The Land Rover was conceived by the Rover Company in 1947 during the aftermath of World War II. Before the war Rover had produced luxury cars which were not in demand in the immediate post-war period and raw materials were strictly rationed to those companies building construction or industrial equipment, or products that could be widely exported to earn crucial foreign exchange for the country.
Maurice Wilks, Rover’s chief designer came up with a plan to produce a light agricultural and utility vehicle, of a similar concept to the Willys Jeep, used in the war, but with an emphasis on agricultural use. He was possibly inspired by the Standard Motor Company, who faced similar problems and were producing the highly successful Ferguson TE20 tractor in their shadow factory in Coventry. More likely, he used his own experience of using an army-surplus Jeep on his farm in Anglesey, North Wales. His design added a power-take-off (PTO) feature since there was a gap in the market between jeeps and tractors which offered the feature but were less flexible as transport.
The Land Rover was designed to only be in production for two or three years to gain some cash flow and export orders for the Rover Company so it could restart up-market car production. Once car production restarted, however, it was greatly outsold by the off-road Land Rover, which developed into its own brand that remains iconic today. Many of the defining and successful features of the Land Rover design were in fact the result of Rover’s drive to simplify the tooling required for the vehicle and to use the minimum amount of rationed materials. As well as the aluminium alloy bodywork (which has been retained throughout production despite it now being more expensive than a conventional steel body due to its ideal properties of light weight and corrosion resistance) and the distinctive flat body panels.
The successor to the successful Series I was the Series II, which saw a production run from 1958 to 1961. It came in 88″ and 109″ wheelbases. This was the first Land Rover to receive the attention of Rover’s styling department- Chief Stylist David Bache produced the familiar ‘barrel side’ waistline to cover the vehicle’s wider track and the improved design of the truck cab variant, introducing the curved side windows and rounded roof still used on current Land Rovers. The Series II was the first vehicle to use the well-known 2.25-litre petrol engine, although the first 1,500 or so short wheelbase models retained the 52 hp 2.0-litre petrol engine from the Series I. This larger petrol engine produced 72 hp and was closely related to the 2.0-litre diesel unit still in use. This engine became the standard Land Rover unit until the mid-1980s when diesel engines became more popular.
Marine Blue with Black Trim, Overdrive, Hinged windscreen, Heated front screen, Smiths heater, Drop down side entry steps, Adjustable tow hitch, Wing mounted mirrors, Sliding side windows, Twin rear bench seating.
The rugged, utilitarian nature is part of the Land Rover’s enduring appeal that has grown to be such a quintessentially British icon, stealing the hearts of families and the rural community alike.
The Series II is everyone’s idea of what a classic Land Rover should look like, with the headlamps still mounted close together in the centre of the grille panel, which was later redesigned in 1968 when they were placed out to the wings. A vehicle that did not pretend to be anything other than what it was originally designed for, it was meant to be basic but perfectly fit for a purpose.
This Marine Blue example is a truly sublime. Having been subject to a total ground up restoration on a new Galvanised Chassis to the highest of standards, the vehicle presents in fantastic condition without losing any of its agricultural character that is so synonymous with Land Rovers heritage. The Cotton Duck canvas hood is in immaculate condition with no marks or tears to report.
Comfort isn’t a word usually associated with old Land Rovers, however this Series II benefits from the updated contoured comfort seating and fitted rubber matting making it a fine place to be. As you’d expect from a vehicle that has been totally restored, the interior presents in superb condition with no signs of wear to the vinyl seats or headlining. To the rear of the vehicle, the twin rear bench seating is in immaculate condition, and the colour coded floor panel also remains mark free. All switches and gauges operate as intended including the heated front screen. This Series II gives a real ‘time warp’ experience, and a refreshing change to the modern creature comforts we’ve become so accustomed to.
ENGINE & TRANSMISSION
The Series II was designed to be the perfect balance between jeeps and tractors. The beauty of it being the fact that you were able to tackle a muddy field but also run the kids to school, deeming the Land Rover as a staple friend in the driveways of thousands of family homes.
The Series II was the first vehicle to use the well known 2.25-litre petrol engine, producing an extra 20bhp than its predecessor without the use of modern driving aids, just pure mechanical engineering genius to carry out the task at hand.
This example fires up first time without fault or hesitation, resulting in a fun and surprisingly involving driving experience. The engine bay far exceeds expectations, presenting in near immaculate condition.
WHEELS, TYRES & BRAKES
The original factory pressed steel wheels have been painted in the period colour of Old English White which offsets the Marine Blue bodywork perfectly. The wheels are fitted with all-terrain Avon Rangemaster tyres which all show plenty of tread.
First registered on 5th May 1959, this exceptional Series II has recently been subject to a total ground up restoration, and is now ready to be cherished by its new custodian for many years to come. Although we do not have comprehensive history for the car, we have documented evidence issued by the DVLA stating former keepers of the vehicle, alongside previous MOT’s.
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