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Thread: 1969 IIa Restoration Build Thread

  1. #1

    Default 1969 IIa Restoration Build Thread

    Hello everyone! I recently came into possession of probably one of the worst Series IIa's out there. Its frame is rusted out, the engine is seized and almost everything needs to be replaced. Luckily, being a Land Rover, all of these things can be sourced from reputable sources relatively easily. The only thing I've really had trouble with Is the idea of "improving" things as I go. I'm torn between making this thing easier to live with on the daily basis with improvements in engine, steering, electrical, etc., or just going back as close to stock as possible. I know the market prefers the latter, but I feel as if there is some value in making tasteful improvements. What are the thoughts of the group on this? As far as everything else, obviously it will be a Frame up restoration, likely a patina preserving restoration because it looks so cool, but it could be a total redo on the paint as well. Now, for the story of the Rover. My best friend called me in the height of covid and asked me "Hey man, how do you feel about a trip to New Hampshire?" He had found this Land Rover on EBay and purchased it sight unseen. The original Owner had purchased it new from Land Rover and had driven it up until 1979 at which point she decided to move on to a Triumph Spitfire 1500. Unfortunately, it was never protected from the elements in her basement garage. Rust took it over and left it in-operable. We drove up there in my truck (The reason why he called me in the first place) and retrieved the rover from a burly older woman who transition from a 60cc dirt bike to an 80's YJ for transportation. She was awesome, and named Carol. This is where the rover got its name. Now, upon realization of the state of the Rover, my buddy freaked out, but went forward with the purchase. We towed it back down to Durham the next day where I cleaned up some of the body and we actually realized that it was somewhat salvageable if he committed to building it from the ground up with a slew of new parts and a lot of time. He towed it to his house in Greenville, sc the day after and there it sat for the better part of 3 years. October of last year comes around and he is now married with a newborn and Carol has just been sitting (Albeit with a lot of the magic oil in the cylinders and a freed up transmission from annoyed persistence), so he calls me and asks what I thought about taking over the project. I had just completed a semi-full restoration on a 79 corvette for my wife's cousin's military retirement so a new project was needed! He just wanted me to get him out of what he already had in it and we would be even. Two weeks later, it was on the trailer to my wife an my new house that we just finished up building. It sat for a few weeks due to us having our first child, but the work on the deconstruction has started! Here is where we are at so far:

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    North MS


    From the Rovers I’m used to building, this looks to be in great shape, frame notwithstanding. Body looks fantastic too! They almost all need a great deal of work if they have been left to sit outside for a good while, so that’s not uncommon. But by the one picture, your bulkhead looks to be in decent shape as well and that’s a huge plus.

    To modify or not, is on all our minds. I’ve done two stock restorations and one Restomod and currently working on another Restomod. I’ll never build another stock one. There’s just too much to be gained by adding better brakes, more power, and a better transmission. But it’s your call and largely depends on what you intend to do with the Rover (and your wallet). If you are holding it as an investment and can travel everywhere you want to go by backroads, or slowly, then by all means keep it stock. They are very capable as is, if slow, but an overdrive will help this.

    Easily reversible, but awesome upgrades are disc brakes (see previous thread about this below) and an overdrive. More expensive and often non-reversible upgrades are power steering, a newer transmission (R380 which I can highly recommend, or an LT77), and a more powerful engine. But these require a lot of modification to fit in most cases.

    It’s very nice to be able to hop in and hit the interstate if I want to, with no fear of being rear ended.
    61 II 109" Pickup (Restomod, 350 small block, TR4050)
    66 IIA 88" Station Wagon (sold)
    66 IIA 109" Pickup (Restomod, 5MGE, R380)
    67 IIA 109" NADA Wagon (sold)
    88, 2.5TD 110 RHD non-hicap pickup

    -I used to know everything there was to know about Land Rovers; then I joined the RN Bulletin Board.

  3. #3


    I do think I'll be doing a disc brake conversion, but other than that I may go back to mostly stock. I got to dig in a little more today. The front drivers side fender came off rather easily, as expected the splash guard is extinct. The steering box looks ok and when I move the steering wheel it seems to be moving as freely as it can be with all the exterior corrosion. The radiator and fan came off as well rather easily, the fluid coming out of it was the color of NC red clay! The wiring is still all intact so I've been labeling it and will be using it for making a new harness later. Also, my 3 month old is sleeping quite well now that his bed time stories come from the LR manual and the LR shop manual. The engine seems to be locked up like Fort Knox so if anyone knows an engine person in the NC Triangle area I'd be very grateful.
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