One of the lovely things about an old Land Rover is that it fits in anywhere: shopping, the school run, a photoshoot, the opera, a farm, a fashion show… From the Alps to Kensington, you won’t look out of place in a Defender. Like an original Mini, it’s an automotive lowest common denominator: it divides into any company.
However, Defenders do look particularly at home in the British countryside. Which is why I took mine on a short break touring around Yorkshire, as pictured above. Nice, yes? Yes. We had fun. Mostly.
Fast forward a few hours from that photograph and, well, it’s a complicated story, but let’s just say that an administrative error and a minor emergency mean I have to spend the night in the car.
In some cars, even in plenty of Land Rovers, stretching out in the back for a snooze is quite easy. But this is a Defender 90, which is about the length of a new Ford Fiesta, only with much more space given over to the engine.
I get in the back and try a few sleeping positions. Reclining against a seatback with my legs stretched out is fine for snacking and taking in the view but not very good for a nap. Eventually, I settle curled into the foetal position with a rucksack for a pillow and a picnic rug for a duvet. It could be worse.
But, I figure, waiting – hoping – to doze off, it could be better. I quite like the idea of a camper van, particularly one made from an old 4x4, so you could drive up a mountain and then stay there on a whim.
I consider various ways of converting the 90 into an overland tourer, then consider how much easier it would be in a long-wheelbase 110, but then I decide that what I really want is a 101 Forward Control. Always have. Probably always will.