We’re a month past Valentine’s Day, so this story is a bit late in coming. However, as it did originate in New Zealand, it took a bit longer to reach our ears than most. Please excuse the delay.
It’s a story of four friends and a dream begun as children. Will Radford, Jeremy Wells, Anthony Dawson and James Shatwell grew up together in the land next to the land down under. As kids they dreamt of the countryside they could conquer with a Land Rover, the mountains they could crest, the trails they could seek out.
During college they realized that if they pooled their students loans they would have enough to purchase their dream. Not a new one, of course, but perhaps an old one. It turns out that their shared funds were enough to secure a 1957 Series 1 Land Rover Defender, something you would probably never see in the U.S. The Defender was both a source of good times and an on-going project as it needed a fair bit of work to stay operational.Land Rover gives four men the best Valentine's Day gift ever. Click To Tweet
College ended, separate lives began, and though they still took the occasional trip together, it was becoming harder to keep their Defender in prime shape. After eight memory-filled years they realized it was time to say goodbye and move on.
Unwilling to consign their beloved journey-maker to the scrapyard, they listed the vehicle for sale online.
Land Rover New Zealand discovered the listing. In it, the fellows described their history. Land Rover bought it, but pretended to be a private party. The company made contact with one of the fellows’ wives, Claire, and developed a plan to fully restore the vehicle to its original condition. Given the vehicle’s age, few parties besides Land Rover would have the resources to do that.Four men say goodbye to their Land Rover, then get the surprise of their lives. Click To Tweet
Once restoration was complete, Land Rover worked with Claire to take the Defender to locations all over New Zealand to replicate photos that the men had once taken with their beloved car. Then, the reveal was made during a nationwide TV ad.
Land Rover got cameras inside the house to record the fellows reactions as they saw their now restored old friend driving once more, the commercial ending with the words, “Happy Valentine’s Day, lads; Claire has the keys.”
If you’re in the Raleigh area and are now interested in a Land Rover (how could you not be?) stop by our showroom any time.