Searle Safari Conversion: 1966 Land Rover Series IIA 88

This 1966 Land Rover Series IIA 88 is a claimed-to-be rare Searle Safari conversion, a model I had not heard of before this one popped up for sale. The seller notes it was designed to make the Series II more overnight-friendly by removing the bulkhead and installed rear seats that could be converted into beds. Curtains were even included, making this Rover a pre-cursor to the days of glamping and overlanding in an SUV. Thanks to Barn Finds reader AMXBrian for the find, which you’ll find here on craigslist for $4,500.

The Rover is in Amesbury, Massachusetts, a pretty community north of Boston. Despite appearing quite tired, the Rover is relatively complete, with decent seats up front and all controls accounted for. The trick conversion in the back is less obvious, as any cushions or curtains associated with the sleeping quarters are long gone. Given the location, I would also want to see if any sheetmetal has gone AWOL.

The missing glass in the hardtop could be a concern if the Rover was parked outside and rain water has been collecting on the floor. The seller does call it a barn find, so hopefully it’s been stored indoors. Wherever it ended up, it sat there for 25 years before being extracted. The body doesn’t look crunchy at the vulnerable edges of the panels, so perhaps it’s more solid than we think.

No matter what, this Land Rover has stories to tell. It still has old British license plates on the front, indicating it spent time overseas before ending up in the Boston area, which would also include its 25 years off the road. Despite the rear cushions missing, re-creating the original look of the Searle Safari conversion shouldn’t be too hard, and numerous hard-to-find extras are included with the sale.

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Comments

  1. Stephen

    The body panels and floors are ALL aluminium and therefore will not show rust.
    The frame however is steel and I would recommend taking a long hard look at it.

    Like 6
  2. Chris Webster

    How is there enough room to sleep in the back? Even corner to corner I wouldn’t fit.

    Like 1
    • Paul Kellett

      Middle Bulkhead has been removed like mine and has beds each side so you sleep right to the tailgate from the front Bulkhead,

  3. BlondeUXB Member

    A study in dissimilar metals…

    Like 2
  4. Martin

    I have a 1963 IIa 109 Pickup(orginally a Carmichael fire engine), same color, even same seating and upholstery(red seats). I wonder if this actually started out as a fireengine as well and at some point got the top painted white?

  5. Shaun Dymond

    A very unusual Landy, with some interesting modifications. I like the UK number plates, as well as it’s US license plates.

  6. Nick G

    I would think a Land Rover purposefully built for safaris, would have the optional safari roof and the right fuel tank.

    Like 1
    • Nick G

      Ooops! Optional LEFT fuel tank.

  7. TimM

    Cool as heck!! Love these old 4×4’s!! This was when trucks where trucks not the high tech stuff of today!!!

    Like 2
  8. 64IIA

    With our IIA we would stack the front seat backs and middle pads in the front, throw our old foam pads across them and the gear in the back and sleep from windshield to back window (as someone else mentioned), when we wanted to be out of the rain, otherwise under a tarp on the roof rack. Ours was a standard with the bulkhead intact but the gear went all the way up to it.The good old days of “glamping”.

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