Category Archives: Land Rover

A Land Rover Runs Through It

The A3 tunnel has now opened as part of the new Hindhead bypass. SEE HERE FOR DETAILS.

Alex wanted to drive through it after seeing it on the news, so we took the Land Rover for a trip under The Devil’s Punchbowl.

The tunnel is the longest road tunnel in the UK (at present) to not pass under water. It’s a pretty neat bit of engineering, and has a few facts (interest levels dependant on if you like tunnels….)

  • 963,959 cubic yards of earth was excavated during the tunnel’s construction
  • The fuel consumption rate of the excavators was 528 gallons of low-sulphur diesel per day
  • Digging the tunnel took 290,875 man-hours
  • 378,599 cubic yards of concrete were made
  • 1,399,034 man-hours were worked without an accident
  • The tunnel contains 156 miles of cable
  • The tunnel lights are twice as bright as the ones at the Old Trafford stadium
  • The tunnel has 104 CCTV cameras
  • The fire main tank can hold 8,358 gallons of water
  • 4,322 people worked on the project

(Info from Wiki page)

 


On Roading…

People ask: “Is it really that bumpy & noisy in an old Land Rover on the road..?“…

This is our 88” Series 3 on well maintained roads & a dual carriageway (at a break neck 45mph)… and some speed-bumps… Let’s face it, they weren’t made for comfort… as I already explained HERE…


Mahāyāna

In 3 weeks our 1977 Series 3 88″ Land Rover has already given us some fun and surprises.

Chris calls ‘him‘ “Frank“… and it’s pretty much stuck, although I am adding “Mahāyāna” to that… It is Buddhist for “The Great Vehicle“…. I’m almost certain it wasn’t intended for a Land Rover, but what with reincarnation you can never be too sure…

New 7.5x16's fitted

At 5,000 miles on the clock, it must be one of the lowest mileage non-museum/non-showroom condition S3’s out there.

Land Rover UK gave us tickets to Goodwood Festival of Speed after I posted a few pictures up on their web site just days before the show, where we were then allowed into the owners area at the show – (now that we were owners…)

Alex at GW Festival of Speed

We have recovered a couple of vehicles stuck in sand at the beach (right place, right time). We rescued a Merc CLK & took over rescuing a VW Polo from a BMW 5 series that just span its wheels trying to tow the Polo.

Mahāyāna with a lesser vehicle...

All this happened within two parking space widths from where we’d parked. Fantastic! After the first rescue (which was so effortless!) I admit that I felt Frank could do anything. When we got back after paddling & castle making on the beach we saw the BMW hitching up to the VW… Still feeling pysched from earlier, as I walked past the VW & BMW drivers getting ready to try their first attempt, I said “I’ll be over by that old Land Rover when you need me….”~ How damned cocky was I!!! I blame Frank entirely!

Land Rover UK also  featured ‘Frank’ in their weekly web magazine. I didn’t realise until I received an email from WordPress saying that our blog had been linked to!

Little bits of work are being done to make Frank a bit more ‘daily drive’ practical, whilst trying not to move too far away from the original vehicle. Older Land Rovers aren’t the fastest, most economical or comfortable beasts, but they have a lot going for them – as I mentioned HERE.

Inertia 3 point harness

Frank now has new 7.5x16r tyres fitted (as originally intended) and has an Ashcroft high ratio conversion waiting to be fitted. Alex has a 3 point inertia harness fitted for his safety, and new Wipac halogen headlamps have replaced the original sealed beam units, as we like to see where we are going… Also, the Wipac units mean if a bulb blows, we can get one from a petrol station (you trying buying a sealed beam unit from a petrol station!).

WIPAC versus SEALED BEAM

The rear rubber matting was falling apart, so another job I carried out was to use some old wood effect linoleum… It didn’t turn out too bad! Kitchen floor reincarnation as  Mahāyāna’s rear floor cover!

Woody!

One of the next jobs is to fit an Ashcroft high ratio transfer case to take some load off of the engine and allow the great vehicle to cruise at 50mph without revving it’s nuts literally off. There is potential that a few more miles to the gallon could be achieved too – and that wouldn’t go amiss! Mind you, a Land Rover isn’t exactly the first choice for comfort, speed and economy! With this mod though, we can keep the original engine (we want to keep as much original looking as possible).

On the list of other things to do: Seal the chassis, get new seats (the previous owner had a dog…), restore the dented wings and repaint in the original colours. This all depends on money though – Funds are tight and all of these extra’s don’t really effect the running of Frank, so are low priority ‘niceties’.

Mind you, if anyone has any freebies going, then that’s a different matter! I’ll quite happily advertise you on this blog (and my other web presences) if you have anything to offer! (Hey… it can’t hurt to ask!). Frank will be going to a lot of Goodwood shows and eventually do the rounds of other shows and events, so companies willing to part with bits will be promoted and mentioned where ever we go. After all, one good turn deserves another.

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The Joy of Old Land Rover Ownership

The older Land Rovers (leading up to the Defenders) are pretty much covered tractors with extra seating.

They were never intended as motorway cruising town cars. They were meant as work horses – and they do that well.

This leads to a few eye openers for those who do not know what to expect when they first get in an old Landy.

Take ours for example – a short wheel base (88″) Series III 2.25l petrol engined tank from 1977 – or ‘Frank‘ as Chris calls ‘him’….. or ‘The 88‘ as Alex calls ‘him’. (I use either…..). MEET FRANK

Some FRANK stats……

Driver comfort:

Square of foam for a cushion, with another one for a back rest…. some ‘posher’ models have the block of foam shaped slightly.

Air filled tyres.

Big letter box sized holes under the windscreen for cold air (and anything else that goes in them).

Engine for hot air (constant).

Passenger comfort:

Same as the driver – less a steering wheel to hold onto for reassurance.

Driving aids:

Steering wheel (big, as there is no power steering).  Clutch, a brake and a throttle.

There are indicators, but no hazard lights or reverse lights.

Mirrors. These give an idea of things around you… The vibration doesn’t really help with identifying what the things are though.

Gear stick. Ah, yes…. there are several of these. Where it lacks in other areas, it makes up for in the number of selector levers.

Stereo…. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!! Sure! Fit one, but you’re not going to hear the damned thing over the road noise and the engine and transmission howl!!!

Safety:

Frank has two normal (modern) belts for the driver and left hand passenger. The middle passenger gets a lap belt.

Rear passengers (4 people) get two shiny bench seats – No belts. Plenty of room to tuck and roll though…

That being said, the Landy is built on a massive girder chassis. If you do crash into someone, you probably won’t know it until you get home and spot their poxy Saxo boy racer embedded on the bumper…

I had a very early Range Rover that had the same type of chassis. A Ford Ka managed to write itself off on my Range Rover… whilst the Range Rover was parked and stationary…. The Ka hit my front bumper whilst reversing far too quickly out of a parking space. My Rangey didn’t suffer a scratch.

Performance:

0-60mph:  Ha ha ha…. really? 60mph? What’s a 60mph?

Braking: Eventual. Plan ahead.

Fuel Economy: 20mpg is possible….

From the Highway Code:

(Obviously not intended for drivers of old Land Rovers…)

1st gear – for speeds between 0 and 10mph
2nd gear – for speeds between 10 and 20mph
3rd gear – for speeds between 20 and 30mph
4th gear – for speeds between 30 and 40mph
5th gear – for speeds over 40mph

Reality:

1st gear – for speeds between 0 and 5mph
2nd gear – for speeds between 2 and 10mph
3rd gear – for speeds between 10 and 20mph
4th gear – for speeds between 20 and 45mph
Ear defenders & brave pills – for speeds over 45mph

Cost of running:

Spares are dirt cheap. I mean pocket money cheap for most of the stuff you require. It’s a giant Meccano kit and dead simple to work with (mostly).

Ignore the miles per gallon, as the smiles per gallon make up for it.

To improve of speed (and a little economy) there are various options you can go for, such as overdrives, bigger tyres, better engine, gearbox modifications – but it’s an old Land Rover, so I never expected 60mpg and precision handling! The overdrive or gearbox modifications can help with cruising speed though as you can safely sit at 60mph without over-stressing a good engine.

So…..

It doesn’t have whistles and bells (it does have a proper loud honking horn). Its all terrain capability comes from the driver knowing how to use the tools provided. It is geared for two wheel drive in high ratio (road use)  and has a high and low ratio four wheel drive – and if used correctly it’ll get you out of anything.

More modern 4×4’s (like the ones you see on school runs) rely more on computers than driving skills, which explains why you see more and more 4×4’s NOT GOING ANYWHERE in the snow, because people THINK the car can do it all itself. It can’t! You have to know what you are doing and how to use it! Most modern 4×4’s are just wasted on clueless numpty posers who think the car can go anywhere…. and up up getting stuck when their skill runs out.

The main question with any car is; “What do you need?” – A Land Rover makes a useless boy racer car, a Ferrari makes a useless family car, a Clio makes a useless utility car, and a Nissan LEAF makes a useless long range sports car…. You have to buy for what your needs are – and you have to weigh up what your needs are before you start to criticize what any particular vehicle can do…

The old Land Rovers were built to cross huge distances with really simple maintenance… If anything went wrong, the damned things could still limp home with engines rattling and gear boxes hanging off…..

For us though, Frank leaves a huge grin on our faces. It’s a simple, rugged vehicle that came up at a good price at the right time. Frank is perfect for Chris and her work with horses, where she needs a 24 hour a day, 7 days a week, rain, sun, snow and ice capable vehicle that can take the knocks without any concerns  about getting stuck somewhere, and that the dent you just put in the wing won’t write the car off due to the insurance expense of fixing it… (you can fit a new front wing to Frank for under £30…..).

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Out of puff…

I was going to take ‘Frank’ to work tomorrow…. Pretty long haul for one of my first proper road trips in the old fella…. Carried out all the checks tonight to make sure I was good to go. Filled the tank & seized the filler cap so it wouldn’t seal… Half an hour later with no tools (yet…) I fixed it.

Then went to do the tyre pressures. Oops… These must be the original tyres, what with Frank having only clocked 4300 miles. They are cracked a little… and after a valiant 20 minutes on the foot pump (the forecourt pump just wouldn’t touch it), I had the spare up to 28PSI…. but it was leaking like an M15 document being looked after by Sony….

Photo

So…. I’m not risking over 100 miles of round trip on four geriatric tyres and no spare. Next stop the Internet… Let’s see what I can get for Frank to wear…

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Frank 88

Chris has needed a 4×4 for some time now. Her work with horses means she has some pretty rough terrain to deal with, and she needs to be mobile in all weather. We ideally wanted a Land Rover, but they cost a lot for a good one (because they are the top dogs at what they do), so we were looking at various cheaper alternatives.

You don’t need a fancy 4×4 – In fact the modern 4×4’s are not that great, as they try to do the thinking for you, and that is generally meaning that the owners rely on the car and not their own skill. I don’t give a rats arse how capable a car is, because it is only as capable AS THE DRIVER…. and last year Chris was driving her old Ford Fiesta around some pretty fancy 4×4 hardware that were stuck in the snow, with brainless drivers not knowing what to do…. (Much like I’ve seen in the past).

Mid last week Chris went to pick up some chicken feed from a farm shop and saw an old classic Landy sat outside. She took a look over it, pretty much to see what they are like (she’s not really had a lot to do with Landys).  It didn’t have any sale signs on it, and Chris was purely looking out of interest.

Whilst she was looking over it, the owner came over and explained that the vehicle had come with the farm when they took it over, when the previous owner couldn’t keep the farm going and had to sell up.

The Land Rover was then just used up and down the farm. Chris hadn’t mentioned about buying it….. but the owner carried on and said he didn’t really want to sell it, but they hardly used it, saw no reason to really keep it, just kept MOT’ing it each year for no real reason or need… so said they’d sell to Chris for £1,800…

Chris came home and excitedly told me what she had found. From the few things she told me it sounded quite a good deal, so I suggested she ask one of our Land Rover experienced friends to take a look. When I say experienced, I mean ‘proper knows his stuff‘…

So he went to the farm with Chris… He said it was the second cleanest original Series Landy he had seen… The chassis is absolutely solid, the body work is in great shape (a few bumps, but it lived on a farm), good engine, interior dusty, with some torn seats (probably from a dog)…. but in general, incredibly clean, sorted and…… 4,300 genuine miles…. He was pretty excited at Chris’s find too….

It was a no-brainer… a deposit was paid, money was scraped together and Frank (as Chris named ‘him’) came home…

Other people in the know have since seen Frank and they can’t believe how lucky we were! This is one of those ‘found in a barnyard’ stories you see sometimes on the news or internet…. but you never think you’ll be that lucky….

So, how much of a deal had Chris spotted? FRANK is an 88″ Series III 1977 Land Rover. 2.25l petrol engine.

Popular web car sales sites came up with the following:

For £1,800 you can buy a similar aged Land Rover  that’s good for spares, no tax or MOT… non-runner… (looked a total wreck).

To buy one in similar condition to Frank, the nearest I found had 65,000 miles on the clock and was considered in ‘fair condition’… and was selling for £6,500…..

Within 24 hours of buying Frank, we have already been offered over twice what we paid… but Frank isn’t for sale!

Frank is the perfect vehicle for Chris – Just what we wanted. A simple old school 4×4 that she can use for work, that she can tinker with (she’s becoming pretty handy with the tools) , and that is hardy enough to deal with most situations. We never dreamt we could get a Series for this price (it was our ideal choice, but put way to the back of our minds)… and as such is in no way for sale!


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