Neil's Lightweight

1979 Land Rover Series III Lightweight

Quick test of Land Rover's part no. RTC 8107 self-recovery winch system. Sorry for the poor video - it started to lash down with rain, as you can see when we're attaching the pulley to the other vehicle!

I bought my 1979 Series III Lightweight in 2014. It's not the first one I've owned; I had a later model in the mid 1990s. Its NATO designation was: Truck Utility 1/2T 4x4 Rover Series 3 and had the military registration mark 23HF40. It is tatty, but sound, and had a replacement chassis just before being cast in 1997.

Despite being no beauty queen, it was well looked after by its first civilian owner, before seeing the sort of use Lightweights tend to get at the hands of its second. Stolen, then recovered, it disappeared into a garage for years before reappearing in 2014.

As well as the sound chassis, it has a Fairey overdrive and internal roll cage - giving it a bit of protection as I intend to compete in events with it. I've replaced the engine with one of the correct era (it came with a late Series IIA engine) and fitted a high-torque starter motor.

It's shod with 205/80 R16 Michelin Latitude Cross tyres on tubeless Defender wheels, which are about the same size as the 6.50 X 16 tyres it would have worn in service, so the gearing is spot on, but it can belly out (as you'll see in the video).

The suspension is standard, but I'll probably replace the rear springs with 109in springs as I'm not happy with the ride height and the springs are starting to flatten.

Vital stats

  • 1979 Land Rover Series III ½ Ton Lightweight soft top
  • 2286cc petrol engine
  • Four-speed gearbox, two-speed transfer box

Upgrades and modifications