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Ready to Work: 1973 Land Rover 109 Series 2A

The Land Rover started with a Willys Jeep. Post-war Britain was reeling from damage, and demand for cars was at a nadir. No one could afford anything. Rover, maker of British luxury cars, needed a second act, and fast. Maurice Wilks, working as chief engineer at Rover, had acquired a Jeep from the abundant supply of abandoned US Army vehicles scattered around the country. When he wore the Jeep out using it on his farm, he cobbled together a substitute. The first Land Rover used a Jeep chassis, aluminum body panels (thanks to the post-war shortage of steel), Rover running gear, and a Jeep transfer case. Designed for farm use, it had a single seat in the center of the cabin, with a center-mount steering wheel. Wilks’ brother, Spencer, was managing Rover at the time; he approved a limited run of the “Land Rover”. The tough 4X4 was just what the market needed. Well over 4 million Land Rovers have been sold since production began in 1947 and in a testament to the vehicle’s popularity, it has persisted through five corporate owners. Here on eBay is a 1973 Land Rover 109 Series 2A, bid to $5400 with reserve met, located in Houston, Texas. No word from the seller regarding the Yellowstone emblem!

Land Rovers were made in several series. Series overlapped from country to country: the 2A ended production in about 1971 in the US but continued in the UK and Spain beyond that. A tell-tale for the Series 2A was its metal grille – sometimes removed and used for frying meat while adventuring in the bush. Later Series 3s have a plastic grille. Wheelbases were either 88″ or 109″; this is a two-door 109″ version. It has a double-skin “safari” roof – modestly cooler in the desert sun. Dents all around are not unusual for Land Rovers and may in fact be a point of pride. This Landie’s gauge cluster is in the center of the dash – typical for pre-Series 3s. The seller says the instruments and lights work as they should. The driver’s seat needs a new cover. It has a hitch in the rear, but no PTO, dang it.

A 2.25-liter four-cylinder diesel engine nestles in the engine bay. Horsepower ran around 60-70 depending on the year, a considerable improvement over the early motors with only 40-50 ponies. The seller indicates that the four-speed manual, transfer case, and motor work great. The four-wheel drum brakes have been inspected. This Landie had air conditioning at one time; the compressor has been removed but the idler pulley, bracket, and interior switches are still installed.

The undercarriage doesn’t look bad to me except for the broken check strap, but the seller suggests power washing it. Prices are all over the lot depending on condition and configuration. You can pay as little as $20k for a fair Landie, or over $50k for a restomod. If you spring for one, you will gain entry to a club that’s incredibly enthusiastic and knowledgeable. Is this vintage 4X4 as appealing to you as it is to me?


  1. angliagt angliagt Member

    I hate it when people put decals like that on a vehicle like
    this.I really doubt this was ever anywhere near Yellowstone Park,
    or even Montana or Wyoming.

    Like 0
  2. Mark

    California kinda bans ownership of these vehicles unless it’s a specific year, and ‘North American Spec’. Think it was 1993 to 1995. A ‘Rest of the World’ spec requires a $15,000.00 retrofit to the ‘Blue Def’ diesel catalyst. It’s like an AR15. Too versatile to be allowed! The rest of the US should enjoy these, I loved my D90 until California forced me to ship out of state. My wife wouldn’t go for that smog fee! Awesome vehicle!

    Like 2
  3. Martin Horrocks

    I´m sure that this is a Santana rather than a Land Rover (that 80 sign on the back 0kph and is maximum speed for an agricultural vehicle in Spain. It probably won´t get there anyhow…).

    This means it was made in Jaen, Spain from a CKD rather than in UK. Although at this time the two products were the same in almost all respects, Santana developed their version more than LR, until LR realised they had a life-style customer and started down a more luxurious street with the coil-sprung Defender.

    There´s a following for Sanatanas which claims them to be tougher and better built than the UK product. In hot Spanish climate they tend to rust much less. Value wise, they sell for much less and this truck should sell for less than $10000

    No way this car ever had A/C, btw. It just won´t work with these engines, though if switces are there, maybe someone found out the hard way.

    Like 1

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