In the September 2012 issue of the Sporting Shooter, the editor writes:
Not surprisingly, we often meet up with the folks at Browning to discuss new products and gun tests or get together at the major shooting shows around the UK. And every time we do, I end up with vehicle envy courtesy of the Browning Special Edition L200 that is in attendance. "You ought to see the rest of our fleet," said the man from Browning. "Don't mind if I do," said I.
Which is why we are gathered at Firs Garage in rural Oxfordshire. Established over 50 years ago, Firs claims to have over 500 years' combined motor trade experience in its team, so there's no doubt we are going to be looked after a knowledgeable bunch.
It's an impressive sight to behold - no less than five Browning Special Editions parked in a gleaming crescent of polished paint and glistening chrome.
The latest edition to the fleet is the Outlander Browning. Luxury spec interior includes sat-nav, reversing camera and hard-disk music server. The interior is treated to a makeover in rich, soft cream leather, logoed as on the other vehicles. The lower tailgate drops to reveal a set of hidden drawers and you can benefit from the Outlander's seven-seat capacity.
The Outlander is a great steer, these days, with a poky diesel engine, lovely supple ride and surprisingly taut and car-like road manners. It goes, turns and steers like a thoroughbred but has space for the family and plenty of off-road performance. Running costs, emissions and fuel economy are superior to the larger 4x4 offerings.
Firs has also equipped an Outlander with a full-length set of drawers, designed to fit over the lowered rear seats, effectively turning the machine into a highly secure commercial vehicle with a false floor - ideal for transporting guns and ammunition to events and shows.
The long wheelbase Shogun was the original Browning model and still looks ready for anything - whether powering up the outside lane of the motorway ot tackling muddy trails in pursuit of top-quality shooting sport. The exterior features privacy tint for upmarket looks and security, upgraded front sports grille and resin guard, and the unique Browning-styled wheels and rugged All Terrain tyres.
The crowning glory is a cased pair of Browning B525 Heritage hand-finished shotguns - surely the ultimate optional extra?
The tough and chunky L200 looks menacing on big alloys and heavy duty off-road rubber. This is the working tool of the team, and beneath the rear hard top there is a full set of security drawers to keep the valuables hidden from view.
Mind you, there is no reason why you have to opt for just the drawers. The white long wheelbase Shogun showcases yet more versatililty in the form of a dog crate on top of a slightly smaller drawer set. There is now not only space for a pair of guns and ammunition, three bottles of your chosen tipple and a full set of glasses, but also accommodation for the furry flushers and picker-uppers to boot!
And although you can opt for the Browning upgrades in commercial and pickup models, you aren't skimping on luxury. The soft leather is not only durable and easy to keep clean but has an upmarket feel the standard hide can't match. The alloy wheels are distinctive and enhance the 'stance' of all of these machines, whilst the discreet but distinctive branding is sure to get you noticed at the gun club or local shoot.
With the Outlander model completing the Browning holy trinity, you can now choose between a top-spec luxury SUV, a practical and durable pickup truck or the crossover competence of the Outlander.
Please see the Sporting Shooter, September 2012 issue, to read the 'Fantastic fleet' article in print & for some more photographs - we thank the editor for taking the time to visit the Firs and to feature our Mitsubishi Browning range.