An audience with the Godfather of Land Rovers in Madeira

Ethel Walsh

This secluded island is property to some actually breath-using coastlines, but tucked absent in one particular of the couple inhabited places of Madeira Island is house to the Godfather of Land Rovers himself, Mr Miguel Nunes. We set out to discover where his Landy appreciate affair all started…

Jagged coastlines, slender winding streets, tough terrain, and solar-scorched floor. A volcanic space seemingly carved from the gods, but it is just yet another day in paradise for the citizens of Madeira Island. A single of those people is self-proclaimed Land Rover lover Miguel Nunes, a person whose complete daily life has been sculpted by his adore for basic vehicles and Landies in individual. We had been so intrigued by his story, and luckily for us, he’s a person with many incredible tales to tell. 

Miguel explains to us just how intently intertwined he is with the British utility automobile. “30 April 1948 – No, this was not the working day I was born but the day the to start with Land Rover created its debut at the Amsterdam Motor Show. For me, this day holds particular importance as I was born on the exact same working day 21 several years later on in 1969. And now I have two motives to rejoice. 

Born and lifted on Madeira Island, I grew up surrounded by my father’s outdated automobiles, this kind of as a 1946 Jeep, a 1948 Dodge, a 1957 Mercedes 180D, and a 1958 Peugeot. I continue to have the Jeep and the Mercedes and have been raising the collection my father commenced.” 

What strikes us most is just how a lot of Land Rovers Miguel has on these types of a tiny island, seemingly snapping up any classics that look on the island. There is, even so, just one unique Sequence that has often alluded him, as Miguel explains, “It all begun when I was 10 yrs outdated. I went to the area seller with my father to invest in a brand name-new Sandy beige 88″ diesel. Unfortunately, it was a three-seater and before long was traded for a Toyota BJ40 that could accommodate 6 folks. Minimal did I know at the time, this was just the commencing of my enjoy affair with Land Rovers! 7 yrs later, I read of a broken South African imported example had come up for sale, which experienced unfortunately been in an accident. I’d purchased it a person yr in advance of my 18th birthday and established about fixing it by the time I could lawfully travel it, and thanks to all people hrs spent restoring my Landy back again into condition again, I enjoyed that very first drive so significantly! 43 several years soon after the initial call with a Land Rover, I however appear for that Sandy colored Landy which I believe that it is still on the island. My memory usually takes me back to 1979 when I still left the regional dealer’s auto park in a brand-new Collection III Diesel, alongside with my father and my younger sister.”


In the 37 decades of Land Rover ownership, Miguel has purchased only a few manufacturer new autos – two Defenders and a Discovery, which he incredibly however owns. He now has 17 Landy’s, as properly as some other basic cars. The oldest Land Rover he owns is a 1955 series a single, with the newest becoming a 2006 Selection Rover L322. He admits he has much too a lot of, but when you love every 1 for their quirks and background, it is quite challenging to part methods. 

We have recognised of numerous Land Rover aficionados from all over the entire world, and so lots of when requested what driving a person is like usually say that it is an unforgettable practical experience, for improved or even worse! We ended up curious to listen to Miguel’s recollection of driving 1 for the really first time. “Series and Defenders are very appellative, but I frequently find it challenging to demonstrate it to myself as they are noisy, chilly, and not the best mate for your back again! But, although they might not be the fastest vehicles all around and the previous ones are undoubtedly not the best to generate, Land Rovers give something particular that are not able to be observed in any other models. When driving a Land Rover, you just fail to remember all the “Achilles heels” as you grow to be aspect of the motor vehicle itself and the steering wheel almost extends your arm. 

Miguel continues with extra details on how the Landies in good shape into his existence, “From getting my daughters to school each individual working day to going procuring or exploring the outdated roads on my household Island Madeira – I’m always driving the wheel of a Land Rover. And just one of the ideal points is receiving jointly with other enthusiasts like me – sharing stories around espresso at our neighborhood meetup team or bumping into every other out on the trails (and generating absolutely sure we will not get caught!). It’s astounding how close you can become with individuals when you share some thing as unique as this passion for these legendary cars!”

Speaking of tales, with a vehicle intended with adventure in its gas traces, it’s just about certain that a person so passionate about Land Rovers has a story or two of an adventure. Miguel did not disappoint, “It has been an remarkable journey becoming a component of the Madeira Island Land Rover neighborhood. Again in 1998, I founded the regional Land Rover club with two pals. About the several years we have structured and promoted many occasions on each Madeira and its little sister Island of Porto Santo, which include espresso meetings that brought together homeowners and fanatics from the brand name. The most memorable of individuals 25 several years was unquestionably our 2005 adventure when 4 Land Rovers still left Madeira to Lisbon in mainland Portugal for an unforgettable fortnight vacation to Morocco! It was an incredible encounter as we drove via some breathtaking landscapes and skilled different cultures along the way. The journey also taught us about self-sufficiency how significant it is for us as motorists to consider obligation for ourselves when on these types of very long journeys. We’ve arrive a lengthy way since then but a person detail continues to be legitimate: my enthusiasm & enthusiasm toward this pastime hasn’t diminished even after all these decades – if something it really is developed additional critical than ever!”

We have all heard the tale of the sandy define of the initial Land Rover and sat open-mouthed at the Camel Trophy Discos submerged deep in thick mud, but its stories this kind of as Miguel’s that showcase just how passionate house owners of particular models truly are. Land Rovers are a way of existence for so lots of, and we were curious to listen to Miguel’s ideas on what the manufacturer symbolises these days. “I continue to be a substantial fan of the Land Rover brand name and I feel they have completed an outstanding position with the major Array-Rover it remains a symbol of consolation, elegance, and fantastic off-street overall performance.As for the defender, I consider it dropped its hardy appearance which created it so interesting originally. It truly is continue to a lovely model, but not the true defender. You only have to look at pre-2016 Defender prices to see just how appealing they are becoming!” 

Producing this tale transported us ideal there with Miguel, his passion for the model he retains so dear to him is definitely intoxicating, and we have no question that he will inevitably get his fingers on that illusive Sandy Land Rover a single day! We’d like to thank Miguel for his time and for being amazing open with sharing his tale, where you can observe him on Instagram below.

Pics by Bartek Kolaczkowski

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