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Homepage. This page: The story of a Land Rover bought new in 1973 and recently restored to excellent condition.

Long-term ownership of a classic Land Rover.

Chris got in touch in August 2010, on the hunt for some new Bluemels numberplates to complete the restoration of his 1972 Land Rover. He also sent over photographs and a write-up on his Series 3 Landy's history, and its extensive restoration.
Series 3 Land Rover

Life with a Series 3 Land Rover.

I bought my Series 3 Land Rover in Jan 1973, after a 6 months wait (at that time they were in short supply!). It cost £1400 and was originally Limestone all over.
I found labels inside which led me to believe it was destined for Saudi Arabia, hence the colour, but must have been diverted to UK sales for some reason.
I managed to get the production records from Land Rover to prove it was completed in December 1972 so was able to get historic vehicle "road tax exempt" status before the cut-off date.
It spent the first years of its life commuting to Nottingham, regular trips to North Wales where my parents bought a retirement property, and towing a trailer tent and subsequently a caravan all over the UK.
Soon after I purchased it I bought a Fairey Overdrive, as I found the gearing too low in 4th for comfortable cruising.
Approximately 4 years after I bought it, a “lady” driver re-modelled the LH side just in front of the door pillar, so after the repairs I decided to have the bottom half sprayed blue (a more conventional L/R colour scheme).
After 120,000 miles, and starting to use oil, it had its first re-bore, but the main bearing and crank journals only needed new bearing shells.
Last year - 2009 - I was approaching retirement and looked at various modern vehicles to replace it, as the chassis was getting grumblings from MOT testers about the amount of welding repairs, and the engine was getting quite smoky having done 230,000 miles.
After much thought about modern computer-controlled engines, and knowing the expense of keeping them on the road from my work as a maintenance engineer with the job of overseeing a fleet of company vehicles, I decided to restore the old girl with a galvanised chassis, parabolic springs, re-conditioned long engine, high ratio transfer box (the overdrive was making expensive noises), main bulkhead, radiator bulkhead, and a respray at a cost of £10,100.
People have said it isn't worth spending that much but to me it is, it will last me until the DVLA take my driving licence away, I can do all the maintenance on it myself, the only running costs are insurance, fuel, and maintenance. It will do everything I want a vehicle to do, and most important it will fit in my garage (my Father built the garage to accomodate a 1962 Series 2A short wheelbase which, by the way, is still on the road).
Contrary to Land Rover's reputation in some people's view, it has never actually let me down on the road, the only repairs have been due to normal wear and tear.
It's still not quite finished yet, mud flaps, sound deadening, and various other bits and bobs. Still, I'm only 900 miles into the engine's "running in" period but now I'm retired I can take my time to get it just how I want it (after getting all the jobs her indoors wants done!!).
Thanks for sending your Landy's story over Chris, much appreciated. Other articles on the site relating to classic Land Rovers including another owner's account of buying and running an ex-Metropolitan Police Force 109 Land Rover, built in 1977.
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