WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Here are our top tips on things to consider when buying a Lightweight. Discuss prospective buys on our message boards and for the definitive view, get an LRO buying guide. See below for details.
It's not safe to assume the engine (or any other component) is the original. Many vehicles were fitted with reconditioned engines – check the rebuild plate (usually below and behind the oil filter housing). Rebuilt units are paint-sprayed all over, including the rocker cover.
Running. Look for misfiring and rough running, it could be valve-seat recession.
Condition. If it has been bodged and neglected, the owner probably hasn't been bothered to use good-quality oil and change the filters regularly.
Mileage. Low-mileage 24-volt examples don't necessarily mean a low-hours engine – these often sat with engines running to power the radio for hours on end.
Standard tests. Look for excessive smoke, listen for unpleasant noises, see if the engine pulls well up hills, etc.
Propshafts. Push up at the centre sliding-joint to show wear, and twist both ways to feel any slack in the universal joints.
Drive on and off the accelerator to encourage kangaroo-hops and feel and hear transmission backlash.
Gear changes. Make sure changes are light and precise and listen carefully. Make sure it doesn't jump out of gear on over-run (the point between drivetrain no-load and engine braking).
Axles. Flat-ended axles can weep oil from their ends. Can be fixed by careful brazing.
Springs. A 12-volt Lightweight should have seven-leaf springs front and rear (fewer than a civilian). They can end up with cracked leaves.
Oil. Check that there's no oil getting into the handbrake from the rear of the transfer box – thiscan contaminate parking brake linings.
Brake lines. Check for corrosion and check the three flexi brake hoses for cracking or chafing.
Slack. Jam one wheel against a kerb and rotate the steering wheel to feel for slack.
Ball-joints. Check for play by holding them while someone else rotates the steering wheel.
Swivel bearings. If they're worn, it'll affect the steering – check for knocking or rattling when driving over uneven surfaces. If the swivel is weeping oil, investigate by taking the gaiter off.
Headlights. Should be military centre-focus type (look for the FV marking moulded in the glass). Early models have special rims allowing attachment of infra-red lens covers, later ones Mini-style trim bezels.
With the dash-panel six-position switch in 'convoy' position, all lights are off except for a 'convoy light' under the rear, pointing at the white-painted diff. Check the switch isn't jammed.
24-volt vehicles are often bodged. It's all fixable, but best to plug into the enthusiast network for help.
EXTERIOR, BODYWORK AND TRIM
Rot. Check rear crossmember, front longitudinals immediately behind the bumper, bulkhead outriggers.
Chassis. Condensation can corrode away the bottom of the chassis box-sections.
Chassis number. Look for it stamped on right-hand front spring's forward mounting bracket, outside face. Check it's the same as on the V5C.
Bulkhead top. It's detachable and they rust under the rubber seal between detachable top and bulkhead main section. Repair is difficult.
Bonnets. Check for deformation under the strap-fixed spare wheel.
Lashing points. Rear-body internal steel lashing points are bolted through aluminium bodywork. Check for bi-metallic corrosion, including outside where the bolt-heads show. Look under the rear wheel-arch, which extends up behind the body-side to form a narrow blind pocket where mud can stick.
INTERNAL STRUCTURE AND INTERIOR
Identification plates. You should find these in the cab, usually on the dashboard or seatbox end – which will tell you quite a lot, including if it was 24-volt. If plates are not present, be wary: the vehicle might be a ringer.
If there's not much inside – good, that means it hasn't been messed about and customised!
WHAT TO PAY
From £750 to £6000
For detailed pricing info see the latest issue of Land Rover Owner International magazine.
0-60mph: 20+ seconds (est)
TOP SPEED: 69mph
POWER: 77bhp @ 4250rpm
TORQUE: 124lb ft @ 2500rpm
FUEL ECONOMY: 17.5mpg
(16 litres/100km) in normal
LENGTH: 144¼in (3.66m) fully equipped; 142¾in (3.62m) stripped
WIDTH: 60in (1.52m)
HEIGHT: 76¾in (1.95m) over
hood; 58in (1.47m) stripped, over steering wheel
WHEELBASE: 88in (2.23m)
WEIGHT: 3210lb (1456kg) 12v; 3330lb (1510kg) 24v. Both unladen with 20 gallons of fuel
LOAD SPACE: 850 litres approx
APPROACH ANGLE: 49º
DEPARTURE ANGLE: 36º
CLEARANCE: 8½in (216mm) unladen, measured under axles with 6.50 x 16 tyres
WADING DEPTH (shallow, not waterproofed): 20in (508mm)
MAX TOWING WEIGHT (MILITARY): 1 ton, with over-run trailer brakes (the Sankey ‘narrow-track’ trailer was designed for the Lightweight: the same width and with a fixed tailgate)
■ COST OF OWNERSHIP
CO₂ EMISSIONS: N/A
VED RATE: Currently zero if built before January 1 1973, £215 after that date. But pre-Jan 1 1974 vehicles will be tax exempt from April 2014.
INSURANCE GROUP: 2
LEZ COMPLIANT? Yes
Get the full low-down sent direct to you by email.
For details email: email@example.com or call: 01733 468582.
Get a Buying Guide full of vital advice and tips as a pdf showing the original pages from our world-beating magazine. Cost: £5.