Ready for Adventure: 1969 Rover Series IIA Beauty

Garr LarsonBy Garr Larson

I have a soft spot for British classics. Barbour’s Beaufort waxed cotton jacket. A Hardy LRH Dry Fly Split 9-foot fly rod. Sarson’s malt vinegar applied liberally to freshly fried fish and chips. Perhaps no other UK created classic is quite as iconic to me as the Land Rover Series IIA – the stately, utilitarian travel trunk inspired 4 x 4 like the beauty found here on eBaythanks to reader Matt Williams.

This survivor looks ready for your next adventure, after a lifetime of hauling sportsmen a crossed the Scottish moors for sporting clay days, or just as ready to confidently explore the lowlands of the Serengeti. Ok, perhaps I idealize the outdoor experience a bit more than the mechanical, safety, and comfort experience Rover’s actually provide – but I’ve always had a bent for work-horses over race-horses. It’s why a Royal Enfield is my two-wheeled preference over a cushy Goldwing.

Everyone know’s that vintage Defenders have skyrocketed in value in the past 10 years – but oddly the larger capacity Series IIA models have remained affordable. Currently at under $7k, this 109” “Station Wagon” can technically seat up to 12 and is powered by the original 6 cylinder gas engine (most likely a 2.6 liter) with 4 speeds. The seller, Dutch Safari out of Austin Texas (that specialize’s in vintage Range Rovers), notes this ’69 has a Designa Chassis – which means the chassis is a new full-to-spec replacement galvanized under-carriage made by Designa Classics out of Dorchester, England.

About 1 in 20 vehicles (ok, 1 out of 10) I have the honor to write about actually compels me to check the savings account, or ponder which of my car’s might go on the auction block to make room for another project. This is one of them. Two summers ago I made the trek to Bainbridge Island with cash in hand to purchase a 1974 Defender 88, only to have it sold out from under me. Believe me, I’ll be watching this closely over the next few days to see if this British Beauty will be making the trek from Texas to Tacoma very soon!

 

 

 

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Comments

  1. RayT Member

    The ad says this has a 2.2 liter engine. I believe that has four cylinders….

    Could make the trek from Texas to Washington a leisurely one!

    4
  2. Beatnik Bedouin

    What’s the rush, Ray? 😉

    They are slow, not particularly comfortable and thirsty with regards to fuel, but are a lot of fun. I’ve always wanted a Series I or II, which are still available in NZ in various states, from totally rotted steel to fully restored.

    Once I get through a few projects – and yes, I am getting through them – I might consider a Landy or, more likely, the original KGB SUV: the Lada Niva.

    We got them during the Soviet Era in exchange for milk powder, due to the USSR’s lack of international funds. 40 years ago, the Niva was the most advanced off-roader available (excluding its crappy, low-powered OHV engine). Build quality, on the other hand, was ‘variable’, to be polite.

    It’s an interesting footnote in my adopted homeland’s motoring history.

    1
    • CanuckCarGuy

      @ Beatnik, thank you for the memory! I had forgotten about the Lada Niva…they were imported to Canada in the ’80s along with their sedan. An Army buddy of mine had one, and I was floored to see it still had a handcrank! It was absolutely bulletproof, but didn’t like to rollover… that’s what finally killed it.

      2
      • Winnipeg Car Nut

        I saw a Niva on the road here in Winnipeg last week.

        1
    • RayT Member

      Beatnik, I never said I wouldn’t like to have one! I can be pretty leisurely myself, and having once done the Rubicon Trail with a Defender 90 — yes, it had the V8 — I know the things are tough as rocks….

      And having gotten the keys to my father’s Scout 800 shortly after getting my driver’s license, I do know what slow is!

      Your comment about the Lada Niva brings back some memories. Circa 1980, my (ex) wife and I were visiting her parents in Vancouver, B.C., and stopped by the local Lada dealer. Interesting machine, and I had brief wild thoughts of sneaking one into the U.S. But the build quality was, as you say, “variable.” One thing consistent about all the Ladas they had: they were ALL rusting!

      2
      • Beatnik Bedouin

        The joke here is the reason why Ladas have heated rear windows is to keep your hands warm while pushing it.

        I mentioned the Niva in a recent article I wrote for the Vintage Car Club of NZ’s ‘Beaded Wheels’ magazine. The piece was about ten club-eligible cars that young enthusiasts could consider owning/restoring. Amazingly, there were a lot of positive comments about the old Soviet SUV (and Ladas, in general).

        Ray, you’re right about the rust – it was standard equipment on Ladas sent to NZ (not that locally assembled Japanese, British and Australian cars were any better).

        2
  3. Derek

    Aye, two-and-a-quarter petrol most likely. Note also the coil spring conversion.

  4. RayZ

    Always loved all the handles and shifters on the floor, this one only needs more spare tires to be perfect

    1
  5. Tom Smith

    Coil springs, Disco brakes, this one checks all the right boxes. The SWB is very slow; the 109, even slower. It appears to have an overdrive which doesn’t make it much faster but quiets things down a bit.

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