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

  • smartphone hater 28 May 2012

    I own a couple of old LRs & agree they are wondrous things & love every minute of driving & owning them but lets be honest, they are absolutely awful things so I find it hard to explain or understand my passion for them.

    Just a few weeks ago I was following a series 1 107 the same as the op's on ebay & was very tempted. It was in worse condition than the op's & finally sold for about a thousand which was more than I was prepared to pay for something I couldn't really justify buying in the first place.

    The thing which tempted me though was I noticed some of the colours it had been painted in the past, LR did do some marvellous colours back in the day, & I could picture this old 107 looking pristine in the bright gloss yellow that was poking through the layers of red, blues etc I could see in the pic.

    The 107 is a lovely looking vehicle & I'd love one in bright yellow with no canvas & either 109 or 101 wheels for that meatier but original look.

    Good luck op that's a great project, I'm more than a little envious. smile

    Edited by smartphone hater on Monday 28th May 09:42

  • Max_Torque 27 May 2012

    I vote that CH spends some of his "winnings" on his RS4.0 on "saving" a bit of British history !!

    Lets face it, it doens't really matter what condition it is actually in, everything can be fixed with some ££ and a hammer, so chuck a new chassis under it, run through the drivetrain (few near bearing and seals, some oil + a bit of TLC) and you'll have a nice little run around. Good for another 50 years service.

    My absolute favourite car ever on PH is the guys who was left it by his dad, the blue team GB S1 that took his dad's Bobslegh team to Austria (or somewhere similar) in the late 50's. Lovely car and a great history to go with it ;-)

  • thayward 27 May 2012

    I have to say the Series 1, 107 inch is possibly one of the coolest Landys ever made. Always wanted one but never been in the right place at the right time. Great project and all the best with it.

  • splitpin 26 May 2012

    A.J.M said:
    Steadily heading the way of mk1-2 escorts.
    Somewhere between about 50p and £75K then? wink

  • BigTom85 25 May 2012

    Agreed that the patina adds charm. Get it mechanically sound and keep it looking as close to how it looks now as is possible. smile

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