I've had Tracey, my Series II 88in, for about eight years. When I first saw her she looked like a Series III, as someone had 'modernised' her at some point.
I ran her like that for a while, with the addition of some chunkier tyres, and did a bit of off-roading and greenlaning. As part of its 'modernisation' it gained a hideous, old 2.5 diesel York engine from a Ford Transit. It had loads of torque but a top speed of 35mph; it held up tractors on country roads. It was the noisiest engine I've ever heard.
After a while, I stripped off all the bodywork, and cleaned and painted the chassis. It needed one small repair but was otherwise sound. The bulkhead was fine except for a hole hacked out to accommodate the York engine.
At the same time, I finally junked the horrible motor and replaced it with an ex-MoD 2.25 petrol engine, rebuilt by REME. I'd never done anything as major as an engine swap before but I got stuck in, welded in some chassis mounts (the originals had been chopped off), borrowed an engine crane and dropped it in.
That makes it sound so simple - there was a fair amount of swearing and shouting but eventually I did it and I was very pleased with myself. I put in a replacement gearbox too and changed the front leaf springs.
Today, it has an Exmoor Trim tilt and handpainted sign advertising my outdoor gear business. I love driving her with the tilt rolled up or completely off. The petrol engine is a world apart from that terrible York and I really enjoy the classic nature of a 1960 Land Rover. It's all about a useable, standard vehicle for me as opposed to massive tyres, snorkels and suspension lifts. I've been there and done that.
Published in the Spring 2015 issue of Land Rover Owner. Download a digital issue, or order a back issue by calling 01858 438884.
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