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Thread: New To Forum: Looking for Advice Buying a Series

  1. #1

    Default New To Forum: Looking for Advice Buying a Series

    All:

    I'm new to the forum. I'm considering purchasing a Series Land Rover, but am pretty new to the market and know little of their values and the "what(s) to look for" in a Series.. I'm a British car owner and have mechanical skills, experience, and necessary tools for a majority of work most vehicles require. I can't do body work, but am competent in most everything else.

    I also live in Africa. I'm a USG employee. I can purchase a Landy there and ship it back. There are a large number of LHD Series vehicles where I live, but they are mostly single cab pick ups in a various states of wear. I'm in sub-Saharan Africa, so humidity and rust are non-existent. My preference is for a full cab (4 door) vehicle with a rear bed. I know they're trucks, but also know OD is available. A good fit for me would be a vehicle that can handle knocking about town, but also manage 60 on the highway (possible?). i'm also looking for some market value ideas. I don't want to be hosed as the "dumb foreigner" and wind up overpaying.

    That's the general idea. I'd appreciate your thoughts.

    Mike

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2021
    Location
    SF Bay Area
    Posts
    204

    Default

    Hi Mike, welcome to the forum.

    I just bought my Series 3 in April of this year...and dove into it as a project. I was looking around on ebay and elsewhere for comparable value. My problem was that I was looking online, and with COV-19, I wasn't able to go visit the cars. So I had to use photos, which was tough. Also, none in my area...so it was pretty much all online. But, shipping a car in the continental US was not bad. I paid $800 to have it shipped from Chicago to SF. So, regional price differences were worth it. Not sure what a shipping container going from Africa to the US would cost. Check on ebay or bring-a-trailer auctions for comps.

    About which kind: I'd get a 109" for the extra loadspace length. There are Station Wagon ones with 4 doors. Look for "109 SW" in the name. You can find them with a "Safari" door on the rear, or tailgate style. Or replace/convert whatever's there.You could find all the hardware and doors for the rear for under $900. So just decide if you want 4 door or 2 doors in the front, and what length 88" or 109". I would try to find a hardtop. The hardtop panels are harder to find, so having them gives you options. If you like softops, you'll probably buy new software materials soon anyway...so having the hardtop just gives you options.

    60 on the freeway. You might look to install an overdrive(Roverdrive) unit, or find one with one already installed. These run about $1800, but seem to be an easy bolt-on that gives you additional higher gear options. A Series Rover will never be a "comfortable drive". It will be bumpy and make strange noises and you won't hear your radio. But it will be fun the whole time. They are very hands on, and every drive is an adventure. If you go in knowing that, you're all good. But if you want more comfort, maybe a newer Rover(Defender? Range Rover?) or something like a Jeep Cherokee would suit? Just saying. I'm 6'-2" and a bit too tall for the seats. I have to hunch a bit to see stop lights through the windshield, and sort of hold my foot up the whole time pressing the gas. So, definitely an "active" driving position. Things like that can wear on you if you're not expecting it. Its not really a daily driver commuter car, unless you make a lifestyle out of it.

    My tip for what to look for:
    Try to find one with a good Chassis and bulkhead. Bring a paint scraper and ask if you can scrape off road grime from the Chassis and see if it's rusted. If it has holes, avoid it. Same with the bulkhead. I mean. if you have several different options, go for the one with the solid bulkhead and Chassis. You can get almost any part for these, but a new Chassis will set you back $4000 and a new bulkhead about $3000. So, you can see that's in the ballpark for a used car(maybe even the total cost you paid). So, of all the "fixable things" those will set you back the most. If you find a good bulkhead and Chassis, you cam assemble the rest pretty affordable. New doors under $500 each(with glass and hardware, etc). Various body panels, etc. They still make most of it. Reproduction Fender/Wing sides are fiberglass now, which is a shame. Nice if you can find original aluminum ones.

    The other thing that was a suprise for me(although it shouldn't have been...as Land Rover is a luxury brand now) - but parts are either aftermarket or Genuine Land Rover. The Genuine Land Rover parts are 5X the cost, but fit well. The aftermarket parts are a crap shoot...sometimes they work great, sometimes they are a disaster. Way more than any other car, seriously it's a thing. So keep that in mind when you do a quick check to ballpark if a potential car is worth it. You might budget cost of ownership for aftermarket parts and find the actual cost is actually way more. But these Series are fun. Good luck!
    ...┌───────┬──,,
    ...|______OD__|__\\_____
    ...d ..__ ......... |... | ..__....p
    └/ | \────┴──┴/ | \─┘≡
    ..../..@........................@

    1973 Series 3, 109

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    killingworth CT
    Posts
    825

    Default

    Cheers, serious weak spots of trucks that have age,
    Frame, and bulkhead, rot, rust and structural integrity are compromised, wet snowy areas are the worst.
    Electrics, these trucks with an original wiring harness, usually have serious issues. Mice, and time, moisture and neglect result in poor grounds, and instruments that don't work.
    Neglectful brakes and clutch, result in poor braking, and poor clutch operation,
    If you are not sure about English truck issues, have a certified mechanic go to look at a truck with you.
    Cheers.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    267

    Default

    as mentioned i'd make sure you find one with a good frame and bulkhead. after that i'd look for something you can't find anywhere anymore. Like a 109 with 16" rims, and a true tropical roof. perhaps the classic roof rack, the big one, look for a overdrive unit..... junk yard etc., a pto would be good to have. twin gas tanks, hubs are always good but you have to engage them once in a while or the upper railco bushes don't get any lube. these vehicles were made with a LOT of options, even built in coffee maker!,
    a good frame and all the body options you can find ........... you can straighten out the details when you get back !

  5. #5

    Default

    Gentlemen:

    Thanks for all the insights - it's been super informative. I've seen a few videos on LRs and, yes, the frame and (particularly) the bulkhead were the key points on focus. Where I live has such low humidity that rust should be minimized, so that's a positive. The tips on the "add ons" is also pretty helpful. Yes, I was thinking a PTO is very worthwhile, and I'd like OD (my current British car lacks that and revs super high even at 55 mph).

    I'm headed back soon and have about four months to look around, more so now that I have a bit more knowledge.

    Thanks again and I'll provide updates when possible.

    mike

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    267

    Default

    YES, we want the updates, years ago i remember seeing a land rover bone yard....... gawd, a lot of them bought with government funding with ALL the options and stated was a average life expectancy of 5 years due most entirely to zero maintenance so you might find some nice candidates off in the bush someplace, you may have to travel a ways?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2021
    Location
    SF Bay Area
    Posts
    204

    Default

    Didn't someone on this forum say P.A. Blanchards is retiring and selling off all their stock and vehicles? A look at their website shows ALOT of ExMOD Rovers sitting out there. I bet you could pick one up from them at fire sale prices...

    https://www.pablanchard.co.uk/
    ...┌───────┬──,,
    ...|______OD__|__\\_____
    ...d ..__ ......... |... | ..__....p
    └/ | \────┴──┴/ | \─┘≡
    ..../..@........................@

    1973 Series 3, 109

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    267

    Default

    gawd, so far far away.

  9. #9

    Default

    All:

    I finally purchased a 1978 SIII pickup yesterday. It has a 4 cyl engine. Overall, it's in decent shape. I inspected the frame and bulk head, both are rust free and without bends, cracks, etc. The bed looks fine. It has a rear tail gate. We figure the vehicle came out of Libya, which is drier than Sudan, so no rust whatsoever. The vehicle has a lot of original parts, including the gauges and some other items. I spent $7K. The odometer reads 64K kilometers, but that doesn't tell much beyond that as the speedo isn't working.

    What I'm hoping is that you can recommend for me printed owner's guides, repair manuals, etc. and other reference guides that are useful in getting to better know these vehicles, especially this particular model.

    Also, advice on parts suppliers/ I don't need genuine Land Rover parts. I've got a near concours Austin Healey Bugeye. This LR is to be more for fun than anything else. I want reliability. This car needs a water pump, maybe an alternator, so I'm looking to source these both affordably and reliably. Any thoughts there will be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,

    Mike

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2021
    Location
    SF Bay Area
    Posts
    204

    Default

    Congratulations on the Series 3 purchase! Welcome to the club!

    I started this thread to share parts suppliers and save links to other retailers. Our hosts are great, but don't always have everything. Good to know other sources:

    https://forums.roversnorth.com/showt...ll-world/page2

    The first book you should get is the official parts manual for the Series 3:
    https://www.roversnorth.com/parts/rt...ual_series_iii

    You can get a PDF of the manual for free, but just get the printed one. It has great exploded views of everything. Also, it's easier to search the websites above with part numbers, as the menus sometimes don't return searches for certain terms. Also, British and American terms for things are all over the place(Servo vs Booster, Bush vs bushing, etc). The Land Rover part numbers takes all the guesswork out of it and you know what you're getting.

    The so called "Green Bible" (Official Service Manual):
    https://www.roversnorth.com/parts/ak..._iii_1972_1985

    They also reprint the small, half page size owners manuals for the Series 3. This is the glove box booklet you might have got at the dealer. I found this one full of good basic operating instructions like what all the dash switches do(which are bass-akwards to other cars) and how to work all the gears and levers. Also good maintenance stuff. It's actually a neat little booklet:
    https://www.roversnorth.com/parts/60..._iii_1972_1981

    Finally, I got James Taylor's book about the Series 3 Specs. This one has serial numbers and options, and is a good guide for general history, identifying what you have, and good photos of original options offered. Plus, it's a nice coffee table book to flip thru when you're bored:

    https://www.amazon.com/Land-Rover-II.../dp/1847973205
    ...┌───────┬──,,
    ...|______OD__|__\\_____
    ...d ..__ ......... |... | ..__....p
    └/ | \────┴──┴/ | \─┘≡
    ..../..@........................@

    1973 Series 3, 109

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