Roger Crathorne had already been with Land Rover 16 years when I met him on a windy hill in Kintyre. The best Land Rover driver in the world, he was there to endorse a full page advertisement in the Daily Telegraph claiming you could drive across the peninsula. I had failed. Crathorne’s assignment was to show how.
Roger now says he is retiring. It is surprising how much an individual can influence a company culture. Lotus had Colin Chapman. MG had Cecil Kimber. Rover had a handful of Wilkses; Jaguar Sir William Lyons and Bentley WO. Test and development driver, engineer, the cross-country pre-eminence of Land Rovers and Range Rovers owes everything to his skill and (I do not exaggerate) devotion. He has achieved it, furthermore, while remaining one of the most courteous approachable and unostentatious individuals in an industry where such virtues are rare. I was honoured when he agreed to a foreword in the 65th anniversary edition of my Land Rover
There are not many jobs-for-life these days, but it has been my luck to have had one of them. Land Rover has been my career; I have loved every minute of it, so I am delighted to introduce a new updated edition of a book that details what has been, in effect, my life’s work. Fittingly it celebrates 65 years of Land Rover and my 50 years with the company, describing every phase, every up-and-down and every important product to bear the name. The story of a stop-gap model that became a world wide success has been told in hundreds of books, some written not only about one model or series, but just about one particular car. The Land Rover File covers the entire span in one work of reference that answers most of the questions people ask. Departments and executives inside Land Rover rely on what Eric Dymock and his researchers have chronicled so as an independent author, we may not agree with him on absolutely everything. We use this book as a working document and I commend it as objective, truthful, packed with good pictures and down-to-earth detail. Roger Crathorne: Enthusiast and Technical PR Manager.
Retire? It is not in Roger’s nature. He will be fettling his own classic Land Rover. He will be advising, consulting in his quiet-mannered way. Royce was lucky to have Rolls for the practicalities, to perfect the imperfect, to work out ways and means. Land Rover was just as lucky to have Roger Crathorne.
Longest employee in the oldest Land Rover Roget Crathorne in HUE 166 (top) And with the Best 4x4s he created.