A distant cousin to Jeep
At one time the name Land Rover meant luxurious automobiles and the folks in England just loved them. But then came along World War II and all manufacturing shifted to supporting the war. When it ended, the rebuilding efforts did not include passenger cars, they called on tough 4×4 vehicles that could help out. This week’s car spot, a 1969 Land Rover Series 2A was a big part of that. The LR was part of the Cars and Guitars Event held this past June in Green Bay and hosted by the Automotive Gallery. A great place BTW. My friend Darrel Burnett runs it so say HI for me.
Inventor Maurice Wilks wasn’t even close to working on something like that. He had spent part of the war years working in top secret on a jet engine and had developed a gas turbine that had potential for use in passenger and commercial vehicles. But that’s not the country needed and faced with working on a a turbine, which could of been pretty cool, or closing up shop, shifted to satisfy the government’s demands for utilitarian practical vehicles which could be exported in quantity.
Having nothing like that and running around his farm in a MB Jeep, he used that vehicle as a template. Then came the Series I Land Rover which featured the ruggedness that were essential for a military vehicle and an expedition vehicle. One that was used in the African bush and the Australian outback, places where a vehicle failure could put the occupants in danger of their lives. Why this is such a British thing is beyond me.
This Series II is the vehicle’s evolution and was made in 88″ SWB (Short Wheelbase) and 109″ LWB (Long Wheelbase versions). The early examples of the Short Wheelbase came with the same 2 liter four cylinder engine as the Series I until the stock of those engines ran out in the summer of 1958. After that the new 2.25 liter four cylinder OHV engine was fitted, and all Long Wheelbase 109″ Series II were fitted with that engine from the beginning of production.
Even though I’m a Jeep guy I love the ruggedness of this Rover and the attitude the owner has with all the graphics. They could go off-roading with me anytime. These were the 4X4’s that people actually took off road unlike to ones made now. After all, who’s going to take a 100K plus vehicle off-roading? Dependability is also an issue, it sucks, but hey, you’re driving a Land Rover, right? Just like the celebs.
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One in decent shape is a solid investment with prices trending up. I found several for sale from as low as $28,000 all the way up to near $50,000.
Be sure to check back next Friday for another one of my car spots along with a little bit of history. Have a great weekend.