Last Registered in ’88! 1959 Land Rover Series II Station Wagon

Without a doubt, the instant I get behind the wheel of this 1959 Land Rover SIIA 109 Station Wagon, I’m going to re-enact the glory days of Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom. More about that in a minute, but first, can you imagine anything more, well, British, than picking a track through the African bush in this Land Rover? This one’s adventures may have occurred in the hinterlands of Brook Park, Ohio where it currently resides. Last registered in 1988, this sturdy-looking beast of burden seeks a new master here on eBay.

This longer (109 inch) wheelbase version of the Series II began in model year 1958, making this one of the earliest made. With two rows of three seats, plus the jump seats in the rear, the “109” could seat 10 or even 12 in a pinch. For those unfamiliar with Wild Kindgom, the action-packed TV travelogue series ran from 1963 until 1971 and, in re-runs, for some years later. The host, Marlin Perkins, with his chiseled side-kick Jim Fowler, traveled remote and savage environs looking for camera-ready animals, preferably the sort that can kill you. Being somewhat advanced in age, Marlin was known to say things like “I’ll wait here in the Land Rover while Jim wrestles the anaconda.”

You have to respect a vehicle with windshield wiper motors as simple replacements for the hand cranks that vehicles had some years prior. Much like a farm tractor, this Land Rover harbors no need for cosmetic fluff, and should be respected all the more for it. Sadly, while the aluminum body has held up well enough, the ferrous superstructure needs structural repairs in numerous areas. Kudos to the seller for thoroughly documenting the vehicle’s shortcomings.

The four-cylinder gas engine had been upgraded to 2.25L for the Series II’s introduction in model year 1958, and while this one turns by hand, it does not run (thanks to for some details). Queen Elizabeth herself has enjoyed time behind the wheel of a Land Rover, an endorsement that may or may not influence the bidding. I’ve done the sort of structural repair that this vehicle needs and, while I wouldn’t call it difficult, it is certainly time-consuming. Land Rovers have a rabid following in America, and I hope this one gets back in the brush, or at least back to running condition, sometime soon. What do you think of this proper British off-road implement?


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  1. SAM61

    Very cool! Keep it stock with a diesel. There’s a campy Bob Hope movie with a fleet of these.

    Can some owners chime in to confirm lack of electrical gremlins?

    • waynard

      Had the identical truck, though in substantially better condition. Engine was tired though; dropped in a Chevy straight 6 and it ran perfectly. No electrical gremlins on mine.

  2. Adam T45 Staff

    Interesting that you mention Queen Elizabeth II in this article, Todd. When you consider all of the modern four-wheel drives available to the Royal Family (who, let’s face it, aren’t short of a quid), the Land Rover remains the vehicle of choice for the Royal Family for tackling the wilds of Scotland when they venture to holiday at Balmoral Castle.

  3. Loco Mikado

    I remember watching Wild Kingdom in the 60’s. As you said some of the comments were dry humor.

  4. Dave Wright

    I met Marlin Perkins, he was a friend of my professor and friend at the university of Idaho. Nice guy but was a serious drinker. He spent a weekend with us at the Doc’s study area in northeastern Washington probably 45 years ago. I owned an old Rover like this but mine had an early GM V6 transplanted. These vehicles bodies are mostly aluminum but have systemic problems with parts like the bulkheads (firewall) corroding requiring replacement. This is another vehicle (like the mini) that everything is available for. All it takes is money.

  5. Francisco

    If you ever watched the show Wild Kingdom you will see that Marlin Perkins was often in the thick of things, and I do remember him wrestling an anaconda. It was Johnny Carson who perpetuated the joke about Marlin having a cocktail while Jim Fowler was putting his life on the line. Anyway, We had a Land Rover when I was growing up, and I seem to remember it was written somewhere on the vehicle (perhaps in the owner’s manual): “By appointment to Her Majesty the Queen.” The frame on our vehicle rusted pretty badly, the springs did too. I don’t remember ever having any problems with the electronics. The engine, though, that was another story, and had to be rebuilt at least once.

  6. Madmatt

    These sure were rugged,and very utilitarian,I am also sure
    That Marlin,and Jim had some serious back aches,
    After Wheeling out on the Savannah.?Funny how as soon as I saw this I thought of that show..!? 🤔I would love to see this redone,
    With a few modern items, and some nice off-road tires.
    These are really neat to see,and quite rare,here in the states.
    Someone will have a very cool S.U.V. soon 😎..!

  7. Bob

    I owned a Landrover 88 followed by a 109, and the watchword was prepare to go slow. 50 mph on the highway was about all you wanted to do, In the woods, it was a different story, they were an exceptionally good crawler. I hd no problems with rust, but the electrical system was a nightmare until I installed a Delco alternator.
    The other thing I hated about the Landrover, was that the axle was designed to break just slightly beyond the spline, which required pulling the pumpkin to knock the stub out.
    After I sold the 109, I bought a Diesel Landcruiser, and it was a much better designed vehicle, but you could watch the body rust. My perfect combination would be, a Landrover body on Toyota running gear.
    They all did the job.

  8. tony penachio

    What a fun truck! Amoung other adventures turned a 25.56 et at Dover dragstrip got creamed by a Hudson Hornet while crowd booed for being so slow; hit zero Gs after third whoopdedo on dirt road and chug-a-lug Shlitz beer bottles and crew went airborne; drifted around (uphill!) curve at top of route 37 in Sherman CT on Firestone Town and Countrys which screamed like elephants; did Rat Patrol type front wheels in air on small berms around high school track; blew rear axle power shifting second in Oneonta NY and drove in front wheel drive mode for a while; put in low low to pull out stuck tow trucks or to pull hay wagon while walked outside loading hay off feild (steered thru window); piled 12 like minded fools in went to drive-in in Danbury CT and had a “moon shot” or pressed ham at each window; she finally gave up the ghost delivering produce in NYC. DAMN I miss those days, those friends and that truck!

  9. Iron Mistress

    Had a 1960 that needed rod bearings, couldn’t wait for Atlantic British to get them but found a Massey Ferguson tractor set that was a perfect match at the local tractor dealer. Ran great for many years after.

  10. Rube Goldberg Member

    Anybody else see a strong resemblance to the Toyota FJ55? It’s no secret Toyota copied Land Rover here. This would be perfect in my new home of Colorado. I’ve seen a couple of these running around. They made a ton of these, so I doubt parts would be a problem. Little rough around the edges, but completely usable. Great find. Aside from the Jeep, these were the 2nd most popular 4×4. Hollywood loved them.

  11. sid Beckwith

    Electrical problems? Oh yeah. Anything built by Lucas Electrical was prone to gremlins. L/R owners refer to Lucas as The Prince of Darkness. Corrosion problems, axle shafts and a few other idiosyncrasies, still, after soem 509 years, my addiction persists.

  12. sid Beckwith

    Correction, 50 years. Also, like seeing the transmission/transfer case sitting in the back. Those neat little Windshield wiper motors are running $250 each, used! Rotsa Ruck.

  13. Harry Hodson

    Funny, I grew up on Wild Kingdom, but the show that comes to mind seeing this Rover was ‘Daktari’ with Marshal Thompson.

    • Rob M.

      With Clarence the cross-eyed lion!

  14. Nevis Beeman

    How many have noticed and maybe wondered about the RAC badge affixed to the front grill ?

    This stands for Royal Automobile Club, who would have uniformed mechanics patrolling the highways & byways of the U.K.and willing to assist
    Paid up members whose vehicles “failed to proceed” for whatever reason !

    For many years these mechanics patrolled on motorcycle & sidecars !

  15. Scott Tait

    Brst engines where the 2.5 and 3.5 petrol , tje deisel was lumpy and unrefined and underpowerd … these rusted but not as much as early jap copies
    ..depended on use and climate … theres series 1’s in africa on origonal chassis and engines …more modern versions are better rust protected but body panels are no longer Birmabright (Aluminium, Manganese and Magnesium alloy)

  16. Bubba5

    ” while I stay in the safety of the helicopter, Jim will attempt to give the angry hippo an enema”….”oh watch out Jim! He doesn’t seem to like that”…hahaha

  17. Kurt Brunenkant

    Steel grilles, with the headlamps in the Breakfast are the best. Notice the round Smith’s heater, they are hard to find!

    The pic is a 63 Series IIA LR I picked up and refurbished while I was working in the UK. Brought it to the States when I moved back. Sold it in 2010. They have tripled in price since then.

    Like 1
  18. DanH

    Drop in an OM617 turbo diesel.
    NOW your talkin!

  19. wade

    if the wire harness is not smoking it might just be low on smoke. part number lucas 530433

    • M1008

      Lucas, also known as Prince of Darkness, can’t believe no one has pointed that out

  20. the one

    77K ,one boulder at a time..

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