It’s hard to think of a car that is as classless as a Land-Rover – equally happy ferrying sheepdogs around the farm as it is being a trendy third car in the city.
Much of the Land-Rover’s charm can no doubt be attributed to its need to serve a purpose as a robust all-terrain tool, and that its looks have barely changed in generations.
Based on durable Rover running gear, the Land-Rover adds to this with sturdy steel chassis, steel bulkhead and floorpan, plus a rust-beating aluminium body.
Launched in 1958, the Series II brought with it the new 2286cc petrol engine (which was based on the diesel unit), together with a wider body allowing for a tighter turning circle.
The 2052cc diesel, which is best avoided if you like to make swift progress, was replaced in 1961 with a 2286cc unit that increased power by 22% and made 60mph a very real possibility.
The following year brought the launch of the 12-seat Station Wagon.
The Series III – continuing the headlights-in-wings theme that started with the 2A – would not arrive until 1971 and added a more car-like dashboard to the mixture.
One of the landmark changes for enthusiasts was the introduction of the Rover V8 in ’79. It came equipped with permanent four-wheel drive, gave a suitable performance hike and added an unbeatable soundtrack to the Land-Rover’s impressive repertoire.
The final edition to the Series was the County comfort package, before the leaf-sprung Series III was replaced by the 110 and the 90 in 1983 and ’84 respectively.
Now a used Series II/III looks like a tempting option as a hard-wearing classic.
Despite the rust-resistant body, rot is still the Land-Rover’s nemesis and can affect the spring hangers and damper mounts, front bulkhead, chassis mounts, door top-hinge mounts, window frames, main chassis legs, main chassis behind the rear springs, plus the rear crossmember.
Engines are robust, although you should still check for excessive oil breathing and, if there’s a pressure gauge, expect 40psi at speed, or 30psi on V8s.
The steering mechanism has six balljoints, which can cause slack or stiffness that are easy to fix, but a worn box or idler could be a more costly problem.
Check behind the wheels for oil leaks from the hubs that will cause rapid wear – the large swivel balls should be shiny and not pitted.
Remember to check all the gears including overdrive if fitted, which could mean 20 in total.
The main problem with the rear axle is excessive pinion seal leaks, which quickly lead to axle failure; halfshafts can also break on the LWB car and forward control Series IIs if driven hard.
One of the nicest cars in our classifieds is this Series IIA diesel. While the engine may not be the pick, this £4995 Landie has been treated to a galvanised chassis, new seats and is said to have a perfect bulkhead.
Spend £6495 and you could have this early SWB Series II. Tax exempt of course, it’s also got a galvanised chassis and looks to be in great condition.
But, if money’s no object, this 1969 Station Wagon is pretty hard to ignore. The list of work carried out is huge and once again includes a galvanised chassis, plus a gearbox and transfer box overhaul, engine overhaul, new electrics and a bulkhead restoration. The price for all this, though, is an eye-watering £24,995.
There are plenty more Series Land-Rovers to pick from here.
Be smart with your cash and a Series II/III Land-Rover could last a lifetime, while also providing durable, flexible transport in a cool and timeless shape.