Some five years ago, Matthew Cook, of Soldotna, Alaska, was distraught when his father sold off their 1973 Series III Land Rover.
Matt did not suffer the loss well, and would frequently take to perusing classified ads in the hopes of finding the truck again. Eventually, it did turn up- right on the front page of the last edition of our very own Roverlog, in a letter from one of our readers.
The SIII on a trip to Cordova AK:
Matt, now a small-business owner and father, has had an affinity for Land Rovers since before he could drive. Like many of us, he was initially taken in by the clean, utilitarian appearance and form-follows-function sensibility of the design. His first car was a 1999 P38 Range Rover, which he happily drove until it succumbed to the usual maladies that afflict the P38s.
His father then acquired the Series III, and Matt fell in love. He drove it on trips to various corners of the state, taking in the amazing sights and scenery that Alaska has to offer. Here in my home in Washington DC, I can only imagine that such exploration must be made all the more enriching when it is done in a Series Land Rover. Full disclosure, my first Landy was a Series III 88" also, so I may be biased.
Over time, Matt's appreciation of the marque grew. Sure they "look cool," says Matthew, but they also have a "mystique." "Land Rovers always have stories" and "get peoples' imaginations going." Sadly, the Series Land Rover appeal didn't quite jibe with the senior Mr. Cook's requirements, and the vehicle was sold off. It didn't take long for Matt to start wondering where it was.
All he knew was that it had gone to someone named Jack, and the trail ended there. As usual with these things, life gets in the way and you don't always have time to look when funds are available, or you don't have funds when time is at less of a premium. But, the search continued, and a few weeks ago, Matt spied the truck in our email. He wrote our editors, who put him in touch with Jack D., the sender of the letter. Unfortunately, Jack sold the car a few years ago. A series of emails were exchanged, phone calls made, and the vehicle's most recent owner agreed to sell it back to Matt.
Matt was kind enough to share some photos with me of the Land Rover on some trips with him and his father, a few of which I have included here. I caught up with him by telephone this afternoon as he and his wife made their way back on an arduous 900-plus mile round trip between Fairbanks and their home on the Kenai Peninsula. As seems to be par for the course with journeys involving trailers and Land Rovers, they had a series of breakdowns and flat tires, putting them well behind schedule. But they were on the road home with the Series III safely in tow. This time, Matt won't let it out of his grasp, so please don't ask if it will be for sale! He reports that the Land Rover did have a small engine fire at some point, and arrangements have been made for repairs to be done at a friend's workshop. Matt, we will be looking for an update from you when the tentatively-named "Prodigal Son" is back on the road!
Together in the Land Rover:
Young Matthew at the helm of the SIII.
The Rover in its present state- ready to be resurrected
Matt and Tawni happily at home with the rescued Rover
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