Friend of Any Given Reason, Bryce, has caved and done what so many of us have come perilously close to doing over the past few years – he’s actually gone and bought one of those cheap Land Rover’s that look so appealing on Gumtree.
Really, how could you not? It’s only a lack of requisite space to house such a rouge that’s kept me from making the plunge myself, and I’m sure I’m not the only one in this position. I’m struggling to think of anything else that has such a stratospherically high coolness to cost ratio. I’ve heard stories of people spending more on a night on the town than this thing changed hands for.
It’s a 1963ish Land Rover Series 2A, manufactured in Birmingham and assembled in Australia as a knock-down kit. From what we can tell it served time with the CFS, which explains the partially removed red paintwork. To take a line from the world famous Horny Legends 4×4 Club, it’s a toey little bastard that will be as equally keen for the trails and beach as it is the coffee shop in its new life.
Sure you need to start it with alligator clips, but importantly it does start and indeed, drive. And it shares its lack of ignition barrel with some pretty impressive machinery – the famous Fiat Mephistopheles, the McLaren M8A and the Porsche 962. None of those machines had ignition barrels, either. The old Landie is in esteemed company.
Some fine automotive engineer somewhere along the line has installed an immortal Holden 179 red motor. Mock it you may, but the thing is damn near indestructible and even starts and runs pretty well in this state. It has no brakes but it’s got a working clutch and has drive in both directions, which is a lot more than we expected.
It’s a pretty big change of pace for Bryce whose other car is a 400+ kw XR6 Turbo ute. Before that he had an ’03 Subaru STI running antilag and E85, so the Landie will be a fair bit slower than either of them. But it’s a fair bit cooler, too.
And it was made in Birmingham in a factory that used to make Spitfire bombers during the war. Interestingly, the riveted corner panel shown here is identical in every way to the rear corner panel on the current 2015 model Land Rover Defenders.
Initial plans are to get it mechanically running and driving, and Bryce hopes to bring it to the Any Given Reason Burger Meet in a few weeks time (free plug – Sunday December 27 from 6pm, Penny’s Hill at McLaren Vale).
And from there, since the whole thing is bolted together over a ladder chassis the possibilities are endless. It’ll probably be kept pretty period with the Holden engine, although the roof is almost certainly coming off to allow the windscreen to fold down over a bonnet mounted spare wheel for enhanced summer off-roading.
Words and photos by Andrew Coles
Relevant Youtubing:Defender #HL4x4C #Land Rover #off-roading #Series 2A