Tintin Land Rover of Trenxcoatl #57 From The Land of the Picaros
While never outright stated, the Land Rover that Tintin, Haddock, and Professor Calculus drive to Hotuatabotl in order to see an ancient pyramid is likely a Series III model. Produced from 1971 to 1985, this model would have been selling in the timespan for Tintin and the Picaros. It was a popular model, selling 440,000 models in about fourteen years. Interestingly, the version in the comic is right hand drive, even though the truck was imported to the Americas.
While Hergé’s attention to detail in regards to cars remained as sharp as ever, the same was not said for Tintin and the Picaros. The book was considered one of Hergé’s weaker works, with critics often citing the passivity of Tintin and his companions, going along with events rather than initiating them, and a level of cynicism that could be found in the story. While similar to other Tintin stories, in that the antagonist is defeated, things aren’t neatly wrapped up like in other stories. Rather, it seems that, in the final panels, San Theodoros has merely exchanged one dictator for another. While many of Hergé’s early works were also political, Tintin and the Picaros seemed to be a pure criticism, rather than pushing some sort of agenda. One rather odd change was in Tintin’s clothes, with him discarding his iconic plus fours pants for a set of bell-bottoms instead.
Despite the criticism leveled at the book, Hergé’s attention to detail cannot be understated. It is evident, not just from the series III land rover, but the other vehicles as well, such as the Jolly Follies’ Jonckheere DAF coach SB 1602. The bus had an important role near the climax of the book, and it is that attention to detail that can be found in every Tintin story that ensures that it works.