Land Rover kept this year’s 70th anniversary celebrations going hot and strong with a parade of 70 vehicles, driven mostly in age order, on the Goodwood Festival of Speed hillclimb.
This was a slow one: a line of that many Landies, we now know, stretches more than half a mile.
The field was led away by long-time Land Rover enthusiast and expert Phil Bashall, the man behind the fabulous Dunsfold Collection. He drove a near-period recreation of the company’s original centre-steer prototype, an eclectic mix of Jeep, Rover car and rudimentary one-off bits. Why the central driving position? Because even back in the late 1940s the Rover car company’s owners, the Wilks brothers, had their eye on global sales, and saw this as the perfect way to avoid having to make separate left and right-hand-drive cars.
Luckily a second, much more Landie-like prototype, represented by the second car in the cavalcade, the famous HUE 166 (which has a conventional right-handed driving position) was finished almost at the same time as the centre-steer, and the Wilks decision was to choose the more conventional one. But the centre-steer remains an extraordinary piece of Landie history.