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ONELIFE #37 – English

  • Text
  • Cars
  • Onelife
  • Landrover
  • Rover
  • Rovers
  • Cape
  • Epic
  • Defender
  • Vehicles
  • Donegal
  • Phev
  • Arctic
  • Kolisi
Land Rover’s Onelife magazine showcases stories from around the world that celebrate inner strength and the drive to go Above and Beyond. For this issue of Onelife we visited Maneybhanjang in the Indian Himalaya, where Land Rover Series Is and IIs rule the roost, we followed the north star to the Land Rover Ice Academy in Arjeplog, Sweden, which offers thrilling ice driving action and bring you the story of outdoorsman Monty Halls and his family who are out with a Discovery for a scenic escape in Ireland.

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HERITAGE “AKBAR, THE GOD OF LAND ROVER IN THESE PARTS, IS PROUD OF THIS IDENTITY" Akbar (top) is said to be able to fix almost any mechanical problems, utilising his vast experience and the cavern of parts in his workshop (left) aluminium body and simple running gear. “The body does not rust and so it doesn’t need to be parked in a garage which can be an expensive luxury in a town like this where space is tight. Modern 4x4s with their steel bodies need a lot more maintenance.” He’s convinced modern cars can’t take the constant beating that the Series I can. And who am I to argue with this passionate man who, through years of sheer hard work and diligence, has a daughter with an Oxford doctorate, a son completing his Master’s degree in Australia, and a third child in a school nearby. I begin to understand how the Series I has helped to drastically change lives in this town. Later, I’m perched on a blackened wooden stool in a workshop whose walls are lined with shelves full of old Land Rover parts. Akbar is in his 50s but the creases in his face instantly disappear as he animatedly shows me various pinions, gears, clutch assemblies, gaskets, fan belts, and three complete engines. Akbar, who has been working on Series Is for over 30 years, is the man who keeps Maneybhanjang’s Land Rovers running. His expertise includes mating Indian-made diesel engines to the running gear of the Series I. He tells me that only three Land Rovers here still run the original petrol engine, for reasons of simple economics; in India, diesel is considerably cheaper than petrol, and diesel engines are more economical in these highrevving, slow uphill, off-road conditions. And when fuel accounts for a third of the cost of the going rate for each trip made by these Land Rovers, the savings add up. “Only Land Rovers can ply the road up this mountain, because they are so simple to fix,” he says. He shows me a gear shaft with its teeth almost stripped off. “This happened high up on the road, but the driver managed to make it back to the workshop.” I stare at the almost bald gear shaft in utter disbelief it doesn’t have enough teeth to bite into a well boiled potato, let alone bring a fully loaded Series I home. “Modern vehicles,” adds Akbar, “have electronic systems that are almost impossible for people in these remote areas to fix.” Akbar, who has not had a school education, doesn’t know the correct names of the parts he needs to fix but, through sheer experience and intuition, understands what is wrong and how to execute repairs. Later, I learn there are other mechanics in the area who can repair these old Land Rovers, but it is Akbar they turn to for the difficult problems. In these parts, Akbar is the god of Land Rover, and he is proud of this identity. “Times are hard,” he admits, “but when people come from far away to speak to me about what I do, it gives me a deep sense of satisfaction.” 35