UK television presenter and adventurer Ben Fogle is a well-known Land Rover enthusiast. So when he came to write a book about the UK’s relationship with the iconic off-roader, Land Rover: Story of The Car That Conquered The World, it was inevitable that he would call on the preeminent designer and coachbuilder of one-off Land Rovers: Afzal Kahn.
"There is one company that has taken things to a whole new level," writes Fogle, "quite literally turning the humble Defender on its head.
"These are the robocops of the Land Rover world," Fogle says of Afzal Kahn’s Chelsea Truck Company Defenders. "Bolted with body armour, they look like futuristic military vehicles."
Fogle paid a visit to the Kahn Design headquarters and showroom in Bradford, where he met Afzal Kahn.
"I had wanted to meet Kahn for some time," Fogle writes. "A strong character, his reputation goes before him and I had heard plenty of stories about him during my journey through the world of Land Rover enthusiasts."
While in Bradford, Fogle was able to acquaint himself with Afzal Kahn’s amazing, coachbuilt Flying Huntsman 6x6 Defender, before undertaking another adventure with it.
Fogle drove the Flying Huntsman 6x6 across the Scottish Highlands to the island of Islay, a little known but vital part of the Land Rover story. For it was there that the Land Rover’s creator, Spencer Wilks, conducted extensive testing of early prototypes from the late 1940s onwards.
During the journey, Fogle discovered the ability of the Flying Huntsman 6x6 to become the centre of attention wherever it goes. He describes a lunch stop: "As I ate, I counted no fewer than fifty people crowded around her taking photographs. Within minutes of arrival, photos had been posted across social media. A local news photographer even turned up to take a picture."
Throughout his adventure, Fogle experienced the positive reaction the Flying Huntsman 6x6 garners wherever it goes. And its ability to go literally anywhere, ending the journey on the sands of a remote beach.
Land Rover: The Story of The Car That Conquered The World by Ben Fogle, published by HarperCollins is available to buy in all good bookshops, priced at £20.00.