Q. I have a 1956 short-wheelbase Series I. I’ve seen another one with mesh flyscreens fitted on the inside of the bulkhead (at the top, behind the ventilator flaps). The owner told me they were only fitted from Series II onwards, and his had come from a scrapped Series IIA. Is that right? I would like some for my own Series I, but don’t want to spoil it if they’re wrong for it.
A. Wire-mesh flyscreens were shown in the August 1954 parts catalogue and continued through Series I production. They’d be correct for your vehicle – if they are Series I flyscreens.
All flyscreens have the same basic method of construction – the mesh itself
is held in a rectangular outer frame.
There are two basic types. The Series I flyscreen kit comprises three panels – centre, left, and right. The panels are retained by plates that clamp across the edges of the aluminium frame. So the complete kit consists of three flyscreen panels, three retainers, two attachment plates, a tie plate plus the fixings – a lot of parts and a fiddly job to fix.
The flyscreen kit that’s listed in the first Series II parts catalogue is marked as a new item, so we know it’s different to the Series I kit. Instead of three panels there are now four. Instead of the various retainers and plates, each panel has little lugs spot-welded around the frame – each lug is held down by a self-tapping screw.
It seems that Rover took the opportunity presented by the launch of the Series II to simplify the kit – with nothing but mesh panels and self-tapping screws, it’s easier to fit. This kit does have variations later, but they’re relevant only to the Series II.
So, the first type – the one with all the fixing plates – is the correct version for you. Fitting it is more of a pain, but that’s not a bad thing because the result is far neater. The Series II version is very ugly, as a lot of those little lugs and self-tapping screw heads are right in your line of vision.
What is a problem, though, is that I’m not aware of any remaining old stock of Series I flyscreen kits. You may find some used ones; and if you have any contacts north of Glasgow it’s worth asking, as they were often fitted to Land Rovers further up the west coast of Scotland because of the notorious summer midges there.
You’re more likely to come across the Series II version. They don’t fit very well, so the vehicle you saw must have had Series I flyscreens, or they’d been bodged. I think your best bet is to advertise as widely as possible, and particularly on the Series One Club’s website.
The mesh corrodes and can become fragile – sometimes too fragile to clean up and re-use. But even if you’re offered screens with some corrosion, I would get them. If you don’t find anything better, with a bit of effort it should be possible to open up the aluminium channel and insert new mesh (a very similar mesh is still available from specialist wire-work companies).
At worst, if you had the screens and the fittings, it wouldn’t be a big job to make replica flyscreen panels.