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Rare Safari Roof! 1963 Land Rover IIA

Move over old Jeeps, Scouts, and Broncos, today we are going to feature a 1963 Land Rover Series IIA. These rough and ready, go-anywhere utility vehicles don’t make the web pages here often but this beautiful Bloomfield, Michigan resident is certainly worthy of review. It appears to have been restored so let’s look it over in detail. If you’re interested, it’s available, here on eBay for a current no-reserve bid of $18,800 with twenty-one bids tendered so far.

So, our subject vehicle is a Series IIA (’61-’71) and not just a Series II (’58-’61). Research indicates that three body styles were available, a two and four-door wagon as well as a pickup truck version. Export markets consumed approximately 70% of production and our find is a North American spec vehicle.

The finish is described by the seller as being “stunning” so I imagine that it’s a repaint though that’s not specifically stated. The seller mentions, “It’s in great condition throughout and everything works as it should including heat and fan blower, all-new electrical harness, new brakes, new clutch, new high Amps alternator, new battery, new Weber carburetor, new fuel tank, all-new suspension, and leafs, new rebuilt wiper motors, new OEM lights, new door locks and latches, new ignition, new windshield defrosts heater ducts, and so much more. Receipts included in sales“. The receipts should foot back to the $20K that he claims he spent on mechanical and electrical work. As for the body, there’s no sign of offroad 4X4 mayhem or rust. Perhaps its most notable feature is the raised, double-skin safari roof – it’s supposedly a rare option but the seller neglects to tell us how rare. Finally, I think it might take me a while to get used to looking through the windshield and spying a tire affixed to the bonnet!

The listing states, “It starts as it should, it drives straight and powerful and is great on freeway speed and especially with the new overdrive now installed” and that’s thanks to a 77 HP, 2.25 liter, in-line four-cylinder engine and a four-speed manual transmission. That honestly doesn’t sound like enough oomph to move a 3,700 lb. vehicle with alacrity but so be it as the seller claims.

The interior is all business – spartan, efficient, and ready for whatever the wild chooses to throw at it. The seating upholstery and floor mats show as new and I have to say that I don’t think I’ve ever seen a defroster setup like that before. The no-frills instrument panel has a few scratches but that’s it and it doesn’t appear as if any aspect of this Land Rover has had a rhinoceros run-in.

I have never had the opportunity to drive or ride in a Land Rover such as this Series IIA but I imagine it’s a bit primitive but would be perfect for surveying your north forty or whatever you call your kingdom. And that leads us to “What to do with it” time. If you were interested in this proper British four-by-four, how would you employ it?


  1. Derek

    If you’re going full Landy-perv, there’s a forward-control mid-60s former fire engine one for sale in Loanhead. An ocean away, admittedly, but there’s a phone number shown in the windscreen if you want it.

    Like 1
  2. mike

    This is a beautifully done Land Rover.

    Like 3
    • Fred

      I have a 73 Series III — same emgine and drivetrain, with an overdrive. I can comfortably drive at 60. 65 is pushing it.

      Like 1
  3. Slomoogee

    The only thing that will rub on this Land Rover is a polishing cloth. I really like these but not as a British car show entrant. And I’m not sure even with overdrive that you would keep up with traffic on a 75 mph interstate.

    Like 4
  4. Yblocker

    Well, I could maybe live with staring at the spare tire going down the road, but what the he!!s up with the dash, driver and passenger climate control? Lol. I remember these on some TV show back in the 60s chasing wild animals in Africa or somewhere. Homely little critters they are

    Like 2
  5. DelBoy

    The bits covering the windscreens are for de-misting. Driving in the rain with the windows rolled up leads to the inside windows sweating like mad and a pain to drive. Use to put my daily rubbish in the tire on the front of my Landie to trundle it up to the public rubbish collection bins; very handy. These are hands-on, four turns lock to lock, zero power steering, bicep and callus building cars. Driving one is better than going to the gym. Seventy five MPH is about their limit and the steering feels like it’s on novocain. Not for the faint hearted.

    Like 5
    • John Eder

      75? I never had my 2A over 65, if that (with an overdrive). The desire to go faster in a vehicle like this (same as a Unimog) often turns into a case of “be careful what you wish for”. On a long downhill, you can get them to go faster (assuming that you haven’t down shifted), but that’s not always a good thing…

      Like 7
  6. DA

    There appears to be some bubbling of paint in the rear, perhaps other areas, so I would not call the finish “stunning”, except maybe against what it could look like for the age or other examples. The frame is a general issue with these, and while the limited pictures of the frame appear to show some surface rust, the frame may be just fine. I’d imagine at some point it had been replaced. I’m surprised that the seller did not treat the rusty areas better. Due to many aluminum body panels, rust does not form, but corrosion does – so word to the wise.

    DelBoy describes the handling perfectly, and the ride is stiff and choppy.

    Like 2
  7. BimmerDude Member

    Living in Northern New Hampshire in the late 60’s the used Land Rover at the VW dealer seemed to be a perfect vehicle for the upcoming winter. After some “discussion” the selling dealer agreed to meet their 30 day warranty and have the rod knock fixed. Yes, it was choppy but also would go anywhere as long as you mastered the lack of synchro in first and second. The upshift was actually easy if it was timed, usually no need to double-clutch.
    The Rover was also great in mud season. We often pulled pickup trucks that had buried themselves.
    However, all is not aluminum: driving home one night I stepped on the high beam switch and it fell through the rotted floor! And, don’t forget: 6 volts, positive ground.
    We did one long drive to Boston for a wedding, must have been about 90 deg. outside but a little warmer in the car, no tropical roof on ours, we did not do that again. Moving the spare tire to the back door marginally improved the airflow into the vents under the windshield glass too.

    Like 2
  8. John Eder

    I rebuilt the engine in my 2A. When I picked up the engine parts from the machine shop, the invoice had a charge for “Machining of tractor crankshaft”… yes, it was really stout!

    Like 0
  9. Martin Horrocks

    The Safari roof is curious rather than rare, but a nice thing to have. They were pretty common in hot climate markets.

    Like 1
  10. Jake Crowley

    My Dad had a ‘65 Series IIA about 20 years ago. He only had it for about a year and he sold it. I’m currently restoring a ‘62 Willys Jeep Station Wagon but I still wish we still had the Rover!

    Like 0

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