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  •   Jerry Thurston reacted to this post about 2 years ago
    CAR: #Land-Rover-Series-II / #Land-Rover

    Run by Martin Port
    Owned since Sept 2016
    Total mileage 28,031
    Miles since February
    report 609
    Latest costs nil


    Forget dreaming of a white Christmas – a white anytime through November to March will do me, although I will admit that it doesn’t quite roll off the tongue with the same ease as Crosby’s seasonal hit. The point is, though: I own a Land- Rover, live in the UK and therefore am well-versed in the annual disappointment when it comes to having a bona fide reason to select four-wheel drive or low range.

    Predictably, it happened yet again just before Santa donned his wellies and broke into the houses of millions, but this time there was actually a decent amount of snow… just not where I live. In fact, if I’d travelled three miles in any direction, I could have gone and made a snowman but I just sulked and avoided social media featuring the endless pictures of Solihull’s finest having limitless fun. Instead, I turned back to when my Series II arrived in London to a harsh winter in February ’1963. One photo shows two chilly-looking chaps standing by the Land-Rover near the junction of Kempsford Gardens and Warwick Road, around the corner from Earls Court – various other vehicles of the period are languishing on the snow-covered streets.

    And then it happened. I pulled back the curtains one morning at the start of January to find a snowy blanket – well, a slightly slushy white sheet at least, and one that was already threatening to disappear.
    There was nothing else for it: grab the keys to the Series II and find an excuse to go for a drive, and it was a good job that I did – 40 minutes later the temperatures rose, the rain fell and the snow had turned to localised flooding instead. Fortunately, all is not lost: an item on the news announced that, because of the sun’s cycles, there is a chance that we will experience a mini ice-age. Admittedly, it could be within the next three decades, but I reckon that’s enough time to prepare and by then I’ll be about 75 years old so will have plenty of spare time to enjoy it!

    On the flipside of the weather coin, it was a beautiful day that greeted the Land-Rover when I took a trip to Wiltshire to collect a complete run of Classic & Sports Car from a reader who was downsizing his collection. He had a lovely Jaguar XK120 project nearing completion – its Suede Green paintwork looked stunning in the winter sun. With the Series II full to the brim of magazines in the rear tub, there were a few ‘interesting’ moments on the return journey – thanks to the lightened front end – but, as I drove past Littlecote House near Hungerford on the way back, I took advantage of the nice weather to revisit the past.

    As regular readers will know, the Series II’s first owner, Philip Kohler, worked in the film industry as a location manager around the world. One effort that was closer to home was The Four Feathers – a 1977 drama featuring Beau Bridges, Jane Seymour and Robert Powell. As well as Hampshire and Almería in Spain, one of the main settings was Littlecote House and left in the back of the Land-Rover was a board informing the public that it would be closed due to the filming. The Series II was still in regular use by Philip well into the 1970s, so it’s extremely likely that this wasn’t the first time it had been to Littlecote House. As I drove away, one older employee on the estate looked on with a big smile and announced in a Wiltshire drawl: “That’s proper motorin’ that is!”

    One of the best things about owning the Landie is undoubtedly the same as with most other classics – the reaction that it gets – and a difficult return to work after the Christmas break was brightened up when an envelope arrived on my desk during the first day back.

    One kind reader by the name of Phillip Smart had decided that I should have his period ‘MW’ Malawi AA decal – just in case I ever decided to add that to the list of locations visited by the Series II. It was a generous thought and – who knows? – maybe one day I will legitimately be sticking it to the back of the Land-Rover above the NR and EAK plates. Thanks, Phillip.

    The snow eventually arrived in West Berkshire, but not as much as when Philip Kohler returned to the UK in 1963 (left).

    Littlecote House near Hungerford was used as the location for the filming of The Four Feathers in 1977.
    Filming board was found in the Series II MW plate to go with earlier EAK and NR
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  •   Martin Buckley reacted to this post about 3 years ago
    CAR #Land-Rover-Series-IIA / #Land-Rover-Series-II / #Land-Rover

    Run by Martin Port
    Owned since May 2013
    Total mileage 46,305
    Miles since April
    report 1407
    Latest costs £5


    I’ve now been driving my Landie around with its Fairey overdrive installed for a few months. And, although I am considering having my hearing checked just to be sure that the increase in noise levels isn’t doing any lasting damage, I am still happy with my new addition.

    Has it quietened down as the gears get to know each other? Not really, but the occasional wintry snaps have brought about a bonus. The colder, thicker oil in the overdrive and transfer boxes does at least reduce the whine for a while at the start of each commute.

    The more relaxed cruising is extremely welcome on the motorway, and knocking it out into direct top makes you wince because it feels as if you are pushing the drivetrain even more than it used to. It certainly seems as if it will need a rebuild at some point – just as an attempt to reduce the noise to an acceptable level should I have passengers or family in the car – but that will be a job for another day.

    In the meantime, I was treated to a diversion when the ignition light began glowing one morning. It only started when I had the lights, heater and wipers on, but I decided to kick off investigations by putting a meter across the battery. All looked okay there and, to be honest, so did the readings from the alternator, but I chucked on my brand new spare to at least eradicate that as a possible cause.

    There was no noticeable change and I recalled that I’d recently had a couple of issues with the headlamp switch. Turning on the lights would sometimes result in the ignition cutting out – a gentle wiggle resuming normal service – but it was enough of a coincidence to presume that there could be a connection.

    Taking out the switch, dosing the back with WD40 and cleaning the contacts improved things significantly, but there’s still a glimmer when you switch on more ancilliaries. That said, my initial panic has been tempered by the fact that the IIA still starts on the button, with no drop in cranking power, and the lighter mornings mean that I no longer notice the glow!

    Fellow Land-Rover owner and designer Matt Purdon kindly dug out an ageing spare that I intend to clean up and use to prove the idea. But, hey, I’ve got the whole of the summer to sort that… haven’t I?

    Out and about in West Berkshire – with spring just around the corner.

    New alternator ruled out a charging fault. Spare switch will test theory of resistance.
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  •   Martin Buckley reacted to this post about 3 years ago
    Car #Land-Rover-Series-II / #Land-Rover

    Run by Martin Port
    Owned since Sept 2016
    Total mileage 22,427
    Miles since acquisition four
    Latest costs £264

    Good things apparently come to those who wait, and who am I to argue? About 18 months ago, I spotted a forum post asking for advice about an old Land-Rover with an interesting history and hastily made enquiries – initially in a professional capacity so that I could secure the story. Quickly, though, I became obsessed with the Series II and its past, and for good reason.

    In the late 1950s, a young Australian named Philip Kohler was working in Northern Rhodesia. When his contract ended, he decided that he wanted to come back to the UK, but rather than just hop on a plane he opted to buy a new 88in Land-Rover and drive.

    The journey took him three years as he crossed the continent – a route that he decided should be plotted on the sides of the hardtop.

    The tub wore large letters identifying it as the ‘Trans-Africa’ Land-Rover, beneath which was painted a simple phrase: Haraka haraka haina mbaraka, which, loosely translated, is a Swahili proverb meaning ‘Haste haste has no blessings’ – apt for a Land-Rover intent on crossing the Sahara!

    Kohler’s journey introduced him to a new vocation. While in Arusha in Tanzania, he discovered that a film company was in the area and decided to try to get work. So he turned up at 5am each day, and was eventually employed by the director – namely Howard Hawks, the man behind such films as The Big Sleep with Bogart and Bacall and the epic Rio Bravo starring John Wayne.

    Hawks was filming Hatari! with Wayne when Kohler came across the unit in 1962, and there he found four months’ employment before continuing his journey and securing more film work. This time it was on The Lion with William Holden, better known for his roles in The Bridge on the River Kwai, The Wild Bunch and The Towering Inferno.

    Kohler eventually arrived in the UK in ’1963 and continued in the film industry as a location manager on films such as The Empire Strikes Back, The Killing Fields, Full Metal Jacket, GoldenEye and Octopussy – the Land-Rover remaining his faithful transport for many years.

    He sadly passed away in 2015, shortly before I first saw his Series II where it had been sitting, undisturbed, outside the family home for 18 years. After writing the initial article and discussing the best options for preserving the Landie’s history with Mary, his partner of 53 years, I filed it in the mental archives. I was convinced that it would be snapped up by the highest bidder at some point because there was no shortage of interest.

    Eighteen months on, though, the 1959 Series II is residing in Berkshire – the keys in my pocket thanks to Philip’s family. The decision to sell the house in White City meant that the Land-Rover finally had to go to a new home and, fortuitously for me, they decided that I should be given the opportunity to secure its future. A deal was done, based not necessarily on value but on what I could raise and there was almost no chance of me saying no, having coveted the SII since I first clapped eyes on it. With a frenzied flurry of activity – in which I’m ashamed to say that ‘real life’ went to the back of my mind – money was transferred, a trailer borrowed, and help enlisted. Six days after the email landed, Greg MacLeman and I were in Shepherd’s Bush, pondering how to extricate the aged vehicle.

    The rescue mission drew quite a crowd: the Land-Rover was a wellloved local landmark and plenty of people stopped to take photographs, share their memories and lend a helping hand. After three hours, it was on the trailer, and my IIA did a fantastic job of towing it back to Berkshire. Initial thoughts of getting the Landie straight into the garage were tempered by burst tubes and seized brakes, so I begged for a spot at Classic Jaguar Replicas’ workshop from Oli Cottrell until I could get it to a rolling state.

    My first call was to Longstone Tyres to see if it had anything that might suffice in the short-term that wasn’t going to eat too far into my non-existent budget. A set of 600 x 16 ‘bar grip’ crossplies arrived the next day and my local tyre fitters got busy. That meant we could at least push the Series II around and think about the hydraulics, but not before we’d had a look at the engine – just to satisfy our curiosity, of course!

    After establishing that the motor held water and oil, we disconnected the line from the tank and dropped it into a jerrycan before priming the fuel system with the pump lever.

    I dragged a bit of emery paper between the contact points and then turned the engine over on the starting handle before connecting a battery and spinning it on the starter. Within seconds, the 2286cc petrol unit burst into life and settled to a smooth idle as both Oli and I whooped in celebration!

    That wasn’t bad after 18 years of inactivity, but then came news that C&SC’s top brass had suggested – to tie in with the Heroes theme – that the Landie star on our stand at the Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show – barely a couple of weeks off. So we had a fair amount to do to avoid a lot of pushing and winching.

    THANKS TO / Philip Kohler’s family / Greg MacLeman / Oli Cottrell at Classic Jaguar / Replicas: / Longstone Tyres: 01302 714072;

    Philip Kohler realised his ambition to drive solo across the Sahara Desert in the Series II. Inset: a front garden in Shepherd’s Bush had been its home for the past 18 years.

    Kohler with Mt Kilimanjaro in the distance. Complete route is painted on the hardtop. Double Landie equipe leaves White City. Trunks and contents left from African trip. Journey went from Cape Town to London. ‘Bar grips’ turned it into a rolling project. Kohler changing a wheel in the desert heat. How did it get to the NEC? See next month.
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  •   Martin reacted to this post about 4 years ago
    / #Land-Rover-SIIA / #Land-Rover-SII / #Land-Rover /
    Run by Tim Bulley
    Owned since March 2012
    Total mileage 40,354
    Miles since May 2015 report 704
    Latest costs £126

    The Landie was a reliable friend over the winter and early spring, regularly undertaking trips to collect logs for the fire, or ferrying the family and our new puppy Bramble to remote spots for a good walk. It even sailed through the MoT test with no advisories, apart from the obligatory oil leak.

    In March, I had a great run down to Goodwood for the Members’ Meeting with a car full of mates. Parked up on Lavant Bank, we watched the great and the good out on the circuit while enjoying a picnic and hot tea in the chilly spring sunshine. All very pleasant.

    The following weekend, I piled the family into the Land-Rover to drive to a pub for dinner. When we were ready to return home, however, she wouldn’t start. It was completely out of the blue, because the journey there had been fine.

    The Landie was turning over okay, but I tried the Power Start booster pack that I keep in the back for this kind of emergency. I also checked the HT leads and eventually tried filling her with fuel from a jerrycan, at which point she started.

    The SIIA got us home without any further issues but I was suspicious. On return from Goodwood I had filled her up, so I knew that the petrol tank wasn’t empty. There was no evidence of a leak, and it would have been immediately obvious if I’d put in diesel by mistake.

    The following weekend, SVR wouldn’t fire. I tried filling up the fuel again, but nothing. I took off the HT leads, gave them and the inside of the distributor cap a wipe with WD40and she burst into life. Problem solved, I thought, and set off to give her a run. Three miles up the road, though, she misfired and, as I pulled off into the village school car park, the engine died. Over the next half hour I got nothing from her, so called my mate Andrew Cameron.

    Although en route to get his hair cut, he kindly came to the rescue. Andrew’s been around old cars all his life, and suggested that the problem was probably the coil. He offered me a lift home so that I could pick up my Discovery and a tow rope. Before setting off, I gave my Land-Rovering mate Jono Lye a call to see if he was around to help with the tow. Jono is an engineer and owns a Series II that he rebuilt himself (I’m lucky to have some very handy mates). Always happy to diagnose a Land-Rover worry, he quickly agreed to lend a hand and dug out the old coil from his SII, suggesting that we give it a try.

    We set off to the car park, where Jono gave SVR a good inspection. The fuel pump was working and the leads were fine. Then a passing villager came to offer support, saying that he’d also owned a Series II (Surrey Hills is full of them). He suggested that we measure the current going in and out of the coil, and went off to find a voltmeter.

    Sure enough, there was 12V going in, but only 6V coming out. SVR has electronic ignition and I didn’t know whether a standard coil would work with it. Jono thought that it should, so we tried his unit but it gave the same reading. By this time, Andrew (with his new haircut) had returned with another coil. Still no joy, though, so we got out the ropes and called in the Disco.

    I posted a couple of pictures of the recovery on Facebook, which got the attention of the Landie’s previous owner, C&SC art editor Martin Port. He sent a message to say that he’d fitted the electronic ignition and that it was a ballastresisted circuit, suggesting that the resistor might be at fault as well as the coil. He sent me a link for an AccuSpark set-up and the next day I trailed around the few autofactors that were open on a Sunday in the Guildford area. I drew a blank at all of them, so on the Monday I called Phil Bashall at Dunsfold Land Rover to see if he had one.

    His advice was to revert the ignition system to points, saying that it would be cheaper as well as much easier to do the kind of roadside repairs that we had been attempting if ever the need arose again. So the next day I enlisted the help of another friend, David Ball, and towed the Landie to Dunsfold for Darryl Burdfield to swap the ignition back. Since then, SVR has been running like a dream.

    I’m pretty lucky on two counts. Firstly, I have a lot of old-car enthusiast chums who live within a few hundred yards that are more than happy to help if something goes wrong. Secondly, in the five years that I have owned SVR, she’s only left me stranded this once. Maybe I shouldn’t speak too soon, though. As I write this, I’m about to take part on the 200-mile Hope Classic Rally. Mind you, two of those mates are going on the event with their cars, too. Fingers crossed.

    THANKS TO Andrew Cameron / Jono Lye / David Ball / Dunsfold Land Rover: 01483200567; /

    ‘Always happy to diagnose a Land-Rover worry, Jono quickly agreed to lend a hand and dug out an old coil’

    Lye searches for the cause of the problem.
    Having reverted to points, the SIIA is now back in action, to the delight of Bramble the dog.
    Investigation included testing for a spark Swapping the coil didn’t improve matters.
    Modern Discovery made short work of towing the stricken Land-Rover home.
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  •   Martin reacted to this post about 4 years ago
    CAR #Land-Rover-Series-IIA / #Land-Rover /
    Run by Martin Port
    Owned since May 2013
    Total mileage 49,487
    Miles since July report 2675
    Latest costs £12.99

    Stunning evening sky as team C&SC checks in at the Portsmouth ferry. Inset: post-race calm with Port and his Landie atop the banking overlooking the Porsche Curves.


    With the hub bearing failure a distant memory, it was inevitable that something else would crop up. First was a small stutter that was most noticeable at low revs. A few minutes adjusting the valve clearances sorted that and I took the opportunity to check the compression. With readings all around the 117-125psi mark, I was happy (considering it’s an old, well-used engine), and any concerns of imminent major failure were allayed.

    Then came a request from Oxford Scientific Films to use my Land-Rover for a scene that it wanted to shoot for a natural history programme. The director is a regular reader of C&SC and thought that my IIA might be suitable.

    Conveniently, the filming was to take place a stone’s throw from the office at Shepperton Studios. So, on a lovely early summer evening, I watched while the riggers assembled what looked like a corner of the Forth Bridge on my front wing, upon which sat a camera worth far more than my IIA. With Pixel the dog in the passenger seat, we did several runs up and down a quiet leafy track in order to get the ultrahigh- def slow-mo shot that they needed. With the sun dipping behind the trees, “It’s a wrap” was called triumphantly and I disappeared back down the M3.

    Slightly more nerve-wracking was the annual MoT test. I spent a couple of hours prepping the IIA and was duly rewarded with a pass without advisories. Given my attempts to work more often from home, I was surprised to see that the Landie had still clocked up another 12,500 miles in the past 12 months.

    It would then go wrong, as the gearbox began to make odd noises when lifting off the accelerator pedal. In the course of trying to diagnose what, I presumed, was play in the main shaft, I removed the Fairey overdrive, refitted the standard gear and bearing housing and all the noises and play disappeared!

    The lock washer had broken up and I found the tabs sitting in the clutch sleeve, but there is a lot of play in the main gear shaft that I suspect is to blame. It will have to stay on the workbench for now until I can undertake the intended rebuild.

    Frustratingly, that meant I would once again be heading down to Le Mans for the Classic without overdrive. With a few days to go, in fact, a further misfire came to the fore and, when I removed the distributor cap, I found that yet another 25D body had ‘eaten itself’. Like the last unit, the bob-weights were chomping their way into the casing, causing all sorts of rough running.

    It serves me right for fitting a cheap remake I guess, so I dug out an original 45D with the correct advance curve for a Series Land-Rover. The electronic ignition module from the 25D wouldn’t fit, so I popped in a set of points and condenser and it ran just fine – until the following morning, when it refused to go above 10mph. With just hours left before catching the ferry to Caen, I noticed that the distributor cap was faulty – one of the internal contacts had broken loose and so I limped it over to see Will de la Riviere at Beech Hill Garage.

    The 45D was a common fitment on later MGBs, so I knew that he would have spares of the required quality. After an hour on the forecourt overhauling the system and once again timing the set-up by ear – with a confirming nod from fellow Landie owner John Alexander – I was back on the road.

    In a moment of madness for this Le Mans Classic, I left all of the weather gear at home in a bid to travel light – even ditching the tent in favour of a bivouac-style bedroll.

    I’m glad that I did, too – the weather was glorious and, with empty French back roads and just a windscreen for protection, it felt as if I was driving the IIA as much like a sports car as it would allow. Smiles aplenty and, after a stunning few days awash with classics on and off the track, the only dampener was a faulty ferry on the return trip, which meant that I was very nearly the last vehicle allowed on.

    “No more 4x4s – too big!” said the nice French lady in charge of loading. So I folded the windscreen to lower its profile, smiled hopefully and, much to my surprise, she waved me on and I reversed into the last available space out on the open ferry deck. Several hours later, I was, as a result, first off in Portsmouth and hitting Winchester before the other chaps had been unloaded. Even a few spots of rain couldn’t ruin the buzz from the weekend and, by midnight, I was crawling into bed, but not before I’d given the Land-Rover an appreciative pat on the wing for being a faithful companion once more!

    45D and points replaced electronic 25D.
    Pixel the dog in Landie for filming duties.
    Last man on; others weren’t quite so lucky.
    Lock washer tabs found in clutch sleeve.
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  •   Martin reacted to this post about 4 years ago
    CAR #Land-Rover-SIIA / #Land-Rover
    Run by Tim Bulley
    Owned since March 2012
    Total mileage 40,540
    Miles since August 2015 report 186
    Latest costs none


    I first met Phil Wall just over a year ago. He was introduced to me by my friend Richard Eyre, who had invitedmeto listen to Phil’s idea for an event where he’d ask classic-car owners to lend their pride and joys to people who would pay top dollar to drive them in a rally. It sounded nuts – I thought it unlikely that owners of Ferraris, Maseratis and Astons would volunteer to let complete strangers loose in them.

    Then I met Phil, who is one of the most captivating individuals that I have ever encountered. He is driven by a powerful personal cause. Nineteen years ago, on a trip to an orphanage in Johannesburg, he met Zodwa – an 18-month-old toddler with HIV. He formed a bond with her where others had not been able to and tried to adopt her.

    To cut a long story short, the adoption failed, but he and his wife Wendy resolved to improve the lives of children orphaned by HIV. Nineteen years on, their organisation, WeSeeHope, is more than your everyday charity. Through its Village Investors Programme, it seeds small amounts of capital into communities to kick-start businesses, and trains young people in skills and enterprise, enabling them to have a sustainable future.

    I found his approach inspiring and clearly so did others. Now in its second year, the Hope Classic Rally has grown from 40 cars to around 50, with 100 drivers and passengers including me, my mate Jono and SVR 35H. This year’s drive was from Brooklands to the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu.

    The night before the off, we arrived at Brooklands and parked up alongside the likes of a Ferrari 250GT SWB, an XK120 and a Gullwing. The dinner was great fun and gave us an opportunity to meet some of the other participants. I sat next to Steven Baert and his friend Dieter Pétré, who had driven from Paris in Dieter’s Citroën DS. This was to be the car’s first outing since its restoration.

    My friend and neighbour David Ball was also participating in his 550 Barchetta, and had kindly donated his 456 and Lotus Esprit for others to drive. The sound of 50 cars starting up was nothing short of musical, then we got in line behind Dieter’s DS with David’s Lotus following us, and filed out onto Brooklands’ famous concrete, sounding our horns as we went.

    Before long, we were out in the Surrey Hills, following some twisting lanes. Jono was doing a sterling job at navigating and, even as two E-types overtook us, we were happy bouncing along at 45mph.

    Fifty-odd miles later, we turned down a single-track lane to arrive at our lunch stop, The White Horse at Priors Dean. The field in front of the pub was transformed into an amazing display of classics. In the rally marquee, we ate a fine BBQ lunch while listening to a live jazz singer. There I met Rachael, whose husband had won a competition that Dunhill had been running for clients. They had been given one of the E-types to drive and were having the time of their lives.

    As Jono and I checked the route for the final leg to Beaulieu, Ant Anstead from TV’s For The Love of Cars came over and was very complimentary about SVR. I knew that he was a big Land-Rover fan but, in the context of what was surrounding us, I told him that he was being very generous with his remarks, to which he responded by asking me if I wanted to swap cars.

    “What are you driving?” I asked, and he pointed to an ex-Duncan Hamilton Jaguar XK120. I was having such a fun day out with SVR that I wanted to complete the rally with her, but Jono was clearly keen, so I thought about it and told Ant that, because I was an owner-driver on the event, I wasn’t insured for the XK. He suggested that we grab one of the organisers, but someone shouted to start our engines and it was time to go.

    Back on the open road, SVR and the DS were leading a group that consisted of the SWB and Gullwing, plus a Ferrari 275GTB, a Daytona and the two E-types. Each time we reached a straight, we waved them on, enjoying the sound of the engine note as they roared past. Spectacular views on the run past Winchester gave way to the heathland of the New Forest, the convoy slowing every mile or so to give way to the famous ponies. Bang on 2pm, we arrived at Beaulieu to the delight of museum visitors, who were able to enjoy this eclectic display of historic vehicles.

    After a welcome afternoon tea, we heard from two of We See Hope’s supporters, who spoke about a trip to Uganda where they had seen the charity’s work first-hand.

    Talk moved to what more we could do to help. Phil Wall gave us the answer when he drew the day to a close. The event had raised £300,000, including a generous contribution from a donor who’d agreed to match whatever was raised in Friday’s auction. Phil had brought together a group of people who shared a love of classics, to harness their energy to help children in desperate need.

    His request was to spread the word, so please, if you’d like the opportunity to drive your dream car – or better still, if you have a classic and you’d be happy to put it to work – do get in touch with We See Hope ( You’d be saving lives and you’ll have enormous fun doing so.

    THANKS TO Jono Lye for navigating – and being understanding about the XK120

    Clockwise, from top left: awaiting the Brooklands start; dodging wildlife; Jono on the maps; Pétré’s DS kept the Land-Rover company en route; Bulley on typically reserved and understated form.

    Leaving Brooklands ahead of Ball’s Esprit.
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  •   Martin reacted to this post about 4 years ago
    Four hours, the biggest hammers he could find, an air-chisel, an oxyacetylene torch and a 9in disc cutter later Port was left with this tortured ‘work of art’!

    CAR #Land-Rover-Series-IIA / #Land-Rover /
    Run by Martin Port
    Owned since May 2013
    Total mileage 46,812
    Miles since June report 507
    Latest costs £150


    Was it a blowout? Had one of the wheelnuts had come off? A sheared stud? There had to be a reason why my IIA had suddenly lurched across two lanes of the M25 and given me a slight ‘brown trouser’ moment.

    As it crawled out of harm’s way, I noticed that the brake pedal was pulsing, the steering vague and there was a nasty noise coming from the offside front wheel. Once the IIA was in the air, the amount of play in the hub bearing was alarming. As I resigned myself to returning home on a recovery truck, I reflected on the fact that this was the same corner on which I’d renewed the bearings six months ago…

    Once it was on the drive, I set about removing the hub, but, with the drive member and outer nut off, things got tricky because the inner nut would not budge. After giving up on the box spanner, I turned to a hammer and a cold chisel, but still nothing. A length of bar on a socket wouldn’t shift it. Even Phil and Oli popped over from Classic Jaguar Replicas to offer some extra ‘persuasion’, but it needed heat in the end.

    Oli got busy with his oxyacetylene torch at CJR and that, plus a bigger hammer and an air chisel eventually did away with the nut. There was no way that the hub and stub-axle were going to come off cleanly, so Phil Bashall at Dunsfold Land Rover kindly couriered over a box of replacement parts.

    It was then ‘simply’ a case of pulling the spacer washer and outer bearing race, except that those were also welded to the stub-axle. By then, we had been trying to remove the hub for three hours and, as I lay my head on the wing in despair, I briefly contemplated dismantling the rest of the Land-Rover and just leaving the hub instead!

    Desperate times call for desperate measures, though. It’s no secret that my favourite tool is a good old disc cutter. So, when we all agreed that the only option was to cut off the hub, I wasted no time and we breathed a sigh of relief as the hub at last came free of the axle.
    The Land-Rover was back on all four wheels after another hour, and the next day a nervous owner made his way around the M25 once again.

    All seemed well. There was no undue heat in the hub and the following day I took the precaution of removing the drive member to inspect the hub before draining and refilling both swivels and front diff. So what had caused the failure?

    The keyway tab on the lock washer was half gone, but had that allowed the nuts to turn – or were the tightening nuts responsible for ripping that off? Only time will tell if there is an underlying problem.

    Importantly, thanks to the generosity and help of the aforementioned friends, the IIA only missed a day’s commuting. As James Page put it: “Yours is probably only one of a handful of Series IIs used for motorway commuting, so little wonder these things happen!” He’s right, so I promise to give the old girl an easier life... one day.

    Phil and Oli Cottrell:
    Dunsfold Land Rover:; 01483 200567

    Gentle road test was followed by a full-on commute the next day.

    Failure to proceed near Heathrow’s T5.
    After hammers, came heat. It didn’t work.
    Refitting the drive member after new hub.
    Mini disc cutter also proved ineffective.
    After 9in cutter, new stub axle was fitted.
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  •   votren911 reacted to this post about 4 years ago
    A return to life in the slow lane. Just as I’d decided that the Scimitar was here to stay, Elliott pinged over an e-mail that began ‘Would you be interested in buying...’ / #Land-Rover / #2016 / #Land-Rover-Series-II /

    CAR #Land-Rover-Series-IIA
    Run by Martin Port
    Owned since May 2013
    Total mileage 12,100
    Miles since acquisition 596
    Latest costs £575

    My reply should have been ‘no’, especially considering that the subject was another Land-Rover – the exact thing that I’d sold because the GTE was faster, more economical (just) and more comfortable. At that stage the Reliant was still in the workshop undergoing surgery, so it seemed unfair to contemplate replacing it. This was the motoring equivalent of sitting in a bar eyeing up a leggy blonde – albeit a slow, smelly one whose eyes were quite close together – while your wife was laid up in hospital. I already felt bad.

    My head said no, but my heart was shouting yes. Comments from Mrs P – who, I should add, was not in hospital and I was not perched on a bar stool – weren’t helping either: “You should buy another Land- Rover. It’s more... ‘you’.”

    I even spent the entire journey home one night trying to convince myself that I should stick with the GTE before I then drove past a Series III sitting majestically in an area of felled woodland while the owner loaded it with logs. It was a period brochure come to life and I found myself smiling at the scene. “Can I come to see it on Friday?” I asked Liam Cardiff, founder of The Warren Classic (see News, July) and vendor of the ‘would you be interested in...’ 1964 Land-Rover.

    Secretly, I hoped that it would turn out to be nothing more than a pile of rust beneath some dented panels to make the decision much easier. So I went, took lots of photos and posted them on the Series 2 Club forum ( to ask for opinions. Fortunately, those in the know reckoned that I could get better for my money, so that was that – or it should have been. What’s the saying about heart ruling head? I had to face facts: something about CSF 46B had got under my skin and a second viewing showed that the all-important chassis was really rather good. Which is exactly why, after chasing several other ‘better’ options, I suddenly had the keys in my pocket and was towing it back to the office.

    There was the minor matter of it passing an MoT test before I spent the rest of my budget on making it look better, though I couldn’t resist buying a set of hood sticks and a tailgate before taking delivery of a new Exmoor Trim full tilt from Bearmach. That meant that the horrid hard-top could go plus, with the help of Clements and Page, the transformation was completed in a lunch-hour. “That’s how a Landie should look!” I exclaimed as I stood back to admire our handiwork and made tentative plans to repaint the body in Bronze Green, but, after two weeks of tinkering with more help from Page, it was MoT time.

    Elliott reckoned that the Landie would pass first time. I didn’t, though, and so a wager was made: one chocolate biscuit to the victor. I decided to hang around at Orleans Garage so that Alan Fox could show me the fail points as he found them... except that he didn’t and the IIA passed with no advisories.

    As I drove away with the certificate beside me, Elliott pulled in to the test station and a moment later a text popped up with the words: ‘You owe me a biscuit.’ I don’t like losing a bet, although this time I was happy to suffer defeat for some reason! It’s good to be back in the world of life-size Meccano.

    Bearmach: 02920856550;
    Britpart: 01588674200;

    Full tilt, new mirrors and blasted trim completes stage one of makeover; wheels are next.
    Port took cash and a trailer... just in case!
    After sitting idle for a year, the IIA gets a shock to the system as Port revisits some green-lane favourites and exercises the leaf springs.
    Clements and Page clear a year of grime.
    Painted galvanised trim was soda-blasted.
    Hard-top made way for sticks and tailgate.
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  •   Matt Petrie reacted to this post about 4 years ago
    Land Rover recreates #1948 production line. A last chance to see the Defender factory - with the added bonus of a fantastic heritage display. Words David Lillywhite.

    Land Rover has built a replica of the 1948 production line in the middle of the original factory, in which the current Defender is still built - and it’s open to the public until production of the Defender ceases at the end of #2015 .

    Visitors to the Celebration Line are invited to wear brown work coats (or ‘cow gowns’), each one embroidered with the name of one of the first Land Rover workers, and to clock-in using a period-style timecard.

    Four chassis have been built to demonstrate the 1948 production process. Each sits on a replica of the first ‘skids’, with small components in original metal parts bins, and larger components on copies of the trolleys used in 1948.

    Attention to detail is superb, and there are the added attractions of previously unseen film footage, information boards on each of the employees name-checked on the cow gowns, souvenir period documentation and the chance to document your first ever Land Rover experience.

    The chassis and the period fittings were sourced by #Phil-Bashall , curator of the famous Dunsfold Collection, with help from ‘Mr Land Rover’ Roger Crathorne, who started at the company in #1963 and retired only last year.

    Visits to the Celebration Line include an equally fascinating tour of the #Defender production facility and the chance to see the three last-of-the-line special edition Defenders. Tickets cost £45 from the #Land-Rover Experience website. Be sure to book before the end of the year...
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  •   Martin Buckley reacted to this post about 4 years ago
    CAR #Land-Rover-Series-IIA / #Land-Rover / #Land-Rover-Series-II / #2016

    Run by Martin Port
    Owned since May #2013
    Total mileage 43,970
    Miles since January report 1612
    Latest costs £78


    It was a cold, wet and dark Monday morning when, barely two minutes into my commute, I heard an odd noise from the front of the IIA – followed by a sudden knocking that not only could be heard above the engine, but felt through the pedals. Not an ideal start to the week.

    As the Land-Rover climbed a gradient, I stuck my head out of the window to try to pinpoint the source. But as I reached the peak and then began the descent, I quickly withdrew my bonce, grasping the wheel tightly. It had become apparent that the IIA’s direction of travel wasn’t quite corresponding to my aim!

    I pulled over and checked for visible problems, but failed to see anything. There was nothing else for it – nurse the Landie home and grab the keys to the Beetle instead. The rest of the day at work was torture, of course, with the next eight hours spent mulling over possible causes split chassis?

    Knackered bush in the swivel joint? Broken UJ.

    That evening grabbed a torch I and was at least able to confirm that the chassis was okay okay. A couple of days later, I managed to have a proper poke around during daylight, starting with the obvious: jacking up the front and wobbling the wheels. It became immediately apparent that there was something fundamentally wrong with the offside bearing, but I also realised that, no matter what I did, I couldn’t get the front propshaft to turn. I called Phil Bashall at Dunsfold Land Rover, but he couldn’t get his head round the anomaly either and suggested that it could be a broken differential.

    Local legends Phil and Oli Cottrell even popped by for half an hour to assist with my diagnosis. Phil reckoned that it was the diff, too, but with one of us in the IIA, one underneath, and one at the wheel, we examined all possible combinations of gearing and drive. In the end, it was only when I removed the MAP free-wheeling hub from that side – and observed the half-shaft turning when the prop was rotated that those present had a lightbulb moment.

    Although affecting the steering, it transpired that the freewheel hub had failed – confirming that at least the front diff was okay. That left the bearing at fault so, armed with a replacement inner and outer, I set about the swap. An hour and a half later, the IIA was back on the deck and ready for a test drive. The bearing needed nipping up a little further but, crucially, the knocks, groans and directional ‘variables’ had been eliminated – quite possibly the best-case scenario.

    In the process I had, of course, removed both MAP free-wheeling hubs and reinstalled the standard drive flanges. I was then left to marvel at the spectacular wear on the old outer hub bearing. With the Landie back on the road, it was a good time to finally fit the bargain Viking mascot that I’d bought at the NEC back in November. Strictly speaking, it has nothing to do with the IIA, but a good many owners have added them as a nod to the Rover origins of the company – or perhaps because they have a P4-derived engine under the bonnet. Mine doesn’t, but personally I think it just looks the part!

    A definite end-of-year highlight was being present as the hammer came down at the auction of the two-millionth Defender. The winning bid was a record £400k, with all proceeds going to the Born Free Foundation and the Red Cross. As a bonus, while I was there I finally managed to meet Tim Slessor – a member of the Oxford and Cambridge Far Eastern Expedition of 1955 and author of First Overland, an inspirational book for any Land-Rover owner. Commuting to London in the IIA doesn’t come close to what Slessor undertook, but oddly he seemed impressed by my stupidity and, as a result, my copy (which ‘I just happened to have with me’), now has a fitting dedication on the title page. Thank you, Sir!

    THANKS TO Dunsfold Land Rover: 01483 200567; Phil and Oli Cottrell: 0118 971

    2091; Kim Palmer

    Viking mascot keeps watch over the road. Port with his hero, who signed book (inset).

    Oli Cottrell passes judgement on the wear Replacement ready to be fitted into hub The new oil seal is carefully tapped home.

    The Land-Rover takes to the track at Bicester Heritage – not its natural habitat, but good fun! Inset: wheel bearing was on the verge of collapse.
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