My 1961 Series II is back on the road now after living in the workshop for several months while being renovated. It was given to me by my British friend, Alexander Davey, two years ago. He moved back to the UK and let me have the Land Rover, because he knew I would get it back on the road.
I’ve long been interested in Land Rovers, but the Series II is my first one after many years of driving Suzuki 4x4s.
Alexander moved around a lot with his work, so he never had the chance to restore the vehicle, which was unused for eight years. A previous owner had used it to carry food for his herd of goats and it was in very poor condition, including a very rusty chassis.
I had to get many replacement components, including the chassis, hard top, doors, front and back bumper, steering wheel, wiring and much more. I also replaced the original, non-synchromesh gearbox with one from a Series III.
The mechanic working on the SII managed to source many of the parts needed, but getting hold of some things proved really difficult, which slowed down the rebuild. One of the most troublesome parts was a new wiper motor. As we were approaching the rainy season, there was no way I would risk running it without wipers.
After spending a lot of time searching locally and browsing the internet, somebody told me there’s a shop in Medan – the North Sumatran capital – that specialises in Land Rover spares. The shop, Pelita, is run from the owner’s house. It belongs to Mrs Ng Ai Lie, a 52-year-old Chinese woman, known as Elly, and her husband, Atong. They provide new and used spare parts for various Land Rovers.
As you step inside the cramped shop, you’re right in among all the parts, which are scattered all around. Deeper inside the shop, spares are stored in various cupboards and cabinets. Much to my delight, one such cabinet held my precious wiper motor.
After paying for it, I chatted with Elly. She told me they inherited the shop from her father-in-law – who also used to run a Land Rover workshop – when he died in 1984.
Pelita sells new and used parts for Series I, II, III, Defender and Range Rover. The secondhand bits come from old Land Rovers that have been dismantled and any serviceable items are then put into stock.
For a while the future of the Pelita shop was in doubt, but
an upsurge of interest in Land Rovers – helped by the thriving Land Rover Club of Medan – has improved business. Long may that continue.
This owner review appeared in the April 2011 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.