Thursday, April 03, 2008


One of the things that attracted me to old Land Rover ownership was that this is the quintessential African vehicle - that it's been used throughout the continent and you'll always find spares for it.

Or at least that's the theory. Reality is you spend ages trying to source stuff!

Wouldn't it be nice if you could get Land Rover parts online? If you didn't have to phone the world and find a trusty supplier at a decent price, but could simply go to a central website, check the cost, order and pay online - and get the stuff the next day, delivered to your door.

Of course that's not going to happen.

For one thing, Landy parts are all too often "recycled". You find a bloke with a scrapyard, go dig through his shelves and piles of metal, and haul out a forgotten but apparently still working part to stick on your truck. Or you take a bit off someone else who is upgrading or changing things. Such is the joy of having Mecano-set vehicles. Mix & match. But this way you get something that does or doesn't work, no guarantees.

And then there's the "quick, everyone make a buck!" thing. Where, to get a proper new Landy part, you have to go via an official dealer - and what costs you 8p in the UK suddenly comes in at R40 here! With difficulty. There will be umming and aahing before you manage to squeeze something out of them. And they'll charge you exorbitant amounts simply because they know you can't get it elsewhere. Customer service? Not a priority.

Then there's the friend-of-a-friend option, who knows a good guy on the inside who has contacts with LR and can source all sorts of goodies. Usually. But he may not be able to come up with that one part unavailable from everyone else.

Hence my desire for an online site to price things (new or used), check availability, order and get. One that's cost-effective and not a rip-off. One that can source exactly what you want and get it to you without hassle. Perhaps even one where that bloke who has been stockpiling parts for years suddenly lists everything he has for the rest of us to buy.

And why do I want this? Because I am about to phone the local Land Rover dealer for parts pricing again, and we all know how that went last time.....

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