MY LANDROVER HISTORY

How does a person get so mad, being able to drive a nice luxury car and yet buy and drive an old, primitive, very slow, bumpy, noisy, drafty, leaking and much fuel consuming work horse??

My first car was an Audi 80 XLS, but being a Boy Scouts Master at that time, I looked for a car which could haul heavy camping and rigging equipment as well as Scouts to various activities and camps in the Netherlands, the Belgian Ardennes and the German Eiffel area.
I could not afford two cars, so I had to use it for driving to work each day as well.
I sold the Audi and bought a 12 year old Landrover 109 series III diesel from 1977, with a very noisy gearbox (jumping out of second gear) and overdrive, having severe rattling gear levers. After a year, driving for some time with double clutching, the gearbox was locking up and after having it revised the noise was a bit less.

Despite the old fashioned techniques used by Landrover and the primitive driving conditions, it never let me down wile traveling. There were some minor things as a defect voltage regulator in the generator, air leaking into the diesel fuel system and frozen fuel filters. However these minor things kept me sometimes working on the Landrover at night, to be able to appear on time on my work on the other day. Big repairs and maintenance were done by a garage.

Here as mobile equip during a Scouts & Ham Radio event called Jamboree On The Air.
Mounted on the imperial a directional antenna.
Here on gentle off road lanes. Here during a Scouts activity.
For Scout camps, we managed to load the Landrover very efficiently , the loading space behind the three front seats was loaded to the roof with heavy camping gear, then the long Brownchurch imperial was loaded with wooden poles and a layer of luggage, many times it was all together well over 1200 kg and despite having new heavy duty spring leave packages mounted, the rear axel bumping rubbers were touching the frame, yet the handling of the Landrover on the road was good, while making the journey to various camp sites. On the last stretches on unpaved roads and through mud pools, I was still able to drive 80km/h without any mechanical failure of the Landrover.

My group of Scouts was growing and we bought also a trailer to be towed by the Landrover, the result was a full throttle top speed of 45km/hour in third gear, while climbing the first steep climb into the Ardennes on the highway just passed the city Liege, while Audi's were passing by with speed exceeding 130km/hour.
This is in Luxemburg on an activity of the Amateur Radio Interested Scouts club (RIS). For amateur radio use a had made a quickly removable table, in this case fitted with some second world war military radio's. There was an other Radio-Scout and Landrover enthusiast on that weekend, driving an 88 series 2.


However, after 5 years driving 90km each day up and down to work with the Landrover, my work location changed and I had to drive 300km up and down to my work each day. Driving against stormy South-West winds, I had to leave the highway some times, because the Landrover did not reach the minimum highway speed of 70km/h. I wanted to do this a bit faster, so I sold the Landrover and drove some boring normal cars. For the activities with the Scouts I bought a small 4 wheel drive DAF army truck from 1958, but there was a lot of work to do before each camp, to keep this vehicle drivable.

The DAF type YA126 was a technically advanced vehicle for its time, to improve ground clearance, it had no axels with differentials, each wheel had a short axel, with a small gearbox mounted directly behind each wheel, each of these wheel/gearbox combinations was mounted on a swing arm with a torsion axel at the top and a shock absorber in between. From each wheel gearbox, there was a drive axel going to a central gearbox at each side of the car, from these side gearboxes driving axels were going to a central gearbox, which was coupled with a short driving axel to a high/low ratio gearbox and there was also a lever to engage 2 wheel drive or 4 wheel drive and high/low gear.

So it had 9 gearboxes, 7 driving axels and 4 wheel axels. There were two spare wheels mounted on a little axel on each side of the vehicle, these were positioned such, that these would touch the ground in stead of the frame, when the truck had to negotiate short hills, where other trucks got stuck, this one just rolled over.

Of course all these gearboxes started leaking, being ready repairing one gearbox packing or axel oil sealing ring, you had to start with an other, there were problems with unbalanced breaking turning the truck sideways on the road, bushes in the suspension system were worn out and difficult to replace. Suddenly there appeared a resonance point in the suspension system at about 85km/hour, sending the vehicle out of control dribbling over the road, shacking violently, cabin doors flying off. I could not solve the dribbling problem and was always lagging behind with maintenance, despite good help of a official DAF truck garage.
I had to be always with at least two persons to handle the heavy transmission parts and wheels.



After leaving the Scouts, I sold the nice but laborious army truck and after about 10 years of driving in boring cars, I was getting home sick to the Landrover.

Why, would you ask???? (a fraise from a famous television program). Well, the Landrover earned my respect as a strong workhorse, I lived through many nice adventures in that car, it had a special cozy driving atmosphere, it was a car with character, as they say.

So I bought a 2 year old Defender 110  300TDi, it felt much better driving this car, it was also a very good car and had some advantages over the old Series 3: the engine was strong and the car was quick enough to drive in busy Rotterdam traffic each day, as well as making short sprints, to advance over very slow lorry's on the highway, it could be driven with an average speed of 100km/hour on the counter (92 in real life), there was not much noise from the gearboxes and they did not leak oil. However it had some of the old and much appreciated features, such as leaking much water into the interior during heavy rain and draft through front and doors. I had to add 1 liter of motor oil only, in between the 10.000 km service intervals, if not driving faster than 100km/hour, driving faster, consumed much more motor oil.

As a mobile Amateur Radio Station during the Water Flood 1953 memorial. Holidays in Austria, I am a Radio Amateur, so in free time the Landrover is used as a mobile Radio Shack. Also in Austria, this is looking good, but with the Defender I did not get to any serious off-road work.
While traveling around during holidays, the radio equipment table was fitted wit a gas cooking set. Dunnet in North-East Scotland. Together with a small tent, the Landrover served as a combination of a radio shack and camper. At Glenn Nevis in Scotland, with the Defender, I spend holidays also in England, Luxemburg, Germany, Switzerland and Austria


However, it could not match the driving experience of the series III and although I did not have any engine or gearbox problems, it got very expensive in maintenance at the local official Landrover Experience Center, also Dutch taxes for private ownership were raised suddenly and very severely. After driving 200.000km in the Defender, I decided to get a boring but civilized car again to drive to my work, presenting also a better (non-hobby freak) business image at work and with clients. And have a Landrover 109 again, but now strictly as a hobby car.

So on the 27 th of May 2006, I bought a Landrover 109 series III, built in 1972, with a 4 cylinder petrol engine.
The fuel consumption appears to be a horrible 1:4!!
So mind you, you better buy a series III Diesel (1:9) if you can get one in acceptable condition.
However Liquid Gas (LPG) is also an option, the Landrover petrol engine will run on that as well, but will need a head with hardened valve seats, these "gas adapted heads" are available.

This Landrover was exported to France, exported to Mauritania, had a mysterious working life over there and was imported from North Africa to The Netherlands in 2003, had a Dutch owner for about 2 years and was sold to a car dealer, who sold it to me.
Since in North Africa rust is not such a problem, the ladder frame seemed in good condition, it had surface rust and some body coating, partly sprayed over the rust. However it still needs a lot of work, to conserve this state.
The engine was sounding OK and had good pull. The gearbox sounded OK, did not jump out of the gears, when suddenly taking the driving power off, also clutch and gear changing worked normal.

Good looking !!!! (at first sight). The nice Landrover like color is only one quickly rolled layer just on the very surface parts of the car. On some places there is an unexpected white part. And on the underside there are body parts missing. On the front there is a body part missing, because once there was a winch mounted..
So this was the kind of Landrover I looked for (although the price was quite high), because I did not want a long and severe restoration project  (for which I had no space either).
I wanted a drivable Landrover, to enjoy immediately and do some patching-up work in-between.
As follows, I am describing my "some patching-up work" experience with the Landrover for learning and fun purposes for other classic Landrover owners and laughing bystanders.
The back looks OK, however the Landrover is standing a bit low, the height from ground to roof is only 197cm and should be 203cm. Does anyone know, what winch was fitted on this bumper. Or what modern winch will fit on this bumper?? The dashboard, in the hole in the middle should be a reset button, for the day counter, I think.

Movie of a short drive in my neighborhood

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This page was last updated on 26-nov-2012