What’s the story?
As radio equipment grew smaller and lighter, the army decided to try out LWB Land Rovers for the job. In November 1958, a new contract was raised for no fewer than 50 of the new Series II 109-inch station wagons. These were to be used as FFW vehicles (Fitted For Wireless). At some point those clever chaps at Solihull clearly mocked-up an early station wagon to work out where all the equipment would go.
It was a picture of this mock-up that I showed in Roverphile (May 2015 issue of LRO), guessing then that it dated from about 1960. The next thing I knew was that Stuart Foley of Foley SV in Essex was telling me, ‘I’ve got one of those!’
The story began to come together. I did know that there were only 50 of them and that the chances of any surviving were vanishingly small. Was Stuart sure? He sent me a couple of pictures and gave me the chassis number. This was the real deal all right!
Our favourite bit?
The military specification drawn up for this station wagon and the 49 others like it was quite special. Quite apart from those black-out blinds, our station wagon has some very interesting features.
One of them is the rear crossmember, which has the rectangular ends that we now associate with military-pattern items. Standard civilian 109 station wagons had the crossmember with tapered ends, but this special crossmember seems to have been introduced first on the military 107in Series I station wagons.
Lighting arrangements are special too. The FV-pattern headlamps are no surprise, but these station wagons must have been among the first vehicles to have the front sidelights and turn signals stacked vertically – a military-only arrangement that allowed room for a vertical number plate on one wing and unit markings on the other.
And the verdict from LRO writer James Taylor?
It’s not only a rather lovely reminder of how the first David Bache-designed long-wheelbase station wagons looked, but it’s an interesting survivor of a rare military type.
Anyone with a passion for Land Rovers would be bowled over by the purity and stuck-in-time originality of this amazing Series II. I certainly was.
Model: Series II 109-inch station wagon
Engine: 2.25-litre four-cylinder petrol
Power: 69bhp (to DIN rating)
Transmission: Four-speed manual with two-speed transfer box, selectable four-wheel drive
Tyres: Avon Ranger 7.50x16