No, this isn’t about a traffic jam near Solihull.
2018 marks the 70th anniversary of the Land Rover brand with elaborate and imaginative celebrations being held since the beginning of the year—one of the most notable being Land Rover Day on April 30th with live streams from around the world.
From humble beginnings in the post-war years, the last seven decades have seen the brand develop into an international success story: Land Rover is one of the most well-known and best recognised vehicle brands in the world, having introduced countless groundbreaking innovations to the all-wheel-drive community.
Of all the festivities globally, it took JLR in Germany to come up with possibly the biggest challenge of them all: an attempt to create the longest Land Rover parade of all times and beat the existing record of 516 vehicles held by the Portuguese since 2014. However you look at it, this was going to need preparations of monumental proportions, and who better to get involved than the incredible team at Land Rover Experience Germany (LRE).
The attempt was held on May 30th in Bad Kissingen, Germany, and the date was selected to coincide with the Abenteuer & Allrad Show (the world’s biggest off-road and adventure event) in the hope of attracting plenty of vehicles to join the parade. And it did: 632 cars and more than 1,500 fans turned up—including Tristan, myself and, of course, Larry.
The turnout was impressive with models spanning the 70-year history of manufacture. Defenders were in abundance and I was surprised at the number of Velars that turned up. But not so many Series actually took part in the procession making Larry one of the oldest in a long line-up of modern metal.
The organisation was impeccable with everything accounted for on this hot and sunny day. After all, ensuring 632 drivers would abide by the stringent rules set out by Guinness World Records is no mean feat. But not only the parade itself was demanding, the check-in, Parc fermé, catering, communication en-route (they set up their own radio station for the event), road blocks, safety … and a big after-party when it was all over. LRE used all their resources and made everything run like clockwork.
So, how did it go? Well, Larry doesn’t have the frills of current times such as air-con or an auto box, so it’s fair to say we bathed in sweat on our black vinyl seats. Another luxury missing from the dashboard is a radio (I mean, what would I do with one anyway? Have you heard the cacophony in a Series?), but LRE had the foresight to bring along a good number of portables for the likes of us and we were able to follow instructions and stay on top of the progress.
As we waited to join the procession, I was surprised to hear that the leading car had already covered two thirds of the circuit and I could still see several hundred vehicles in the field around me which had not yet even started to move. This was going to be tight, but finally the seven-kilometre long parade was complete and slowly meandering its way through the countryside. Maintaining the correct distance to the car in front was a bit challenging at times, but it all went smoothly. After two circuits, the adjudicator, who had flown in on behalf of Guinness World Records, called everything to a halt and we returned to the car park without really knowing if we had succeeded or not.
After some deliberation amongst the judges, the announcement was made: Success! A new world record had been set and we had been part of it. The ensuing party was a worthy testament to the efforts of the organisers and participants.
Congratulations on a job well done!
Update: Billing, June 30th 2018. More than 900 vehicles set off in an attempt to break this fresh new record. After a few weeks of deliberation and evaluation of the video footage, it has been determined that the organisers of the Billing show have established a new world record with 640 Land Rovers.