The Knowledge
Land Rover Owner|February 2018

This month: vehicle paperwork and owners’ handbooks. Never let it be said that Peter doesn’t seek out topics for his column that are designed to thrill and excite…

Peter Galilee

If you’re doing historical research, trying to untangle fiction from reality can be difficult. For instance, it’s often said that 1948 Land Rovers were painted ‘Cockpit Light Green’ (used on World War 2 British aircraft). I looked into that, and found there was quite a range of variation for cockpit paint. So far as I know there isn’t any actual proof that Rover sprayed freshly minted Land Rovers with war-surplus paint. Maybe they did and maybe they didn’t – but anyway, the story stuck and ended up being quoted in auction catalogues and elsewhere. Now, if only someone had found paperwork for Cockpit Light Green paint delivered to Rover.

Paperwork for registration marks can be even more troublesome. Originally, registration numbers were issued by a local authority, but that ended in the early 1970s when they were issued from a centralised authority (DVLC, later DVLA) at Swansea or from regional offices run by the DVLC.

While the changeover was going on, the government issued sometimes contradictory advice about what should be done with the obsolete local-authority ledgers. One lot of advice was to destroy the old ledgers – and that’s why we don’t now have any old registration-mark evidence for London registered vehicles. Solihull records were archived, so it’s possible to trace some Rover histories that would otherwise have been lost.

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