I‘ve known this Series I 86in since I was a young boy – and now it’s back in as-new condition after a restoration lasting several years. Early Series Is are rare in Spain: at the end of World War 2 we suffered an international boycott because of Franco’s collaboration with Hitler and it became impossible to buy any goods from abroad.
However, a few major farmers were allowed to trade with Great Britain – it was a case of trading olive oil and oranges for Land Rovers. Most of the vehicles that came in were registered in the Madrid province, hence the ‘M’ initial on the plate.
In 1958, when Spanish company Santana started making Land Rovers under licence, dealers offered incentives for owners to trade-in their 80ins and 86ins
for the locally built 88in. This is when my family’s business started to flourish, refurbishing and modifying all those traded-in Series Is for their second life on Catalonia’s farms.
Over the years, we kept five 86ins for our collection and even an 80in, but we also have other ‘modern’ Series IIs and IIIs.
I fitted a new-old-stock Santana 2.3-litre petrol engine in my 86in, one of the very last built. I added a turbo, an intercooler and reinforced differentials, and I galvanised all the trim. It already had the crankshaft-driven capstan winch and a rear pulley, mated to a leather belt to enable it to power agricultural machinery.
Now everything works perfectly, all I need is to find some period farming machinery to use as props on the Spanish Land Rover Club stand at various shows.
Published in the April 2015 issue of Land Rover Owner. Download a digital issue, or order a back issue by calling 01858 438884.
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