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1972 Land Rover Series IIA long-term review part 1: 4x4 Shed

By Dean Mellor, 02 Dec 2018 Reviews

1972 Land Rover Series IIA long-term review part 1

Deano’s other Landy sparks Simpson Desert dreaming.

I SEARCHED far and wide for the “right” Land Rover. I wanted a late-model Series IIA with the headlights on the fenders rather than in the grille, preferably green, rust-free, with the original running gear and in sound mechanical condition. In other words, something like the first Landy I ever owned, but not as rough.

I looked all over the country before finding this nice restored example about five minutes’ drive from my front door. It ticked all the boxes, but the vendor was asking a bit more than I was willing to spend. After a couple of days of negotiations, we agreed on a price and the SIIA was mine.

I’ve been told the old Landy once belonged to a Mayor of the Eurobodalla Shire on the NSW South Coast. The fellow I purchased it from had completely stripped it and rebuilt the thing. And yes, while it’s hardly in showroom condition, it scrubs up alright and has so far proven mechanically reliable (knock on wood).

The Landy runs the original 2.25L four-cylinder petrol engine, which is standard other than a Stromberg (Holden) carburettor and extractors – the former rubbing on the underside of the bonnet and the latter providing a tasty exhaust note under full throttle.

4x4 History: 70 years of Land Rover

The four-speed gearbox offers a positive shift and the clutch provides progressive engagement. Of course, there’s no synchro in first or second gears, so shifting requires a combination of patience, revs and timing in the lower ratios, but shifting into third and fourth gears is smooth and easy.

The leaf springs have been refurbished; although, they’re not set quite right, so the Landy leans to the right somewhat. When I get a chance, I’ll take them out and have them reset.

The repainted steel rims wear 235/85R16 BFGoodrich All-Terrain KO2s. This is the same rubber I run on my 1994 Defender, which will certainly come in handy if I ever need an extra spare for a big trip.

If you don’t look too closely the Landy appears pretty tidy. It has new lights, the seats have been recovered in black vinyl and the whole vehicle has had a respray, inside and out. The nearside front guard is off a Series III Landy, hence the vent in the side, but other than that it’s quite original.

One of the first things I did when I got the Landy home was remove the roof, so it’s a fair-weather vehicle until I track down a stick set and buy a canvas roof.

Other than drive it, all I’ve done to date is source a couple of clamps and bolts to put the spare tyre on the bonnet, but I’ve reverted to tying it down in the tub for the time being. I need to run the Landy at least once a week or it gets a little hard to start, so it currently does the school run on Friday afternoons as well as regular weekend runs to the beach.

The long-term plan? I’m keen to drive the little Landy across the Simpson Desert one day, while wearing a big bloody hat with the roof down, but I reckon I might have to ship it to Alice Springs and start the trip from there, because it’d be a long (and expensive) trip under its own steam. Hey, it never hurts to dream, right?

4x4 Shed Log: 1972 Land Rover Series IIA
Current mileage: 6926km
Date acquired: November 2017
Price: $8500
Mileage this month: N/A
Average fuel consumption: N/A