Jaguar Land Rover’s Restoration Shop

“Walking into the new Jaguar Land Rover Classic Works facility in Coventry, England — basically a massive 150,000-square-foot repair and restoration shop — the contrast is startling. Ancient, beaten-down Defenders, with their doors barely hanging on and their engines hopeless, rusted hulks, sit on spotless floors under lighting fit for a surgical theater rather than in gritty, equally ancient garages as technicians in crisp uniforms pore over them.”

Story and more photos »

“Real driving”

I’ve been hanging out on some Land Rover forums and getting lots of advice, ranging from “this will be the most fun you’ve ever had,” to “Don’t sell the MINI.” Probably the most interesting came from Matt:

Your first driving experience in a Land Rover is likely to seem a massive let-down; what have I done? you might think. After driving modern cars the Land Rover will seem like some kind of antediluvian torture device but give it some time. You will need to learn how to drive all over again. It isn’t a driving experience like you’ve become used to. You will have to slow down, don’t expect it to keep up with modern traffic, especially as yours is a 2.25 diesel. Driving a series LR requires a lot of driver input, both physical and mental. It is REAL driving. Same goes for the maintenance but that will lead you gently into becoming more mechanically competent. Levels to check, fan belt to check etc. Give it time and you will probably end up loving your Land Rover.

If there’s one thing everyone seems to agree on it’s hanging on to the MINI. Was gonna sell it sooner rather than later but now think I’ll keep it for a year. By then I will know if keeping it is the right thing to do or that I’ll do just fine with only the truck.

Automotive Foreplay

Watching my truck (’79 Series III Land Rover) being (re)built piece by piece is delicious agony. They’re taking their time, ordering pieces as they decide what needs to be replaced and waiting for them to arrive from the UK supplier. Every couple of weeks they post four or five photos and I pour over them inch by inch. As much as I’ve enjoyed my MINI, nothing about it has this kind of attraction for me. Like all my other vehicles, it’s a way to get from A to B.

But this truck. Everything about it seems to pluck my magic twanger. Take look at the front bumper (below). It’s a big hunk of steel. No chrome. No curves. No ornamentation. Just a big metal bar. I guess the idea was if you happened to hit something (or something hit you) the bumper would protect the front of the truck. Is there a vehicle on the road to day that can take a bump at any speed without resulting in hundreds of dollars in damage? But function aside, I love the form of this thing. Could it be more simple?

And then there are the iconic Land Rover door latches. Grab. Pull. Gonna be driving through the bush? No problemo. Door handles are recessed, thank you very much.

And that lock. Won’t be needing that bluetooth remote for these. You need a key. (Even though these looks look like they could be picked with a paper clip)

I mean, there’s just no extra shit. Everything has a purpose. A function.

Atomic Blonde

Jason Bourne can just sit the fuck down. I’m not gonna say Atomic Blonde is a great movie. We could argue all day about that. I am gonna say it’s one of the better movies I’ve seen in a long time. Boy, oh boy… where to begin?

I’ve heard critics say there was no story. Well, if you need a story, take my library card and go check out Great Expectations. If you want an entertaining movie, look no further.

Now let’s talk about action. I thought the fight sequences in Atomic Blonde were as good (better?) as anything since the first Bourne movie. Remember the fight scene in Kill Bill: Vol.1 between Uma Thurman and Daryl Hannah (in Michael Madsen’s mobile home)? And the scene where James Gandolfini kicks the living shit out of Patricia Arquette in True Romance? Every fight scene in Atomic Blonde was at the level or a smidgen above.

You might not have noticed but after a long, protracted fight scene, male stars might have a cut lip and be breathing hard. Charlize Theron LOOKED and ACTED like she’d been in a brawl. And during the brawl? Grunting and screaming and gasping. I mean, you were _there_! Oh yeah. I’ll bet there was a half gallon of fake blood splashed on the camera lens during these scenes. And watch for the quick POV (point of view) camera shots.

What else? The sound track! Best I’ve heard in awhile. Every cut worked.

And last but not least… girl-on-girl sex. That’s become standard far in these liberated times. Every action movies needs some hot lesbians. Was Charlize Theron’s character a lesbian? Don’t know. But there was a 20 second scene that was so hot they should have handed out welder’s goggles as you entered the theater.

I was expecting a cartoon but got way more with this movie.

Tired: Ethan Hunt, James Bond, Jason Bourne
Wired: Charlize Theron in Atomic Blonde

Restoration Photos: 31july2017

Waiting for new photos of the truck is exquisite torture. If we’re down to things like headlights and grills we must be in the home stretch. Next week I’ll get to put my hands on this baby (I hope) and meet the guys doing the restoration. Been awhile since I’ve been this excited. More photos »

An unfunny Woody Allen

Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan calls Donald Trump “Woody Allen without humor.” Ouch.

“The president’s primary problem as a leader is not that he is impetuous, brash or naive. It’s not that he is inexperienced, crude, an outsider. It is that he is weak and sniveling. It is that he undermines himself almost daily by ignoring traditional norms and forms of American masculinity. Continue reading

“We’re gonna have to pull the engine”

I’ve been hanging out on a Land Rover forum and mentioned my fondness for the simplicity of the old trucks. Another member posted these photos of the engine compartment of his Audi. One with the engine ‘cover’ and one with it removed.

Legend has it that you can only change two sensors without removing the engine. The crank sensor and the Temperature sensor. The temperature sensor is underneath the AC pump though, which needs disconnected. Therefore it needs to be done at a garage as the engine cant be run with no refrigerant gas as supposedly there is no clutch on the AC pump. (doubtful IMHO). To remove the engine means dismantling everything from the rear diff forwards, lowering the engine, front transmission and subframe then lifting the car off. On the Landy you can get to pretty much every part of the engine in situ. The engine only really needs to come out if the crank needs to come out.

For all the charm of an old Land Rover, the lads (mostly Brits) who haunt this forum pull no punches about what it’s really like to drive one of these things. Cold in the winter, hot in the summer, noisy in any season. Only time will tell if I can make the transition from the MINI. I’m approaching this more as art project and philosophical exercise than a way to get downtown.