A Gorgeous little 1953 Land Rover called 'Toot', will now call Land Rover Heaven.....Home.
Peter aged 12 checking 'Toots' oil.
We have been waiting so long to do this epic trip.......picking up two amazing cars down in Victoria, for ourselves, for our own collection! With Covid Lock downs always looming and in place it has really put a stopper on our pick ups!
"Toot" as affectionately known by the family that have firstly known and then owned this car for its whole life have entrusted us to take on Custodianship of this little beauty! A true Australian little battler, it has quite a story to tell. Peter was lovely enough to write the story for me, see a copy of that below plus some awesome photos of then and now as Dave has done a little work on him since we got him home.
1953 Land Rover AMC-577 – “Toot”
The following history of Toot is based on the recollections of Peter Jennings, the owner from 1981 to 2021.
Toot is a 1953, 80” Land Rover and was given the nick name because of the high pitched horn. Toot was purchased by Joseph Henry Ernest Keys (Ernie) (1888-1967) of Bibbenluke in southern NSW in 1953. My father, John Jennings went to Sydney (probably by train) to pick up Toot and drive it back to Bibbenluke.
At some stage in the late 50s or early 60s Ernie retired and his son Norman took over Ernie’s farming operation, and Toot.
In 1966, Norman, who lived at Bemboka sold Toot to John Jennings for the use of John’s farm-hand at the time, Andy Brown. The hand over was arranged at one of Ernie/Norman’s properties called “Nunnock” which was located in the South East Forest (since sold to the NSW Government). A set of bush cattle yards was being built at Nunnock and after the job was completed Peter Jennings, then twelve years old, drove Toot back to the family farm at Bibbenluke.
In 1967 John purchased a nearby property on Poddy Hut Road called “The Oasis” and soon after, Andy Brown moved to another job so John employed Jeff Barker whose family had been renting The Oasis homestead. Toot became Jeff’s farm ute and he took it upon himself to scratch his name and address on the driver side door. Jeff remained in John’s employment until about 1975 after which Toot was used by the casual employees that John employed.
John had long had a desire to move from the Monaro and farm in another locality so in late 1980 he came across a property at Giffard West in Gippsland near Sale that took his fancy. At the same time Peter had planned to return to the farm after a four-year stint of teaching at Goulburn High School and at Outward Bound in the ACT. The properties at Bibbenluke were quickly snapped up by neighbours and the move to Giffard West was scheduled for April 1981.
In the meantime Nicki had arrived in the district in 1980 to take up a position as a teacher at Bombala High School. Later that year she and a friend rented the vacant house that had been John’s parents’ house – just up the road from John (and Peter’s) home. Peter and Nicki formed a relationship quite quickly despite Peter taking Nicki for a drive in Toot with the bonnet unsecured…. resulting in the bonnet flying up to obscure his vision. However, they still had eyes for each other.
The move to Giffard West was completed in April 1981 with Nicki moving too in 1983 to marry Peter. Toot became Peter’s farm ute until 1984 when he purchased a 4WD Holden Rodeo. Toot was retired to a machinery shed but made an auspicious come-back soon after when the Rodeo became bogged and Toot was called upon to pull it out. That was Toot’s last job.
Toot was then properly retired, drained of water and put up on blocks… until 2007 when Peter and Nicki sold part of their farm and decided to have a reduction sale. Toot was listed in the auction with a reserve of $1,000. The best offer was $600 so Toot was passed in and returned to the machinery shed, back up on blocks with Peter’s vague thought of perhaps one day “doing Toot up”. This never came to pass so when Peter and Nicki finally sold their farm in 2021, Toot had to go. One option was an online sale so Nicki did some research which gave them a ball-park value. Peter set about cleaning Toot and found that the oil filter was missing! This could only have been stolen at some stage. Peter went online to find a second-hand oil filter and ended up making an enquiry to Dave at Land Rover Heaven. Yes, Dave could supply an oil filter, but… “I would be very interested to know your sell price. This would be something we would love to add to our personal collection. We love a Land Rover with a background story as I’m sure you can tell from our website”.
A sell price was negotiated then Dave and Janelle picked up Toot on 28 October 2021 to take it back to Goulburn via Bibbenluke… and Poddy Hut Road.
.....and that we did! We headed home with Toot on the back of the truck and went via Poddy Hut Road!!
Dave and myself on our way home via Poddy Hut Road
Some things to mention about Toot..... with very little work he has sprung back to life, all gauges working, even the speedometer working which is uncommon for an original non restored farm 80". Toot came with his original manual, in amazing condition. Even some of the tool kit is still in place under the passenger seat. Even found the original Sales History.
Original Sales Ledger from Grenville Motors -Chassis 36662032
Toot when first purchased in 1953
Original Owners Manual
'Toot' doing a hard days work
'Toot' .....really Cupid in disguise! Nicki ....how could she not fall in love with Peter in a car like 'Toot'!
Working the farm- Nicki and her dad, Guy Hunt.
Toot to the rescue!
Toot at the clearing sale in 2007, passed in for not reaching $1000! ...... very lucky for us!!
When we picked up Toot in October 2021
Peter and Nicki on the day we picked up'Toot'
All loaded up....
...and ready to go!
Toot at Land Rover Heaven