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Series Land Rovers are true classic roadsters with a removable hard top (or soft top) and removable metal side curtains. Land Rovers have an aluminum body with a steel frame, firewall and front (holds radiator). The tops are bolted on. The front doors have side curtains that unbolt. Full metal tops, pickup metal tops and canvas tops are available. The engine, while underpowered, has been described by pro mechanics as seriously overbuilt. "The car was meant to survive the charge of a adult bull rhino and be field-stripped in the jungle with essentially a screwdriver and a crescent wrench." --TerriAnn Wakeman

Newer Land Rovers, the Stage I's, Defenders, Range Rovers and Discoveries share many of the same design features of the Series Land Rovers. The biggest difference is that the engines in the newer Land Rovers have more horse power and can keep up with most other cars on the road. Despite having more creature comforts than the Series Rovers, they are still build with a rugged steel frame and aluminum panels. Though the engines might have oxygen sensors and that ilk, they can still withstand the impact of a charging adult rhino and are more field maintainable than any other 4x4.

Land Rovers have more charisma in its lug nuts than most cars have in their whole body. If you get one, you will have to deal with people going ga-ga over it in parking lots, frequent honks from strangers, people staring at your car as they drive past, and waves from fellow Rover owners. You also have to deal with people who think it is a Japanese imitation Land Cruiser. Not to worry, owning this khaki colored monster generates fierce loyalty and enthusiasm among the converted.

"[Series Land Rovers] are slow and noisy and often little things often go wrong, but, the basic transportation never fails. I can run it on gas so whimpy you can barely light it with a match. So, the battery's out. Use the hand crank. Blow a head gasket? The owners manual suggests "tightly packed Savannah grass" as a palliative to get you back to Mombassa. My friend Jim Souby cut a head gasket out of the Whitehorse newspaper in his motel room when he got stranded up in the Yukon a few years back. Try that in your "sport utility" vehicle bucko. Unsurprisingly, the original Land Rovers were designed as farm vehicles; i.e. tractors and can be fitted with a power take off for some farm implements. When I bought [my '65 SIIA 109"] about 20 years ago it was being used as a dumpster." Bill Spear, Juneau, Alaska.

Copyright Dixon Kenner, 1995-2011. Last modified March 15, 2005.
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