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Auto blogMon, 21 Jul 2014 16:59:00 EST
For athletes, the cold is often a powerful ally in treating injures, with RICE (rest, ice, compression and elevation) a popular means of treating muscle pulls, bruising and other common forms of discomfort. Did you know, though, that frosty temps are also popular tools for simply recovering from a rough training session?
Well, we're guessing Jaguar Land Rover knew that, as the British company was kind enough to loan out its climactic testing chamber to Jaco van Gass and Luke Darlington, a pair of veterans wounded in their service to Queen and Country. Van Gass, a former private in the Royal Army, and Darlington, a Royal Marine, are attempting to earn a spot on the British Armed Forces cycling team for the upcoming Invictus Games.
The Games, inspired by the Warrior Games held in the United States, are a sporting competition reserved for injured servicemen and women, either active duty or veterans, and is slated to take place from September 10 to 14 in London's former Olympic venues. Van Gass lost his left arm below the elbow after getting hit by a rocket-propelled grenade (he also suffered from a collapsed lung, punctured internal organs, severe shrapnel and blast wounds, a broken tibia and a fractured knee). Darlington, meanwhile, suffered a traumatic brain injury during action in Afghanistan, and he now suffers from weakness in his right side and cognitive issues.
The Middle East is one of the fastest-growing markets for Land Rover, so it makes sense that the automaker is looking to set up shop in the region. According to Automotive News, Jaguar Land Rover is in talks with the people of Saudi Arabia to build a factory in the country at an expected initial cost of $1.2 billion. Still in the early stage of talks, the proposed facility could start up by 2017 using locally sourced materials such as steel and aluminum.
Such an arrangement could be beneficial for both entities as Saudi Arabia looks to diversify its oil-reliant economy and Land Rover could get local production capacity of around 50,000 units. The report also says that the agreement talks about the possibility for Jaguar models to be built at the same plant further down the road.
This won't be the first vehicle produced in Saudi Arabia - that honor goes to the KSU Gazal-1 - but it will be the first from a major global automaker.
As I scoured auction sites and classified ads for the perfect vehicle to take into battle with Autoblog Associate Editor Brandon Turkus, I knew I needed to find something unique. You see, I'm currently 0-2 at winning a round of This or That, in which two of our editors agree on a category, choose a side, and argue it out over a (mostly) friendly chain of emails.
The first time we did this, my chosen Fiat 500 Abarth took about a third of the popular vote in our reader poll. The second time, my lovely 1980 Oldsmobile 442 did just a little bit better against a 1989 BMW 635 CSi. Despite holding the opinion that my automotive choices, though perhaps a little bit more... obscure than my fellow editors, are still better, an outright win would go a long way toward boosting my vehicular self worth a few notches upward.
With all of that out of the way, even if three isn't my lucky number after all, I go into battle against Brandon knowing full well that I've made the perfect choice: A 1987 Volkswagen Vanagon Syncro. My rough-and-tumble van/'ute has a formidable opponent in the form of a 1987 Land Rover Defender, which, truth be told, is exactly what I was expecting from Turkus, a self-proclaimed Rover aficionado.