ROW AND LOWREY - THEN AND NOW; A SEQUEL
BY KEITH JAMESON
BY KEITH JAMESON
Last year the Series One Club magazine Legend reprinted pages from 1948 editions of The Motor telling of early trials with R02 in Wales. They caught my attention because I also knew the area from behind the wheel of an 80in but Dave Hanson's research in the last two issues of Full Grille, tracing parts of the original Row and Lowrey route, has persuaded me to dig out some 1960s photographs. I was quite surprised by how some of them fit with the original Lland Roving story so felt they perhaps merit a short sequel.
My first Land Rover [A] goes back to student days at Loughborough after Steve Holt and I, both training as civil engineers at the college of technology, bid £100 for 11BC59. It was one of about two hundred sold by government auction at Ruddington in March 1963 where surplus military vehicles were brought for disposal every few weeks and, following civil registration with Leicestershire CC, R06104259 duly became 630BUT. Two or three years on we had driven 27 000 miles, explored many remote parts of the country and had a lot of fun but sadly sold our trusty Series One for £95 to raise funds for, so we thought at the time, more pressing matters
With my brother Ian and scouting friends who trained in the area alongside the mountain rescue team from RAF St Athan we made four trips to the upper Tywi, camping at Troedrhiw Ruddwen in a field between the road and the river [B] where there was was a hut. Dam construction had yet to start and it was another forty years before I went back to see Llyn Brianne but in May 2004 the hut was still there, if rather derelict.
The farmer, as I recall another Miss Jones like the first owner of FBX82, lent us a key for the Forestry Commission roads so I have photographs taken around the locations mentioned by Row and Lowrey, most with dates and some with grid references. I am almost certain we did the climb from crossing the Camddwr / Tywi confluence [C] past Dalar-wen and Henfaes recounted by Dave Hanson but the section I remember best, because we drove it three times, was the track alongside the Tywi. About 2½ miles south of the point where it leaves the Tregaron to Abergwesyn road [D] the most remarkable coincidence is in [E] where 630BUT is three hundred yards past where Row and Lowrey stopped for their Pin-Pointing shot [F]. Our trip in March 1964 was notable for shearing the clutch cross-shaft to connecting tube pin two hundred miles from home on a bank holiday. Improvisation with an Allen key gave us just enough travel to prevent stalling the engine when engaging first gear and, after a little practice, we became quite proficient at changing up and down without the clutch pedal.
Two years running on the fourth Saturday of June in 1964 and 1965 we were there again, joining the local community as they met at Troedrhiw for a less critical form of shearing. Handling sheep and fleeces for the farmers made a welcome change from fixing clutch pins and our hands had never been so soft. Meanwhile their wives were in the kitchen cooking roast lamb for all who took part and, served in relays because there was no time to stop, I just remember a very convivial farmhouse lunch.
All too quickly I lost touch with 630BUT. Who knows what happened to it? Happily for me another Series One came my way in time for retirement so the fun continues.
1940s: Inception and Launch
1947: Christened 'Land Rover' the initial 'mule' prototype features a central driving position. By September, the Rover Company board approves the "all-purpose vehicle on the lines of the Willys- Overland post-war Jeep".
1948: The Land Rover is launched at the Amsterdam Motor Show on 30 April. Later known as the 'Series I', it has an 80in wheelbase, 50bhp 1595cc petrol engine from the Rover P3, pick-up body and priced £450.
1949: 2nd July Mary Eunice (Nansi) Jones, Dalar Wen Farm, Rhandir-mwyn purchases her new Land Rover