I’ve finally done it. I entered the endless rabbit hole of Series Land Rovers. These are the boxy, pre-Defender workhorses of yore, the Series I, II, and III.
As I descend deep into this subterranean realm, the light only gets brighter and more intense the further I go. The sources of this illumination are the endless light bulbs that turn on above my head as I learn more about them. Thoughts like, “Woah, these seem so easy to work on”, and “Who needs to save for a fresh paint job when they look so good with patina?” permeate my limbic system. “How are these little things so damn capable?” I’ve asked myself over and over again. Sigh, I can hear my savings account whimpering from here.
Produced from 1948 to 1985, the Series 1 Land Rover and its successors were essentially the British response to the Willys Jeep. These faithful boxes on wheels were outfitted for agricultural use, military use, and really any general purpose that required four-wheel drive and the ability to traverse all variations of rugged terrain.
My earliest memory of these Land Rovers comes from watching “The Gods Must Be Crazy” on Comedy Central in the late ’90s, but I was recently thrust into this journey because of an enabler named Hayden Jones on YouTube. His channel is chock-full of fun videos of him and his Land Rover pals traversing terrain all over the gorgeous island country of New Zealand.
Just look at what this cat’s filmed:
How fun does that look? He certainly gets mileage out of his 1972 Series II, too, as there are plenty more videos just like it. According to his channel’s description, this old goat’s been in his family for 25 years, too. Super neat. Plus, with New Zealand as his backdrop, there’s so much beautiful scenery to behold.
Naturally, digesting a bunch of these videos led me directly to Craigslist. I had to find out to what Series II and Series III Landies fetch, and they’re not horrible. Well, meaning they don’t go for nearly as much as NAS Defenders and California-legal imported Defenders. They’re still pretty pricey, though, especially considering they’re so old, incredibly basic, and there almost certainly has to be a premium on new replacement parts. Well, parts aren’t cheap, but they don’t seem too terrible on the whole. I’d probably opt for a later Series III, too, as I dig its looks the most.
It’d be good fun to get behind the wheel of a Series Land Rover someday. Until then, soaking as much knowledge as I can, and watching them in action on solid channels like this, will certainly fill in any gaps.
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