PH Fleet: Series One Land Rover

Well, what a week to be finalising preparations for the restoration of an old Land Rover. Were I the most cynical man in the UK I would now abort my plans, wait until November and just drive the thing as it is. However, I don't want to die, so I will carry on as intended.

The story so far...

Another impulse buy lurks on the Harris drive
Another impulse buy lurks on the Harris drive
At the end of 2010 a car trader friend said he'd been offered a Land Rover pick-up, and wondered if I'd be interested. He knows me well enough to be familiar with another of my hobbies, which involves muddy tracks, chainsaws and axes. He reckoned it would be ideal for wooding, and give my old Rangie a well-earned rest from being used as a Hi-Lux.

(Off)road legal
When the vehicle landed, all was not good. The chassis was badly corroded and beyond any kind of MOT attempt. The upside was the age of the vehicle.It looked like a Series One to me, but not actually having much of a clue about these things I assumed it was a Series Two because it was registered in 1962. On that basis, I bought it thinking it would be ideal to use away from the public highway and could serve as a restoration project the following summer.

It was used twice, and it hasn't moved since. It sits bang outside the front door.

This is, possibly, what they mean by utilitarian
This is, possibly, what they mean by utilitarian
Joining the PH team spurred me into action earlier this year. Fellow motoring writer Andrew Frankel re-framed his Landie a few years back - the job was quick and of high quality. He bought the chassis from Richards Chassis, so I phoned them and asked what was the best procedure.

Heart of the matter
The bloke with the skills is Paul Marsden. Frankel's S2 was one of his first jobs, since then he has completed more than 100 new chassis rebuilds - he told me to send some pics and he'd confirm what the car was and what might be done with it.

In his opinion it was a Series One. This was both good and bad news.

Good because it makes a more interesting vehicle with potentially a greater value. Bad because I couldn't just buy a chassis for it. I had to contact the Series One owners club which, incidentally, Paul had done to get the exact date and type of my car. To some people this would be a pain, but I was rather enjoying the sleuthing.

Paintwork one clue to original ownership!
Paintwork one clue to original ownership!
Derek Heynes of the club said my old rust tub was in fact a 1956 107-inch pick-up, most probably military, hence the later road registration date. The slightly naughty bit is that you can only order the chassis through the club because it owns the rights to the blueprints and the jigs, which I assume were bequeathed to them by Land Rover itself. The work is still done by Richards, but as you'd expect, there's a significant premium of around £400 plus VAT. Total cost is £1,850 plus VAT, plus delivery.

Add to that the labour for the body off work and no doubt a heap of mechanical fettling, and I doubt there's much profit on offer.

What I want is a mechanically robust, rust-free machine still covered in the original, rather shambolic body panels. This looks to be achievable, so hopefully in the coming weeks I'll drag it oop north and get things started.

1956 (probably) Land Rover Series One 107in Pick-Up
Run by: Chris Harris
Bought: Oct 2010
Mileage: Indeterminate
Purchase price: £1,000, or thereabouts
Last month at a glance: Finding out exactly what it is, learning the eccentricities of the Land Rover club scene ahead of taking the plunge on a new chassis

Previous reports:
PH Fleet: BMW M5 (E28)

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Comments (56) Join the discussion on the forum

  • Krikkit 24 May 2012

    Why not do it yourself? You've got plenty of room to take it to bits if you take a couple of cars and leave them outside.

  • hora 24 May 2012

    Wow I like

  • Ayahuasca 24 May 2012


  • Flewis 24 May 2012

    Surely being pre 1960 it won't need an MOT now?

  • Trusty Steed 24 May 2012

    At last a proper landie, not of those pumped up DC100 thingys!

    Keep it Green and Gold!!

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