Off Roader Needs New Owner: 1968 Land Rover Series IIA

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Barn Finds reader Jacob C. asks “Are you ready for a restoration safari?” Thanks for the find, Jacob! This 1968 Land Rover Series IIA might just be that off-roader you’ve been looking for! It’s located in Flagler Beach, Florida and is listed for sale here on eBay, where bidding is just over $5,000 as I write this.

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Although it’s not in these pictures, the sale includes a hard top with a “clam shell” lift gate the seller tells us is rare. I really like the fact this vehicle looks used but not abused. I have found over the years that the British cars I’m familiar with suffer more from not being used while in storage than they do from actually being used.

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That winch setup really looks like it means business! The tires look pretty decent in this shot as well, although I think I would have expected to see a more aggressive tread pattern. This “Landie” is gasoline-powered, but unfortunately the seller doesn’t show us under the bonnet (or the hood, for that matter!).

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They do, however, show us some beautiful frame shots. For those that don’t know, the majority of this basic Land Rover’s body is aluminum, leading some to believe that corrosion isn’t an issue with these vehicles–but it is! The frames and bulkheads are steel, with all the rust risks that come with it. This Series IIA has a galvanized steel chassis to prevent, or at least slow down, corrosion. We don’t get any pictures of the bulkhead, but if it’s in as nice shape as the rest of the vehicle we can see, this might turn out to be the best “project” Land Rover I’ve seen in a good long time.

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I’m not sure where exactly this picture was taken, but that does look like rust to me at the lower part of the picture; at least surface rust. The advertisement states that the Land Rover starts and runs well, but could be helped by a set of new springs and some cosmetic work. I’m not sure I’d do a lot cosmetically if I were going to use it as it was intended, off the road. What about you?

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Comments

  1. Dave Wright

    I have owned a couple of these……they have always been an interesting vehicle. Another British car that every nut bolt and part is available for. To me……this looks like an older model. I had a 68 that had roll up side windows but being British eccentric it could be correct. Mostly Aluminum body has corrosion issues in the firewall and they were a poor highway vehicle until the V8’s were installed. An overdrive helps but only to a point. This one looks good particularly at the current price level but there isn’t much information. They were built with a huge variety of engines and accessories like a Scout. You can even still buy new frames for them. One of the products the Brits are really proud of.

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    • Matt Tritt

      Dave…. Land Rovers were never supplied with roll-up windows clear through the entire “Series” years. Landy doors were made to be removed or taken apart so that the sliding glass top section could be left off if desired, which obviously wouldn’t work with a roll-up window assembly. This one has overdrive and could easily be driven at highway speeds, just not at current day freeway hyper-speed. If only this one were nearer! I owned two Series II Rovers and loved them, but that was also when they were more contemporary vehicles.

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      • Dave Wright

        Mine must have been retrofitted. It was the second Rover that I owned and the roll up windows were a big deal to me. My first rover was a 109 with safari top and sliding plastic Windows. The visibility was terrible out the side. I know they would do highway speeds but I have never been a fan of driving a vehicle at it’s top speed. It is too hard on the mechanicals. Mine with the overdrive and 6 cyl gas was not happy over 50MPH. I still use a Discovery as an every day vehicle, it is very tractable. When in Europe last fall I was amazed at the number of Defenders I saw in Germany…….I was looking for a Gwagon to buy…….I asked the Mercedes dealer why there were so many British Rovers…….he explained they were 1/2 the price as the G wagon.

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  2. Dave Wright

    It will be interesting to see what out Canadian and British friends say about it.

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  3. Dolphin Dolphin Staff

    I have never owned a Landie but my experience has been that older models like this are quaint, but that they just aren’t suited to typical No American use. You would be taking a serious risk to drive this through L.A. in fast, aggressive I-5 traffic.

    These are made for narrow winding rural roads, farms, and the outback. I have a bunch of vintage brochures for these and every one of them shows them in those and similar situations, without an interstate in sight. I think anyone considering one of these should really think of it as a local use only novelty vehicle. That’s not intended to be harsh. I just think it’s realistic.

    Here’s some specs I found for this car:
    about 70 HP (varies with source)
    Kerb weight 3,280 pounds
    Top speed 70 MPH
    0-60 MPH 27.3 sec

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  4. Bill

    Had a 1958 as a daily driver a while back. it was AWESOME.. any car that can make you smile on your wayto work is worth having. it’s a well built vehicle, reasonably easy to repair, and with Overdrive a 60 mph hiway speed is attainable (for gas units) Mine was diesel however, and while it was great on fuel, i had a highway commute that was a little too far to handle the “character” of a nearly 50 year old tractor. It was super around town though. I’d do it again in a heartbeat. this is well priced so far. Parts are easy to get too.

    Oh.. I had the clamshell door top.. they are not rare. The “Safari top” is rare and desirable.

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  5. Howard A Member

    Flagler Beach, you say? ( raising eyebrows) Once, on one of my many trips to Fla. we stayed in Flagler Beach. When telling some neighbors at the condo in Cocoa Beach where we stayed, they murmured to themselves and finally said there’s a nudist colony there. ( never saw that, but did see an elderly lady wearing earmuffs in 60 degree weather)
    These were pretty rare in the mid-west, and were up against some pretty stiff competition ( everything was Jeep), but there’s quite a following for these, especially since they stopped making them. Sign of the times, I guess. Cool truck. John Gage ( Randolph Mantooth) in the hoaky TV series “Emergency” drove one like this. Matter of fact, Hollywood has used Land Rover’s in all kinds of movies.

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  6. Matt Tritt

    That rusty thing under the car is the gas tank. Everything else looks good, but this car does have Maine plates!

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    • Jamie Jamie Staff

      Thanks Matt, good to know!

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  7. Jason Houston

    Now I can see why the first Broncos were so successful.

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  8. Matt Tritt

    Dave – Your sliders should have been glass, not plastic. Both my cars had the tropical roof with the single hinged rear door, but the 109 was Diesel. It had two spares: one on the hood and one on the rear door; window screens, full length Brownchurch roofrack and ladder, spare inner tubes, patch kits, hoses, belts, injectors, sand ladders and who knows what else. I was bought new at the factory by a German friend who ran a horse farm in Switzerland and then sold to another American friend, who outfitted it for crossing the Sahara. After making it about 13/d of the way, they wisely baled and had the car shipped to Chile from Tunisia. They then drove from the tip at Tierra del Fuego to Cartajena where they caught a ferry to Central America – then drove all the way to Santa Barbara. I bought the car from him (with new Michelins) for 4 Grand and immediately installed a Fairey overdrive, which made it useable on 1977 freeways. My complaints on this vehicle? Underpowered on mountain roads, embarrasing amount of tailpipe smoke and ALL of the rubber bits wasted away quickly, which made the doors rattle and the springs move from side to side because of rubber bushings. Working on stuff under the hood was awkward because of the fender height and the weight of the 750-16 lockring wheel and tire. It also would have benefited from a rear locker – but it was still the most capable off-road station wagon in the world at that time never once left me stranded in the back country. I swapped the Diesel for a 4 cyl petrol engine, which made it better in the mountains. I used the car for my work in exploring for potential wind farm locations all over the Southern Cal deserts, which it handled with ease.

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    • Dave Wright

      My windows were defiantly plastic. The 109 had a 2.8 GM V6 when I bought it. Worked pretty well. I think it liked higher RPM than the orignal engine. I am sure they are very reliable but all my African white hunter buddies that grew up with them have gone to the dark side……Toyota…….I don’t do Oriental so still hold out hope for the Rovers. I still think a G wagon with its superior locking system or my Scout with factory locking differintal is superior off road unles the Rover has been modified. But they are great. Probably not as versatile as some with there limited highway capabilities and towing capacity…….my Scouts can tow a house. Head to head with a period short wheelbase Jeep, I prefer the Rover. The CJ5’s and earlier jeeps are scary to me on the highway, particularly with big power. I had 2 buddies killed in a roll over in a new CJ5 when a seinor in Highschool. Going fast down the highway, hit a spot of ice, slid a bit sideways and hit a dry spot. If they had been in a Rover, they would probably still be here for a couple of reasons. They wouldn’t have been driving at 65 in a Rover and they are much more stable.

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  9. Matt Tritt

    Somebody probably didn’t want to pay the big bucks to replace broken door glass and opted for Lexan? Of course a Gelaendewagen is superior, but big cost difference! I had a new Scout in 1961. I had 4 wheel posi and was pulled out of a sand hill by a Rover. This is what got me interested in Landys in the first place. Had a lot of different 4X4 rigs over the years but the best has been my 94 Montero 3.0. It’ll go anywhere, handles like a sportscar and gets great MPG. It’s pretty much everything I expected from my Rovers but never got!

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  10. Brendan

    Ripe for a transplant with a small displacement Cummings turbo-diesel and modern 5-speed.

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  11. Gerry

    If you’re over about 5’10” and love your knees, keeping looking. I drove an SIII for years and trust me, at 6’2″, it was the only thing “wrong” for me in an 88″ Land Rover. I love Land Rovers – but, you will work on it constantly.

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  12. MountainMan

    Solid old Landie, sure to find a buyer..obviously lots of loyal fans for these

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  13. john e

    the old saying if you want to go into the outback take a land rover.. if you want to come back take a land cruiser

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    • Matt Tritt

      I can see that. I found several FJ-40’s for the Nature Conservancy operation on Santa Cruz Island years ago. They’re the ONLY vehicles that can take the drastic situations there and come back in one piece. The “Chevy 6” copy provides just the right torque across the power range and won’t break the drivetrain bits and pieces when making it out of a creekbed. I sure wish they hadn’t been “discovered”. Wondering if your Landy’s rear axleshaft is going to make it when in the middle of nowhere can be interesting.

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      • Dave Wright

        We put those out there with my 118 foot landing craft………I have pictures.

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  14. Matt Tritt

    Whaaat? You must be in Ventura, or? Do you know Brian Guerrero?

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  15. Dave Wright

    I bought my compan in Santa Barbera. We work the entire west coast. At that time I owned and operated 2 LCU’s and several tug and workboats. It was one of my LCU’s that delivered the Park Services LCM8 from Rio Vista. We did a lot of work for the park service, Navy, State Lands commission, Oceaneering international, many insurance companies as well as the Coast Guard. We moved to the Bay Area but still work all up and down the coast from Alaska to Central America, I now have a ranch in Idaho but still keep my hand in. I bought my first Land Rover from Mcarty towing in Oxnard. I am sure all the guys I knew are gone now but the last time I was there I looked up Jim Johnson……owner of Buckneer marine in Ventura. He was still kicking and doing well. Lots of stories……I think the director of the Channel Islands National Park was Jack Fitsimons? Something like that. I still own some moorings in the Santa Barbera area. Lots of fun. We did all the long range rescue work for Vessel Assist as well. They didn’t have any boats that could reach the outer islands and make it back. They learned that when we had to rescue one of there boats and the one they were towing back from San Miguel island. I bought the company 25 years ago. It had one tug at the time.

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  16. Matt Tritt

    Far out! I worked for my dad’s boat building company in SB from 62 through early 69 (with the Army getting in the way from 65 through 68), and later I had a yacht and commercial boat brokerage till late 79. We did a lot of island sailing. The work I did on Santa Cruz was in the mid 80’s – before the park service took over from the conservancy. In the early 60’s my dad was offered a part ownership of the island from Dr. Stanton – before he had to give up because of back taxes. He made the offer to a group of guys from Montecito (including dad) hoping to make enough to pay off the government. We were all for it, except I had a step-brother who had to stay in school – and then everybody came up similar reasons why they couldn’t do it. Always regretted that not happening!

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  17. Dave Wright

    You probably knew Dick Kahn, Ventura Yacht sales?…..he was a good friend of mine. We capped the lid wells in the Summerland beach in the 90’s. I was always sorry to see the government take over the islands. I did meet Dr Stanton once……never got to know him well. So, you lived in Montecito? Did you know Johanathan Winters? What a great guy. He used to hang out at the burger place on Christmas lane. He loved my crews. It sometimes took hours to get them out of there when he showed up. I lived in Carpinteria a long time. It was a good compromise between Santa Barbera and Pt Hueneme. So, what did your dad build? Radons? I used to pick them up,in the channel regularly when the urchin divers tried to run 40 knots back from the islands fully loaded. Many times upside down……but they never sank. Julie Hazard was the harbor chief in Santa Barbera. I had a guy cut the lines on one of my 50 foot workboats moored off shore on a blustery night. It drifted into the notch of the pier, they evacuated all the resturaunts ……..we got the boat out and back but I know own a dozen or so pilings and all the potential receipts of the night for the pier busisness for a week. Lots of stories………….I have a small 48 foot tug laying in 135 feet off coal oil point…….another story. We owned a slip on the Navy Pier for our smaller workboats.

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  18. Matt Tritt

    I was there before Jonathan Winters moved down from Saucelito, but he was definitely a funny (and unpredicatble) guy! My dad was the founder and designer of Glasspar – then Hudson River Boat Co. The name was a kind of inside joke. We always made fun of Radons because of the bow-heavy design, or stern-heavy, depending, and the clumsy lines. I watched one blow up at the fuel dock one day while working on the floating drydock (which we built). A guy standing on one of the engine hatches went sailing clear over the Navy Pier and started swimming before he hit the water. Talk about lucky! We also did design and mold work for Santa Barbara Yachts, and Pearson on the East coast. I worked on one of Castagnola’s tugs once…. My buddy Tony Tomlinson drove one for years, but talk about a scary job. Climbing up the side of a huge tanker in a sea without getting squished was dicey work. When I was a kid in Newport, the back bay was full of beached landing craft – some LST’s and a lot of smaller ones. They basically giving em away then. The money that went into WWII!

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    • Dave Wright

      I off course knew Castagnolas well both on the water and at there restaurant. You must have known Larry Smith……Scarab boats? We did work for him testing some of his off shore designs after he moved to Ventura. We set anchors for the DB Sampson crane ship when it was resetting the offshore moorings………there wan an old guy on the navy pier…..Sam, something….he owned the small tug Sampson that layed next to our tug. Tenacious on the navy Pier and a larger workboat on an inside mooring. I knew your dry dock well too. Parked on the end of one of the docks. I have some photos of it too in my stash. We did a lot of work there after a south western storm would come through and blow the junk boats laying on moorings on the beach. Most were there because the owners could not afford to stay in a slip and were in poor shape and none of them had insurance so the city would hire us to demo them. I haven’t thought about that stuff for years. I was more hands on then. Youth and all that. We are probably boring these car guys’ll!!!!!

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