Midland motoring legend Roger Crathorne – the man affectionately known as Mr Land Rover – has reached the end of the road after more than 50 years.
Roger, who has rubbed shoulders with royalty, celebrity customers, senior military figures and journalists from all over the world during a remarkable career, has retired after over five decades with the 4x4 manufacturer.
The 66-year-old left Lode Lane as an employee for the final time on Friday after a remarkable stint which began in 1963 as an apprentice at the Solihull factory.
He was born in 1947 in Lode Lane – less than a mile from the spot where the idea for the first Land Rover was hatched.
After spending 15 years in engineering, and being closely involved in the development of the first Range Rover, Roger’s reputation as an off-road expert came to the fore in 1978 when he became head of the company’s vehicle demonstration team.
The team went on to become Land Rover Experience, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. Shortly after he began working with the media on press events, Roger took a role within the global PR team. Most recently, he has been Land Rover’s Heritage, Enthusiast and Technical PR Manager. His memoir, Born in Lode Lane, was published in 2008.
He said: “I have worked on some great projects in product development, marketing and PR. I have visited some fascinating places with some great people and many have become good friends.
“I thank everyone for their great support, friendship and camaraderie, and I will be taking away some wonderful memories. In my new life, I will be taking the ignition key of my old Land Rover off the hook and re-educating myself with choke pulls and double de-clutching.”
Ralf Speth, chief executive of Jaguar Land Rover, said: “Roger has been instrumental in the development and promotion of Land Rover’s breadth of capabilities for over half a century.”