If you're friends with Expedition Portal on Facebook, yesterday you got a sneak peak of our newest project vehicle. A 1971 Land Rover Series IIA 109.
Somewhere along the line, the differential housing was painted red, this will be fixed.
The Series Land Rover is genuinely one of the most iconic overland vehicles ever produced. In my opinion, of all the variants of the Series that were produced, the 109 reigns supreme for overland use. It's longer wheelbase yields a more comfortable ride, and allows for more cargo capacity, for an extended trip, the 88 just wouldn't have enough room for me without relying on a roof rack. The 1971 Model year represented the last year for the SIIA, and some say, the most well sorted. It was replaced in 1972 with the SIII; both models have their advantages. The SIIA is the most common and also to some considered to be the most robust. There are some parts I'm told are desirable to take from a SIII and transplant to a SIIA.
Pith Helmets are optional - Smiles are mandatory. I'm torn between removing the decals, and leaving them. People seem to think they're cool.
I'll be honest with everyone - I am not, nor am I pretending to be an expert on the mechanics of vintage Land Rovers. I appreciate the simplicity of the design and the mechanics. It's comforting to me to know there's no computer I need to depend on to start this vehicle; I can even crank start it if need be! I'm hoping over the build of this vehicle I'll be able to work with the community to do the right upgrades and replacements to make this a great vintage overlander.
I bought this particular specimen based on some solid advice I got from forum members, here's what they told me to look for:
- Solid Frame - Check,
- No Excessive Bulkhead Rust - Check, it's mint.
- Overdrive - Check, it came with a Fairey Unit.
This vehicle also has the Safari top, which will be much appreciated in Arizona
This isn't going to be a zombie apocalypse vehicle - I've already done that. I'm attempting to build a clean, reliable vintage overland vehicle. I'm not building a period correct Series - a lot of technology has changed since this vehicle has been build, if I can improve the vehicle, I'm going to. For example, I can fit a modern alternator to create more power for on board accessories and gear reduction starter for those cold mornings. I'm also looking into ways to install sound deadening to help with NVH
Stage One - The Baseline
This is a 41 year old vehicle. Fact.
Even though Land Rover claims that over 70% of it's vehicles are still on the road; I don't want to be part of the other majority. This truck has some great things going for it, It has a recently rebuilt engine that pulls strong, a new fuel pump, and a tuned carburetor. This morning it started without hesitation in freezing temperatures, more easily than some newer vehicles that I now. It has already been fitted with OME parabolic springs and OME shocks in the rear. That being said, it also has some things that aren't going for it - It needs a new brake servo, the rear differential is whining - and some of the interior parts have seen their share of better days. It has some small wiring issues that need to be taken care of, the fuel gauge isn't functioning and neither are the turn signals.
Preventative maintenance is key with a Land Rover so I'm all ears to what everyone thinks should be replaced to create a reliable vehicle.
Stage Two - Modifications
I'd like to build a clean interior storage system that still fits the original lines of the interior. It would be a bonus if it would double as a sleeping platform.
The plan isn't to lift the vehicle any higher than it sits stock; 215/85/16 tires will be fitted.
The factory axles are a weak point, I'm trying figure out if it makes more sense to swap a Salisbury rear end, or to upgrade the differential to a 24 spline with HD Shafts. Either way, an ARB differential will be fitted to the rear to aid with traction.
Stage Three - Overlanding!
Use the vehicle! We're going to be planning a big trip in the vehicle.