There was a time when steam engines were quite “fancy”. Of course, like any other technology, it became outdated over time and nowadays it is no longer a practical option.
However, that doesn’t mean it’s not an intriguing “engine” anymore. At least one person added a little humor to the classic Land Rover by fitting it with a small steam engine.
That person is Frank Rothwell, who also happens to be the one who raised over $1.5 million for Alzheimer’s research last year by rowing solo across the Atlantic at the age of 70. He has also traveled around the world, including the Northwest Passage. He is definitely familiar with using water as a means of transportation!
Retired engineer Frank Rothwell spent £24,000 ($32,000), with £4,000 ($5,300) on buying the car, to convert the 50-year-old Land Rover to a steam engine.
That brings us to his unique 1967 Land Rover. But it’s not as crazy as it sounds, as this steam engine is completely legal.
According to DriveTribe, the engine conversion idea came to him after visiting a traction engine exhibition, where Rothwell saw small steam engines. So, he obtained small steam engines based on a 1910 Foden engine, assembled them together, and then transferred them to the old Land Rover. After doing some initial calculations to see if the swap was feasible, he found that the sizes and weights were quite similar. And thus, the steam-powered Land Rover project began.
Coal is fed into the boiler from inside the cabin for convenience.
It must be admitted that the newly modified Land Rover is a little slower than before. According to the video, its top speed is about 20-25km/h, equivalent to the average speed of a bicycle race. That is definitely a speed that can easily turn heads and make people laugh, while those behind honk impatiently. (But fast enough for a retiree like Rothwell to leisurely commute.)
This quirky Land Rover can reach speeds of 20-25km/h when powered by fresh coal.
Furthermore, this Land Rover is no longer an off-road vehicle. But with a peculiar steam-powered Land Rover, that may not be much of a concern.
When in motion, the car emits steam like a steam locomotive.
The energy source comes from a piece of diesel-soaked cloth and well-burning firewood stored behind the seats. At full throttle, the steam-powered Land Rover produces a satisfying chugging sound. It even has a legal steam whistle to warn others of your presence.
This Land Rover modification may not appeal to many people. But it still has its own glory. It shows boundless creativity and that not everything old is useless. At least in this case, it makes the old Land Rover more interesting. Who knows, maybe the steam-powered Land Rover will become the “Mr. Bean of car modifications”?!