This is my 1958 Series II which I've had since April. I bought it after browsing the Essex Land Rover Club website and seeing a post about a 'barn find' Land Rover for sale. There wasn't any more detail, and the lady who was selling it didn't know much about it either. It had belonged to her late dad. 'Come and have a look - make of it what you will,' she told me.
I went to see it the next day and the lady told me a young lad was interested in buying it to use for off-roading. But she didn't want it to go like that; she'd rather it went to someone interested in old Land Rovers.
Apparently, the man who'd owned it used it on a farm, as a general run about and on shooting days. It was last on the road in 1989, then it was just put away in the barn and forgotten. It had been there ever since.
The barn it was in was dark and dusty. I had a poke around and it seemed quite decent, though I didn't have a torch so I couldn't see much. Anyway, I made an offer and bought it on the spot. Then I went home and thought: 'What have I done that for?'
Next day it arrived at my home on a transporter. When I saw it in the daylight I realised just how original it was - and it was about 100 per cent better than I'd initially thought.
I have a friend, who's a classic car dealer. He has lovely stuff, Astons, Mercs and things like that, though he wouldn't touch a Land Rover. So I know a bit about classics from him including the importance of originality, and that's what really got me about this one.
So far I haven't found a single hole that's been drilled in the body since it left the factory 54 years ago. It's one of the really early Series IIs - the chassis number is below 500 - and it still has its original Series I-spec 2.0-litre petrol engine.
At first I wasn't quite sure what to do with it. A lot of people would be tempted to jetwash it before doing anything else. I'm not going to clean it - well, I've vacuumed it out, but that's all - apart from that, I'm leaving it like it is.
I've been gradually working on it. The plan is to do just the mechanical bits: new clutch, brakes, exhaust, springs, things like that. It'll need new tyres too, maybe 7.50's if I want to do any greenlaning. But for now, I'm just really pleased to have it - and it's only going to get better with age. I think it's great.
Originally featured in the January 2014 issue of Land Rover Owner International. Download a digital issue, or order a back issue by calling 01858 438884.
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