What's the story?
Land Rover Forward Controls always impress. Park one anywhere and people will crowd round it. There's the bigness factor, of course. And then there's the rareness factor - you hardly ever see them. All of that's true for any FC. But today I'm looking at Simon Maltby's. Normal FC bigness wasn't enough for Simon, so he made it bigger.
As for rareness, this one goes right off the what-the-heck-is-that scale. The engine's a 5.9-litre monster, Land Rover's gearbox has been ditched, and the remote transfer box - including pouring hot metal to make bits for it - is a saga in itself. At heart it's a SIIA, which should mean a narrow track - but axles are SIIB wide-track, so purists look away now.
Simon had already had a couple of Series IIs, plus a Series III. But small Land Rovers were about to take a back seat. 'I was at an LRO Spring Adventure, it was the first Land Rover show I went to,' Simon recalls. 'I saw an FC going round and decided I'd really like one. My mate Dave had one, but had also bought a 101. So I said to him, "You won't be wanting that old FC now, will you?"'
A deal was struck and the FC changed hands for £320. What exactly had Simon bought? A pile of bits really - no engine, no radiator, no doors, no door-tops. 'I was in a scrapyard wondering what engine I could put in when I found one that looked about the right size and shape - I didn't even know it was a Cummins.'
Our favourite bit?
The big question is, how does this patchwork quilt of new, DIY and secondhand bits go? Simon starts off in second gear, then hits third - the nose of the FC lifts and its hindquarters squat down like a sports car. More gear changes follow, almost as fast as Simon can make them, until we settle in fifth. We're racing along at zero mph according to the speedo, which isn't working yet. Photographer Tom reckons we were doing somewhere near 60mph at times. For a 51-year-old Forward Control with a whopping body, that's impressive.
And the verdict from LRO writer Peter Galilee
There's a lot to look at on this Forward Control. Like the Mk2 engine-to-fan driveline, the stainless steel vertical exhaust pipe (also Mk2), a side-mounted compressed air-tank for handbrake release, plus the fairground ride-style cab paintwork. Then there's the re-aligned sump and exhaust manifold, an amazing array of non-standard switches in the auxiliary front panel and between the seats (200 metres or red wire figure largely in this).
Equally impressive is Simon's camper back body which took him a day to draw out, and a day to cut the metal.
Vehicle: 1964 SIIA Forward Control 109-inch
Engine: 5.9-litre straight-six
Power/torque: 130bhp; 400lb ft
Transmission: 5-spd Spicer 'box, 2-spd remote-mounted Series transfer box modified to 1:1 ratio, selectable 2/4-wheel drive
Where can I read more?
The full story is in the September 2015 issue of LRO. Download a digital issue, or order a back issue by calling 01858 438884.