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Imported from England: 1962 Land Rover Project

If you watch movies like Born Free or Hatari! from the 1960s, you’re likely to see a Land Rover running around. Nothing like the ultra-luxurious Land Rovers of today, they were rough-and-tough Jeep-like pickups with aluminum bodies. The Series IIA (built from 1961 to 1971) is considered the sturdiest by many, like this 1962 edition with right-hand drive. It’s a project on rollers that will need mechanical and cosmetic attention. From Temperance, Michigan, it’s available here on eBay where it’s not seen much love in terms of bidding ($760, unmet reserve).

Rover Company (then later British Leyland) started building the “Series” Rovers after World War II. They would be the first production 4WD vehicles with doors and an optional roof produced for John Q. Public. Due to a lack of steel after WW2, Rover went with aluminum for the bodies as a whole lot more of it was available. This decision may have led to their longevity. A friend of mine had one of these in the 1970s (I don’t recall the model or year) and he beat the heck out of it, and yet it just kept going and going (like the Eveready bunny).

The seller describes this Rover as a barn find. The original owner bought it in England and had it shipped to the U.S., so we assume it’s street-legal. Parts of the body that have metal contain rust and the floors of the cab have older sheet metal laid over top of what was originally there. The 2.5-liter inline-4 (which runs on gasoline) does turn over, but will it need any work?

Perhaps the Achilles Heel of the truck, the original transmission was pulled, and a replacement 4-speed sourced, but the then-owner didn’t proceed further. So, you have two transmissions to choose from, one working (maybe) and one not. The Rover has a 2-speed transfer case, and the towing capacity is ¼-ton. Though we assume the vehicle was produced for the home market (hence the RHD), the speedometer tracks miles rather than kilometers. Why buy a Jeep when you can have a Land Rover?


  1. Derek

    J registration is 1970/71, so a late 2A. Good auld buses.

    Like 1
    • Martin Horrocks

      Agreed on plate. This is 1971, not 1961 issue.

      Like 0
  2. greg
  3. Chris Cornetto

    A far cry from today’s row warmer u pull-a-part citizens. These are in the same category as the early Broncos. Very overrated and way overpriced. No daily ride here unless your in the Outback or Savanah.

    Like 2
    • Jim

      This is a utility vehicle that was meant for work, not taking the daughter’s to ballet school. Very underrated compared to today’s SUVs that couldn’t handle a snow storm.

      Like 1
  4. Piros1

    We had two when I was a kid an 1964 and a 1965, both were the 88” wheelbase. We sold both in the early 1970’s. I drove them a fair amount offroad around the mountains of CO never on the street. They served a purpose but I remember they were quite underpowered even in low range. Our first one was a 1964 canvas top and seemed to have the most power but was lighter. Our second one was a 1965 and dealer referred to it as a wagon, it had the ventilated hard top and really seemed underpowered. We bought both when they were new so the soft top we didn’t own that long but the 65 wagon seemed to break axles and springs often. As for as how tough and durable they were I think that was just a lot of hype. They were used in the jungles of Africa and in the movies but I think that was mainly because of the strong presence of the British and that is what was available back in those days. A Toyota Land Cruiser was a superior vehicle on all ways.
    From what I remember the body and front bumper was aluminum, the body trim down the horizontal middle was galvanized steel this was also structural got the body, and the frame on ours was galvanized steel as well at least that is what I remember and believe that is what the dealer had told my father at the time and think that was noted in the brochure as well. Not a very comfortable ride for an adult but they made a lot of family memories for us. Not sure I would spend the money it would take to restore this one. Going to be an expensive venture I’m sure.

    Like 1
  5. Neil Skirton

    Looks a lovely little ‘series ‘ . That won’t present much of a challenge , just look for rust on the chassis and bulkhead. Electrics will be a mess but nothing much to it. That’s a good price and if it was back in Blighty I would go for it.and yes they are very tough , just need to service it and look after it and it will run for years

    Like 2
  6. Wes Stinson

    Wondering if this is a military surplus model.

    A dead ringer for a 1962 I once owned. It was military surplus with a 24-volt system. The electrics were a huge problem, but it was a great ride for a while.

    Like 0
  7. Joe Anastasi

    looks like a great rover to restore, I have owned 3 in the past and still have a 1970 11a they are very capable offroad when everything is operating as should, a bit slow for highway use, easy to work on.

    Like 0
  8. Solosolo UK solosolo Member

    All speedometers on all cars sold in UK are shown predominately in miles with km included in normally a smaller print. UK supposedly went Metric in 1965 but the Brits just won’t change. We have to buy our petrol in litres and then convert if we want to know what mpg we are getting.

    Like 2
  9. geomechs geomechs Member

    Definitely newer than 1961. Steering wheel tells me that it’s newer. It’s likely using an alternator to keep those Lucas, Prince of Darkness electrics working.

    Not to be malicious but Lucas electrics are different. Not bad but different. I had British bikes and an MGB plus worked on lots of British vehicles and industrial units so I know most of the quirks. I also know most of the jokes.

    I wouldn’t kick this truck off my driveway but I have to say that I would prefer one from the earlier 60s. However, there’s nothing wrong with this one that a lot of work and a few pints 🍺 won’t fix…

    Like 3
  10. Trevor

    I’ve had three of these all series, 3 models, one right hand drive. They are incredibly crude drafty, and you get wet when it rains incredibly slow and loud but you don’t have to worry about speeding tickets and you always have a smile on your face every time you drive it. Right hand drive poses a challenge at drive-through’s and parallel parking is difficult even though you would think it would be easier.

    Like 0
  11. Troy

    I think this would be fun to have, I would mount a steering wheel to the dash on the left side then drive around with my 7 year old great grandson just to get peoples reactions

    Like 2
    • geomechs geomechs Member

      A friend of mine had an MGB with RHD. He used to love driving down the freeway with his german shepherd. My friend would slink right down and it looked like the dog was driving. He finally got pulled over but the highway patrol couldn’t find anything that really was wrong except that he might distract a bunch of drivers and cause a collision…

      Like 3

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