Series 1s in Darjeeling!

'The Ultimate King of the Road' 


The presence of the Series 1 in Darjeeling dates back to the 1950s, when around 300 vehicles were imported to transport tea on the treacherous and steep mountain roads. The British tea planters selected the Series 1 to negotiate the region's tough terrain. When the British planters left, the vehicles were bought by the locals for use as passenger cars. 

From the exterior, the iconic green badges are gone or faded away; leaving behind the patchwork bodies with decades of stories to tell. The vehicles have since been passed down through generations, becoming prized possesions.

In more recent times, around 40 of the exported Series 1s are still used as local taxis between the towns of Maneybhanjyang and Sandakphu. The 4-hour ride can be quite jumpy as drivers maneuver along snaky curves and uphill roads. Locals say they make good taxis due to the simple construction making them easy to maintain.

The town of Maneybhanjyang is home to the Singalila Land Rover Association, the largest operator of Land Rover Taxis in South East Asia. The fleet of ageing Series I are the lifeline of an entirely remote area. The rubble road surface makes driving on these tricky mountain roads not for the faint hearted, only seasoned drivers can cope with the rapid changes in gradient, hair pin bends and wet foggy conditions.

Information and Photo by Sirsendu Gayen