Driving Me Crazy: The Most Beautiful Vehicle I Ever Saw

John and Laurie Wiles Automotive, Environmental, History, Hobbies, National, New York City, New York State, Pinehurst, NC, Radio, Westchester County, NY, White Plains, NY Leave a Comment

Driving Me Crazy automotive review Columnists Laurie and John Wiles.

MANY YEARS AGO, I was standing on top of a mountain. It was an old mountain that time had tempered over the ages. There was but one lonely tree off in the distance, and a few rock faces smoothed by the unforgiving force of driving winds and weather. The land was barren, crowned by stretches of gorse and sweeps of heather. Have you ever walked on the heathered hills and moors of Scotland? It’s like walking on a spring mattress.

The winding road to the top of the mountain was narrower, it seemed, than the vehicle that drove me to that forlorn spot and dropped me off for some falconry. It was the perfect place to release a falcon. You could see beyond the horizon; you could touch the sky.

Land Rover Discovery

Falconry is an ancient sport that dates to 6000 B.C. The falcon is a bird of prey, designed to hunt game birds, rabbit and vermin without a gun — red grouse particularly in the British Isles. For this reason, God made falcons without a heart. By that I mean, they have no emotions, no remorse, no affinity even for its master. Scientific studies show this strange phenomenon. The “emotion lobe” of their brain is the size of a dried pea.

Grouse and Falcon in pursuit.

And so, when the sky darkened and the driving winds and rains inevitably came, that great bird with claws like a sharpened scythe continued to cover the sky, feeling no remorse, seeking no shelter, and showing no sympathy for me, the bone-cold, water-drenched lass that I was.

Time passed. Now, let me point out that I was not alone. The falcon was handled by a falconer. The further out the bird flew, the greater the distance between me and the old man because I could not follow him. A native of these parts, he was too nimble, too sure- footed, and too fast. Had he been on my home turf, the streets of New York, he would have been the one at a disadvantage.

I cannot recall when I first realized that I was alone. The road that led me there was surely three miles long; the estate I was visiting was an hour away. I was afraid. My old nemesis, hypothermia — familiar to every outdoorswoman and man who journeys to the

northern reaches of the Back of Beyond — was approaching. Dusk shrouded the mountaintop when suddenly, a flood of light pierced the imminent darkness. I was rescued. They were the headlights of a Land Rover Defender that had coursed many miles over many years.

It was the most beautiful vehicle I had ever seen.

2019 Discovery Land Rover HSE

When Johnny and I recently had the opportunity to test-drive the 2019 Discovery HSE Luxury Land Rover, I couldn’t help but make comparisons. I’ve driven, and been driven in, many Land Rovers and Range Rovers since I became an outdoor journalist and took on the gig of automotive journalist a lifetime ago and there hasn’t been a single one I haven’t loved.

What’s the HSE Luxury got? First, a better-than-expected MSRP. This seven-seat luxury SUV is available in four models, starting with the SE at $52,300; the new Landmark Edition at $58,500; the HSE, beginning at a tad under $60K, and the HSE Luxury with a base price of $67,200 and, completely trimmed out, $80,915. Go online and check out the videos, watch the commercials, read the reviews and you’ll see this mid-size SUV is designed to be a family car. This is nothing new. This British multi-national automotive company has rebranded Land Rover and targeted the urban family for quite some time. Happily, they haven’t forgotten their core identity. This all-wheel-drive, handsomely appointed mid-size SUV boasts an 8-speed, automatic transmission with 254 horsepower and a 3.0 liter turbocharged six- cylinder diesel engine that’s built to take just about any road and weather, come what may. Think of a tank with emergency collision notification, ISOFIX-system child seats, dynamic stability control, emergency braking, lane keep assist and driver condition monitor, rear-view camera, 360-degree parking aid, rear traffic monitor, clear exit monitor and park assist, adaptive cruise control with “stop and go” responsive monitoring, blind spot assist, traffic sign recognition and more. Did that 1967 Land Rover that saved my life have any of these safety measures? Do pigs fly?

What about the comfort and convenience built into the 2019 Discovery HSE Luxury? LED headlights with daytime running lights and auto-high beam assist; powered, “gesture-operated” tailgate with power inner tailgate; panoramic roof, rain sensing windshield wipers; exterior memory door mirrors that do it all–dim, fold automatically, and loathe ice; power seats that do it all for both front and rear seats; that indispensable third row if you, too, have 12 grandchildren; a concert-quality Meridian surround sound system; Sirius XM Radio (who can live without Channel 148, Radio Classics?) and all the Bluetooth, USB plugs, outlets, and hotspots your heart desires. There’s good reason why none of these things were in that 1967 Land Rover. They hadn’t been invented yet.

The 2019 Land Rover Discovery HSE Luxury gets 26 mpg highway and 21 mpg city — about 15 miles a gallon more than the one that rescued me in the Highlands. Sleekly designed, responsive, quiet; it bears no outward similarity to the classic Land Rovers of yesteryear, which were boxy, fought you at every turn, and slightly quieter than a fighter jet. Notwithstanding, the new production Land Rovers have the same genes as their forebears. All Land Rovers and Range Rovers are built to last, have fortitude and, like Superman, “goes places where no other [SUV] has ever gone before” — well, at least most.

So, given a choice today, which would I choose? The fabulous 2019 Land Rover Discovery HSE Luxury or that old soldier that saved my life 30 years ago? The answer is obvious — to me, at least. The 1967 Land Rover. Why? Because you can’t put a price tag on your golden memories.

2019 Land Rover Discovery HSE interior.

A Dealer Near You


In North Carolina:

Land Rover Cary(919) 469-1000
1000 Auto Park Blvd, Cary, NC, 27511-6038

Land Rover Greensboro
(919) 469-1000
1000 Auto Park Blvd, Cary, NC, 27511-6038

Land Rover Raleigh

(919) 469-1000

1000 Auto Park Blvd, Cary, NC, 27511-6038

Land Rover Charlotte

(919) 469-1000

1000 Auto Park Blvd, Cary, NC, 27511-6038

In the New York Metro Area

Land Rover Larchmont / New Rochelle

(914) 517-0772

1 East Main Street., New Rochelle, NY 10801-5317

Land Rover White Plains

(914) 517-0821

295 East Main Street, Elmsford, NY 10523-3413

Land Rover Manhattan

(212) 549-2200

787 11th Ave, New York, NY, 10019-3538

Land Rover Mount Kisco

(914) 614-0886

299 Kisco Avenue, Mount Kisco 10549-1005


John and Laurie WilesDriving Me Crazy: The Most Beautiful Vehicle I Ever Saw

Leave a Reply

This comment will be displayed anonymously. Your name and email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.