Classic Cars, Workshop Profile

Best Of British – Land Rovers & Range Rovers

Strictly for Land Rovers and Range Rovers, British Off Road is a specialist with nearly 50 years’ experience.

Few cars are as iconic as the original Land Rover of 1948, this British 4×4 the pioneer of the Land Rover Defender, Discovery and Freelander, plus all the Range Rovers in their various guises.

They have an incredibly loyal following to go with the lengthy history, so little wonder specialists of the marque are in demand. Just off the Bruce Highway at Forest Glen on the Sunshine Coast is British Off Road, founded nearly 50 years ago, and still selling itself as a one-stop-shop for all things Land Rover.

That means any model from the earliest Series I of the 1940s through to the latest incredibly high-tech Range Rover. It’s Queensland’s largest independent Land Rover wrecker and parts supplier, and with five hoists and seven mechanics at the workshop the place is abuzz with repair and service work across 4x4s of all vintages.

Adding to the authentic feel of British Off Road, numerous employees are of English heritage and have the accents to match. “Our parts manager came from a Land Rover panel shop in the UK, the workshop manager is dealer trained in England and we have two Land Rover factory trained mechanics,” said company director, Mark Calder.

It’s clear they have real enthusiasm for working on these Land Rovers and Range Rovers, from family SUVs through to modified classics used for extreme off-roading. “We have 22 or 23 staff and we did a tally of how many Land Rovers we owned between us, and it was over 60,” Mark said. “We say we’re staffed by enthusiasts, and that makes a big difference to customers. They know someone cares and understands their vehicle.”

With so many excellent off-road trails and places to beach drive in the region, there’s always demand for custom work. Illustrating the company’s reputation, British Off Road has built custom Land Rovers for The Offroad Adventure Show and The Australian Bushman television series. Performance upgrades, touring and competition setups are all possible here.

With Autologic diagnostic equipment the team handle log book servicing, plus are perfectly set up for larger jobs such as engine overhauls, major repairs and suspension replacements. They have over 7000 lines of new parts both genuine and aftermarket, while the premises is so huge the wrecking yard holds between 100 and 150 Land Rovers at any one time for dismantling. There are huge sheds with parts, engines and panels neatly organised, plus donor vehicles that seem to go on forever.

During my visit I spotted a six-wheeled Range Rover Classic, plus an ex-military Land Rover Defender with 3.9-litre Isuzu engine that’s used as a beach basher.

Proving their versatility, they also have used Land Rovers for sale at the front of the workshop.

Mark said the business had expanded greatly over the years. He began working there in 1992, and 11 years ago bought out the owners when they decided it was time to sell. “The big change I’ve seen is we used to sell a ton of parts for people to do their own work, now very few do that,” he said. “It seems people just don’t have the time today. Once upon a time it wasn’t unusual to have 30 or 40 customers doing full rebuilds at once. Now it’s maybe one or two.”

Hastening this change has also been how complex modern Land Rovers are. “With the new Range Rovers there’s probably no other car available as technical,” said Mark. “We’ll have to make changes to suit the new technology. Land Rover’s been a bit slower off the mark with hybrid and electric vehicles, but it’s coming. That’ll be something completely new to us, but we have to keep moving forward and we’ll be modernising the workshop to deal with the new technology.”

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