I first saw STF 608L, a Marine Blue Series III truck cab, in May 2010. It was parked up in a log store on a farm, looking very sorry for itself with mis-shaped wings. Inside, it was full of straw and barbed wire, not to mention some cats and a few mice…
The basics were all there, although the front springs were insecure due to the corroded and weakened dumb irons. On top of that, the exhaust was damaged, the diesel tank was droopy and the front bumper was pushed up against the body on one side (presumably from a lifetime of nudging farm gates open). But it brought back memories I had long forgotten of adventures in Africa, the Indian sub-continent, Australia and the Americas. I had to see if it was for sale. A deal was struck with seller Jim Hallam, and it became mine.
Over the past three years, this very early Series III has undergone a comprehensive rebuild and conversion from a truck cab via a hard top to a full canvas tilt. The original dumb irons and leading ends of the chassis have been replaced and now support new-old-stock front leaf springs.
A rebuilt Fairey Overdrive unit has been added to the Series IIA gearbox, and a cable-operated throttle has replaced the solid rod linkage to smooth out the performance from the original 2.25-litre diesel engine.
So, I’m now the very satisfied owner of a very early 1972 Series III with an 88-inch wheelbase, full canvas tilt, Fairey overdrive, headlights in the radiator panel, side and indicator lights as well as wing mirrors mounted on the wing tops and an early Series front bumper.
As a nod to the celebrated Oxford and Cambridge University First Overland trip of the mid-1950s, I also have a pair of imposing jerry-can holders mounted on the front wings. It also has an aluminium external sun visor – just to complete the picture I have always carried in my head from those early days of overland adventure.
It’s my affordable dream Series Land Rover – and all the little refinements I’ve made to it make it perfect as a daily driver. It also stretches its legs on the occasional adventure to the North Wales Coast.
This owner review appeared in the March 2016 issue of LRO. Current and Back issues are available to download on digital devices here. Please note, we only hold stocks of the the last three back issues.