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marcros

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And nobody has mentioned the heater. The less said about that the better.
 

robgul

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Depends how old the vehicle is - the pre 90/110 models were much easier to maintain as the suspension/mechanics were pretty basic. I'm about 6'4" and yes it is an "acquired taste" driving position - but then what sort of journey length are you going to do? The other downside is that LR prices for anything of any vintage or condition are sky-high.

Between about 1978 and 1993 I had a succession of Series LRs and got into the off-road sport (imaging motor-bike trials in a Land Rover!) - then from 1996 - 2005 had a couple of Disco 200s as my day-to-day car. My recent regret is not buying one of the last (old) Defender models a few years ago - about £32,000 IIRC but a real investment as they are now fetching upwards of £60,000.

Some snaps
IIIswagon.png
- LR Series III Station Wagon (ex Gatwick Airport) that was our second car for about 6 years.

trials1.png
- it's more fun that it looks - pretty sure that I was at a gravel pit in Kent for that pic

disc.png
- and the sedate Disco (on the Corran ferry near Ft William)
 
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Phil Pascoe

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Post WWII, when there was a glut of surplus, and farmers needed summat more versatile than a tractor, but equally powerful and dismissive of terrain? You can see the attraction, hence the legend, perpetuated by marketing and a fair bit of snobbery ( just as there is for say, Agas).
Sam
They were made, apparently, not so much to suit any particular demand but because being classified as agricultural, they escaped fuel rationing.
 

artie

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Guys I appreciate all the info and opinions and I must say you have changed my attitude some. I'm not quite so keen now.

Trevanion
Mentioned a pre 2000 Grand Cherokee as a better option. I must say that having owned an AMX Javelin in the mid to late 70s in Canada my regard for AMC was not high.
Having done a quick search the cherokee might not be so bad, would sourcing parts be a problem?
 

Phil Pascoe

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My friend had a Disco for a few years. I saw him one day in an A3 which I realised was his by the plate. I asked why he'd changed as I knew he loved the Disco, and he said he could tax and insure the A3 for what he saved on the cost of the fuel.
 

marcros

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What do you want the vehicle for/to do? 8000 miles a year is nothing if you are a travelling sales rep, but it is a fair few. I think with commuting to work most days (7 miles each way) and using my car when we do family stuff I probably clocked up 8-10k a year before lockdown.

I like the idea of another 4x4 or a pickup but I changed mine for an estate. It is so much nicer to drive, faster, more comfortable, way more fuel efficient, cheaper to tax, easier to park in a ln average car park. The load space inside actually feels almost as big. If space were an issue, I think that the Merc e class would be bigger than my 110 was and they have been around so long now that you could get one with any budget.
 

novocaine

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Theres a lot of negative here, but I'd still say go for it. the attraction to me for an old one was always that I could drive it anywhere, hop out and trapes around then hope back in without a care for the interior. get home, open the doors and wash it all at once with the hose.
I also loved working on them, it was all "farm" quality work, if it's bent, hit it, if is still bent, hit it harder. :)

I won't have one now, mainly because I don't want to be spending the money they are going for but also because I've gone a bit green. :(

edit to add
An older one is great people will always say hello to you and the conversation is normally "I had one just like it when I was younger, mine was white though, with 6 wheels, and I didn't put my spare on the bonnet, and it was a petrol/diesel, and........." yep, just like it. :)
 
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RGIvy

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Having owned several Land-rover, Toyota, Nissan etc I'd say this is the main difference:
A Land Rover is something you have a relationship with (good or bad)
All other 4x4's are something you own
 

rwillett

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All good advice here, though nobody seems to have mentioned the frame and rust. Many old LR's have a massive rust problem on the frame if it's not been treated and ignored. If you are looking for an old 'proper' LR, then you should take along an expert who knows about them and will look at things like the firewall and the frame and can advise. A new frame is around £5K and is easily available (assuming you have £5K to buy it and a lot of time to transfer the bits across). We're lucky that the local garage is very knowledgeable about LR's as we live in the Yorkshire Dales and they are as common as muck here.

He does off roading in his Disco but actually prefers his very souped up Suzuki Jimny for hitting the muddy stuff. Now thats a phrase you don't often hear :)

Rob
 

OldWood

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I was heavily into climbing in student and post student days (1960/70's), and I read this thread with amusement as I got a 2nd hand one about 1970 - I just forwarded the link for this thread to two of my friends from those days who too had LR's then as well.

I made this comment "It was the only 4 x 4 in our day, and was no more unreliable then as any other car.", which in reality then was true. It is just that it would seem they remained that way!
 

Phil Pascoe

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I made this comment "It was the only 4 x 4 in our day, and was no more unreliable then as any other car.", which in reality then was true. It is just that it would seem they remained that way!
I commented to a neighbour only yesterday that when I started driving it was rare to go a month without either a breakdown or a puncture.
 

Rorschach

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I commented to a neighbour only yesterday that when I started driving it was rare to go a month without either a breakdown or a puncture.
Land Rover or in general with cars?
What kind of things went wrong? Just curious as being a younger chap I am used to cars being fairly reliable, our current car has never broken down in almost 8 years of owning it and it wasn't a new car either.
 

akirk

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All good advice here, though nobody seems to have mentioned the frame and rust. Many old LR's have a massive rust problem on the frame if it's not been treated and ignored. If you are looking for an old 'proper' LR, then you should take along an expert who knows about them and will look at things like the firewall and the frame and can advise. A new frame is around £5K and is easily available (assuming you have £5K to buy it and a lot of time to transfer the bits across). We're lucky that the local garage is very knowledgeable about LR's as we live in the Yorkshire Dales and they are as common as muck here.

He does off roading in his Disco but actually prefers his very souped up Suzuki Jimny for hitting the muddy stuff. Now thats a phrase you don't often hear :)

Rob
A Richards Chassis is only £2.5k - £3k inc. vat :) not sure I would be spending £5k anywhere - even adding in a new bulkhead shouldn't take you up to £5k

My LWB Soft Dash RR has recently gone through 18 months of body off rust removal - amazingly, after 8 years in a field (prior to my ownership!) there was almost no rust on the chassis - but plenty elsewhere which is now removed... chassis was fully restored anyway, and is now in better shape than from the factory...
 

AES

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As an acknowledged thread drift specialist, I've been very amused (and educated) about driving Land Rovers. My only experience of driving them was in the RAF in the 1960s, and then only within the "confines" of a military airfield or two - though you could have a lot of fun with them on night shift, after night flying was finished!!! But never driven a Land Rover for any distance.

But if you want to talk about REALLY "delightful" on-road driving experiences, then IME you'd need to go a L O N G way to "beat" the Morris J2 Van/Mini Busses that we had in the RAF at the same time. I've driven those over significant distances on both UK A roads and Motorways, plus on German Autobahns. WHAT an experience!!!

4 speed column-mounted gear change (was like selecting a lucky dip as to which gear you actually got after selecting something - like stirring a big wooden spoon in a bowl of marbles!); "Powered" by the, I think, BMC "B" Series 1800cc petrol engine which, after a L O N G pause (you couldn't accurately refer to it as "acceleration"!), "allowed" you to get up to about 55 to 60 mph on the flat - and as soon as you reached the slightest gradient would immediately slow down to under 45 mph, especially if you had more than one other bloke and a tool box on board; AND a "steering" system than saw you wandering drunkenly along the lane in even the slightest of cross winds, and lurching wildly to the side when passed by a heavy lorry - which was OFTEN, even back then! And the NOISE. I fully understand why the RAF did NOT select the then optional radio!

Ahhhhhhh ...... those were the days! ;)

OK, drift over!
 

Cabinetman

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What went wrong? Pre-computer control, cars were pretty difficult to start if you didn’t have the knack, choke out pump the throttle as you turn the ignition then when it fired you had to nurse it and gradually ease the choke back in. There was the old joke about why the lady kept taking her car back to the garage saying it kept stopping, she thought the choke was for hanging her handbag on ha ha.
Going back even further pre-power assisted brakes and steering a lot of women didn’t learn to drive, it was just too hard. I agree, cars nowadays are so reliable, my Honda CRV has nearly done 200,000 miles and only had one thing wrong with it – the expensive clutch thingy which you get on a diesel, Starts first time every time. Punctures, not sure why but I used to get at least two or 3 a year, haven’t had one for about 10years now. Have tyres improved?
 

Oddbod70

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Land Rover or in general with cars?
What kind of things went wrong? Just curious as being a younger chap I am used to cars being fairly reliable, our current car has never broken down in almost 8 years of owning it and it wasn't a new car either.
Blimey, that's a question.

1. Rust, pre 1976'ish (my estimate, no data to confirm it up) most cars would be showing some kind of rust by their third year. The weekly wash and dash round with the rust killer and touchup paint was a ritual.

2. Tyres, at least one puncture a year. Everyone had a spare wheel and knew how to change it. (Or how to look helpless until a bloke stopped and changed it for you were female).

3. Fuel. Full of carbon. No car got anywhere near 100k miles without some top end work - a "decoke" (which had a whole different meaning) at the very least.

4. Ignition. Bits got damp. Cans of WD40 and Bradex esistart were mandatory and mini's with a marigold glove round the distributer with an HT lead through the end of each finger were normal.

5. Locks. To be frozen or filled with chewing gum by kids depending on the season.

6. Radiators. Overheating in traffic on hot days. The A303 would be lined with cars with their bonnet up and steam bellowing forth from the radiator cap.

I could go on.

But against that you could usually fix the darn things. I drove from Dorchester to Plymouth without a clutch pedal once, and from Uni in London to Plymouth with a full jerry can in the passenger foot well and a length of hose running through the bulkhead to the fuel pump. (Fuel tank rusted through - see point 1 above). It was just before Christmas, freezing cold, window wide open and Ultravox's "Vienna" playing on the jury rigged mono radio.

So maybe a defender wasn't too different then.
 

Eric The Viking

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I too had a Defender 110, for over a decade. Whilst I loved it, I would caution that they are stupidly expensive to run.

This comes down to two issues: chassis and engine: They are built to rust The factory chassis is full of holes and crevices and things like the outriggers under the firewall/bulkhead drop off for fun (because of rust), as does the rear crossmember. Both faults are MOT failures, as is rust in the middle crossmember (found on 110s), or aluminium corrosion around that one, because it takes the middle row seatbelt strongpoints You can get aftermarket dip-galvanised chassis which ought to be better, but expensive and time-consuming to fit (and you need heavy lifting gear and a LOT of space in the workshop).

Engine: there are a variety of styles and sizes. I doubt there are any left now, but DO NOT BUY the original Turbo Diesel (TD), nor allow anybody to give you one, nor accept one in part exchange nor allow any part of one to get withing 200 yards of your vehicle (just in case). They are slow, unreliable and thirsty.

I don't know about the very recent ones, but of the British engines, the TDi (AKA TD4), is probably the best - willing, not complex, reasonable torque (0-60 without needing to re-check the calendar), and quite efficient. I had one as a donor from a Discovery - there is a fairly straightforward conversion. TD5s are common, but they are the start of the increased complexity that is the bane of modern engine designs, and although "better" spec-wise, possibly not as good a buy as a TDi. TDi will also run on chip fat and cooking oil (yup really) - later engines won't.

A few more thoughts:

Tyres: the ex-factory wheels were steel, huge, heavy and thus not fuel efficient. The corresponding "Town & country" tyres have shot up in price - in the early 2000s they were 25 quid each as farmers got through loads of them. Now probably 150-200 each wheel. If you mount the spare on the back door it will probably wreck it because of the weight. If you put it on the bonnet, (a) small people (i.e. drivers) cannot see out, (b) you risk decapitation if the bonnet stay doesn't lock properly when you are looking under it. A supplementary frame to take the spare at the back is a good idea, but it can restrict the back door opening.

Wiring and secondary systems: "Joseph Lucas, Prince of Darkness" says it all really. The best idea is to scrap the factory system and wire the vehicle properly for positive and negative, for all but stuff that must be grounded to the chassis. Most of the switches - lighting, indicator stalk, horn,etc. are rubbish. Rear light cluster faults can be hard to diagnose, beyond, "yes, I know it hasn't got 12V." There are several dozen possible points of failure in each circuit. If you have a rear door window heater, or a wiper fitted, those are reminders that through it all the factory maintained a sense of humour

The cabin heater is legendarily inefficient, although this can be fixed with some effort. Even so, best to use the middle row and rear for shopping trips to Iceland in the winter, as no human will survive travelling in those seats for more than around 2 miles.

Factory fitted "sun" roofs and the curved "alpine lights" along the top of the sides of County pack vehicles are best thought of as sources of fresh water in a crisis. I never stopped our sun roof from leaking, nor raining inside the vehicle in the winter because of condensation - gaffer taping bubble wrap to it can help, but make sure youcreate some sort of gutter along the back edge, or drive with a wide-brimmed hat on.

Aftermarket "just like the originals" parts, especially doors, are to be avoided, as they are actually made in India (I think) and don't fit. I bought some new front doors, but never got round to fitting them. When I included them with the vehicle I thought I was being helpful, until the purchaser (my specialist Landy mechanic) showed me - the actual skins didn't line up with the rest of the steel frames, so they were junk.

I loved my Landy, but therapy has worked, and the craving has now gone. My wallet is much happier too.
 

Trainee neophyte

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I was brought up on/in/under landrovers. As an aduly, I don't own one, and have never owned one. If you want it to go off-road, they are usually pretty good, but that may be more due to the tyres than the machine itself. However, you can't fit anything in the back, you can't fit in the front, put any decent weight in it and steering is more hit or miss than you may like...and I mean that in the literal sense. And then everything breaks, all the time.

I have owned a Lada Niva, which was much like driving a washing machine. It was pretty robust, and never ever got stuck, but it's a tiny toy of a car. My Mitsubishi L200 drives like a car, has acres of room in the back, and 5 seats. If I was a real farmer I wouldn't have the 5 seat version, and would put the kids, dogs and Bangladeshi workers out in the cold where they belong. I go off road every time I leave the house, and use low ratio probably 3 times a week. Fill it up with rocks, mud, sheep manure; abuse it every harvest, but it just works. It's normal to have a ton of something in the truck, and another two tons in a trailer. It does affect the performance a bit, but we always get where we are going.

If you want a toy to play with then get a land rover. If you want to do some work, get anything else. Long - wheelbase pick ups are probably more useful especially when buying 4 metre lengths of timber, and try and find a Chelsea tractor rather than anything that has ever been owned by a farmer. Anything Japanese for preference - I wasn't terribly impressed by the Grand Cherokee (never had one), but people swear by Ford Rangers (also never had one). My L200 is 20 years old, rust free and pretty much indestructible. No need to replace it.
 
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