The original and still undefeated champion of go-anywhere,
do-anything utility has to be the evergreen Land Rover. This fully
restored 1969 Series IIA Defender 88 is a seldom-seen treat here in
the US (this is a recent import from warm-climate Colombia), but
around the world, on the most forbidding terrain, in the loneliest
places, these sturdy trucks have been grinding their way into
history. If you're a fan of function over form and the beauty that
comes from it, this is a fantastic find.
The Series IIA models were a slight evolution over the Series II, and the Land Rover DNA is apparent in every corner and flat piece of bodywork. Constructed of aluminum and designed to be easy to repair and service in the field, the 2-door wagon body is what today's SUVs want to be when they grow up. The recessed grille, split windshield, abbreviated rear doors, and canvas roof with roll-up side windows are some of the most distinctive styling cues in the 4x4 community, many of which continue today. Those are all the original panels, and have been finished in Light Green, a traditional Landie color, it's a bit subtle, yet it seems appropriate here in the US where it won't have to battle wild animals and tortuous weather to survive. It looks great overall thanks to a recent repaint, certainly better than its siblings in Africa, but you don't want a truck like this to be too perfect, so call it imperfect and just go have some fun. This Land Rover is functionality personified, with protective screens over the grille opening, hood-mounted spare tire, and a variety of hooks, brackets, and other functionality-oriented hardware that is pure utility. Whatever you're doing, this Land Rover will get you there.
The rare left-hand-drive interior was also fully restored and offers few civilized comforts to go with its industrial-strength persona. The front bucket seats are all-day comfortable and all of the chairs in the truck were covered with durable black vinyl upholstery that is right for the Rover's mission. The dash is practical and simple, with a giant steering wheel and big, round, legible gauges restored to their original beauty. The rear seats are metal benches that are as much for structural reinforcement as passenger capacity, and we love the troop-transport look. Rubber floor mats are used throughout; in fact, all the interior materials are made to be durable and easy to maintain. The tan canvas roof is also new fits well and can be removed or configured in about a half-dozen different ways, making this a very versatile truck indeed.
Admittedly, the Land Rover isn't built for speed, but the stout 2.25-litre inline-four got a compression boost in the Series IIA and if you've got the time, this truck will get you anywhere on the planet. The under-hood area is obviously built with severe conditions in mind, and includes a heavy-duty air filter for the side-draft carburetor, a gigantic radiator, and wiring that's ostensibly designed to resist the elements and ward off Lucas, Prince of Darkness. The 4-speed manual gearbox is synchronized in all four gears and the 2-speed transfer case allows you to crawl over obstacles that would disable a lesser 4x4. Modern power brakes are a must-have, and have made everyday driving much more pleasurable and safe. The chassis on this one is clean enough that it probably hasn't seen much off-road action recently and certainly nothing abusive, and thanks to massive parts availability and simple service, it'll be cheap and easy to keep this one running indefinitely. And no Land Rover is complete without the white-painted steel wheels, with these wearing 7.50-16 tires that are suitably knobbly.
Yes, it's even cooler in person than you think, and if you're a true lover of the outdoors, this is the ultimate tool to get to your favorite places. Call today!