Looking at the unsightly condition of the old timer, I immediately questioned her wisdom. But she was adamant and said she viewed the historic Landy with great affection as it had towed her trailer – and horse – to events all over the country without a snag. Those trips were during her teens when petrol was hugely cheaper than it is today, I hasten to add.
It had been everywhere, said Oxford graduate and teacher Clare, so why not attend her wedding.
The cost of running the thirsty vehicle was the last thing on my mind as the wedding mileage to the 12-century village church at Wonastow, near Monmouth, would be minimal.
What concerned me was getting the mud-splattered Series 3 short-wheel-base vehicle into spick and span condition as a delicate white silk wedding gown and an oily old Land Rover didn’t mix. Or so I thought.
I accepted the challenge to get the vehicle up to scratch. After all, it was saving me a rather small fortune in hiring some rather exotic transport and its driver for the day and in any event the make-over would do the old stager a power of good as a serious service and valet were long overdue.
However, I did get carried away a little. Not only was the vehicles washed and waxed inside and out until the light blue paint started to wear thin in places but I decided to refurbish the front seats, renew the old wing mirrors, give the engine a new lease of life by skimming the cylinder head, replacing the exhaust valves and fitting new plugs and points.
All the oils were renewed and there was a thorough greasing underneath of joint after joint. And what a difference the work made to the engine, in particular. The Landy pulled stronger and smoother, started better and generally responded well to the treatment.
But that work was the easiest part. The rear of the cabin was the all-important issue in the bid to get to the church on time. Clare would simply sit on a cushion over one of the wheel arches and spread her large gown all around.