While the Willys Jeep was rugged, it was not suitable for farming, because it didn't have the drive units needed to power some types of farm machinery. Brothers Spencer and Maurice Wilkes saw the need for a double-duty vehicle, one that could be used for both farming chores and regular transportation.
The First Land Rover
Their idea resulted in the Land Rover, and for their initial model, the Wilkes brothers chose a 4-cylinder engine and 4-wheel drive capabilities. Body panels were made from aluminum, which was readily available. The truck was set up with provisions for power take-off so it could be used to drive farm equipment.
The Land Rover Series I pickup in the photos was purchased several years ago, along with several others, from an individual in Canada. It had no engine, the fuel tank was rusted out, and the body was brush-painted black. It's currently undergoing a partial restoration to make it mechanically reliable and cosmetically pleasing. While the owner isn't going for a 100 point show restoration, the truck makes a great driver and turns a lot of heads.
The truck's transformation to the pickup you see here included the installation of a 1960's model 2.25 Liter engine, reworked brakes and new tires, and a new paint job that was applied after bead-blasting the body. The truck still has its original transfer case and 4-speed transmission, which is not synchronized in first or second gear.
The ride isn't soft and cushy. There's no power steering, no power brakes, no air conditioning, and the engine--well, let's just say if you're going to pass someone you'd better have a long straightaway ahead of you.
With no overdrive, it's best to keep the speed around 50 mph or lower. It definitely is not a luxury vehicle, but it most definitely is fun to drive.
Series truck owned by Land Rover Asheville