utility vehicle. You may remember that I have mentioned this one before. The April edition of the Ottawa based Esprit de Corps magazine (the same one that came to the fore with the Airborne debacle) had an advert for a Land Rover product. What is so unusual about that. We will consider these pointers.
Very few of the members of our armed forces would ever be able to afford a Discovery or either of the Range Rovers. The Defender 90 is being discontinued here in Canada. Yet Land Rover placed an advert for the civilian Defender 90 inside the back cover. Esprit de Corps has carried a number of advertisements by another likely contender in this vehicle program, that is Mercedes Benz. So as a way of getting the Land Rover product name into the minds eye of the military this can be seen in my opinion as some of the opening moves in public.
On the same topic I attended a military vehicle equipment exhibition here in Ottawa just last week, it was billed as a venue to see various options for upcoming defence contract requirements as displayed by their makers. There was nothing from anyone on the Iltis replacement, yet when talking to a number of defence contractors they indicate that in their view Land Rover would make a better suited vehicle but the current bias at DND is toward Mercedes. Oh well, its only the opening rounds so I'll keep you informed as they develop.
What value can you place on a product name? Land Rover in the UK and over this side of the pond are pretty proud of it, and defend it pretty fiercely when its abused and brought into disrepute. The Milky Bar kid called me the other day, said he had been shopping in the Lincoln Heights K Mart and was surprised to see a brand of shoes called "Land Rover" for sale on the shelves. Wonder how long that is going to be tolerated?
On the toy front, there are three new arrivals in my display case this month. Roco of Austria have released another two variants of their Series 2 / 3 109 station wagon mould. There is a series 2 in blue with a white cheat line down the side and blue lights on the roof, this is some kind of police type vehicle. The second is a truly garish series 3 in purple and yellow with a yellow and black checkerboard pattern over the rear wheels towing an inflatable on a trailer. The vehicle is rounded of with an ace of spades on one front door and a camel on the other side. These 1/87 scale pre-made vehicles with some add on parts are great fun. They are pricey at 10 and 17 bucks respectively, but they usually tend to be limited editions so I can live with that.
Finally, if you have ever thought of getting into collecting toy Land Rovers the last arrival this month is surely the one you should start your new collection off with. Based on a mould from Dinky from about five years ago, the Matchbox Ltd Series One Works Fire Service Land Rover and Brockhouse trailer in bright red are just what toys are all about! The paint is excellent, the detail is crisp, the chrome work really sets it off. The body cappings are even painted in a matt silver and look like the real thing.
Reprinted from the Ottawa Valley Land Rovers newsletter, June, 1995