Shaken, not stirred.
A Jar of Angry Bees
The new Land Rover Defender presents serious food for thought. And more than enough opportunity for legacy owners to come out of the hive and buzz about the way things used to be.
To be fair, ya gotta appreciate everything the Defender has stood for in its, what, 40-plus years of existence? Rugged simplicity. Like many of the most loved 4WD vehicles throughout history, the Defender has traditionally had more in common with a tractor than a truck—but that’s why we love it, right?
In a recent video, Richard Hammond gives us a quick overview of the new—all-new—Land Rover Defender. It’s got 85 ECUs. Land Rover refers to this still slab-sided off-road appliance as an “all terrain supercomputer”. They’re not wrong. And the stuff that technology delivers is downright magic.
So you know it’s good—but haters still gonna hate. In any case, we’re looking forward to seeing Defenders doing what most Land Rovers seem to do these days—drop fortunate sons and daughters off at prep school.
Been There. Tim & Kelsey. Doing That.
Amidst the sheer, consumer insanity that was Overland Expo West 2019, I found myself having a quiet conversation with a bearded fellow in an old hat with a feather stuck in it. His name was Robert Scrivener—the third. If he’d not handed me a business card, I might have guessed he’d simply sauntered out of the woods to help them Land Rover fellas git unstuck on the driving course.
Suffice to say, I’ve listened to a few episodes of Robert and Gayla’s Been There. Doing That. podcast since then. I’ll be damned if it’s not one of the sweetest, buttery smooth productions I’ve heard. Hard to believe the audio quality they’re getting in the back of a Jeep on the side of a mountain somewhere.
The grass is always greener.
Robert and Gayla had Tim and Kelsey on their podcast. Tim and Kelsey being a couple of our favorite people—and in the upcoming Super Issue—I knew it would be a good time. But consider the questions asked of a couple exploring South America by Toyota Land Cruiser by a couple exploring North America by Jeep Wrangler.
Robert and Gayla are the genuine article. A couple down-to-earth Jeepers who downsized in pursuit of a more intentional—meaningful—life. You should check this one out.
Easy Breezy, Mitsu Tweezy?
HT: Jeff Holland on LinkedIn
Dubbed the “Vision Mercedes Simplex”, this is a design exercise in merging the past, present, and future of automotive design. Talk about taking retro design language to the next level, right?
This thing looks amazing.
There doesn’t appear to be much about how it’s powered, but I was telling Jeff I wish the 100th Anniversary Mitsubishi Model A was more along these lines; maybe put a 1-liter 3A90 under the bonnet, a downsized PHEV battery pack in the floor, and give the Renault Twizy a run for its money.
I would totally drive one of these. It’s like cyclekart meets Tron, ya know?
Talking technology can be a minefield because if something perceived as very high tech you either worship it or you’re a Luddite. Boolean, low res.
The best (no qualifiers) traction control system I’ve experienced so far is entirely mechanical, automatic and transparent to the user. No wires, no buttons, no clicks and no instructions. It was deployed on two production models and never heard from again.
Good reason, too – once ABS and stability control and throttle by wire came on the scene all the hard parts were already on the car so traction code is free at that point. Hard parts cost money. If you can’t convince your customer to pay more for a confusing chunk of metal hidden out of sight they won’t.
Every car on the market has dynamics control and the only real defining differences among them seem to be whether you can turn them off or partially off for hooning. In many cases the limiting factors on production vehicle dynamics are nothing to do with how smart they can make the computations. If they want to make it better they need bigger brakes that can handle meaner duty cycles or more precise tone rings that can discern speed differences earlier – not more code.
So you get 85 processors in the Rover. What’s their function? I think my coffee maker has something you could describe as a processor. Is that what Rover calls a processor? I could throw 86 coffee makers in a cardboard box.
If all 85 processors have Big Important Jobs then why exactly? Do they need three of them to operate the headlights? Can the seat warmers keep my butt cheeks at 98 degrees and the frijoles at 84.5?
All these and more are questions I’d like answered as I sit in my desk chair conspicuously not considering buying the product under consideration.
Marketing is the greatest super power known to man. Shame it’s largely used in a race to the bottom. :shrug
I shared this one because there’s a few interesting conversations to be had around the pros and cons of technology and motoring. Strip away the marketing hype and emotion. What’s left? A modern 4WD vehicle bristling with tech, all of which intended to perform well in the face of compromise when opportunity cost says it has to be rugged, durable, fast, sleek, comfortable, luxurious, and premium.
You can’t have the rugged simplicity of the original Defendor (wink) AND the luxurious performance of the new one at the same time. There’s always give-and-take.
I’m not in the market, either, but it’s a new Defendor (wink, wink), it’s relatively newsworthy, and it’s an off-road supercomputer. It’s interesting. That’s all.