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All Metal Dash Weekend 2016

Series Land Rovers are special for a lot of reasons, cherished for their rugged simplicity. And none more so than the earliest examples, the so-called “metal dash” models that were fitted with alloy gauge clusters mounted in the center of the bulkhead/firewall fascia. And for the last ten years or so, faithful disciples of old English metal (at least those within driving distance of Petersham, Massachusetts) have descended on Don Flye’s farm for the charmingly named All Metal Dash Weekend.

A three-day gathering of the most steadfast of Land Rover enthusiasts, the event is proving to be one of the more popular fall events, given the picturesque nature of its location in the undulating hills of western Massachusetts. Held from September 23-25 this year, it also helps that cooler early-fall temperatures allow a more pleasant drive for both vehicle and owner.

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This year’s Friday evening camaraderie segued into a chilly Saturday morning, with campers awaking to a dew-covered countryside. To no one’s surprise, many of the Land Rovers had to be coaxed into action by spraying engine electrics with liberal amounts of WD40. Their owners had it a little easier, swilling down copious amounts of warm rejuvenation thanks to Toltec Coffee and breakfast delicacies such as smoked salmon and off-the-bone ham with fresh bagels provided by J. White Automotive.

As the morning mist started to clear, the old Series vehicles were readied for a gentle “green lane” excursion. Drivers saddled up and were greeted with damp steering wheels as windscreen wiper motors groaned into action, travelling across windshields slowly enough that they could be mistaken as sun dials.

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Employing the safety-in-numbers philosophy, everyone made it back to the farm to enjoy further activities. For some that meant sifting through swap meet parts, while others were competing in novel trial events while balancing a pumpkin on the Land Rover’s hood. Others were content just hanging around the fire discussing future adventures.

Despite the fact Land Rover’s not making any new Series truck (well, not really), the All Metal Dash Weekend continues to gain popularity. It’s a wonderful way to spend time in the country with great enthusiasts and wonderful classic Land Rovers. In short, if you own (or yearn to own) a Series Land Rover, the Metal Dash should be on your bucket list. See you next year.

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