The Wacky World
Look, we’ve featured some strange-looking Landys in this section before, but the Roadless 109 is right up there as one of the most peculiar-looking Land Rovers ever. Tech editor Ian Theron’s affinity for odd-ball Landys has led him to take a closer look at the Forest Rover or Roadless 109. The Roadless 109, or Series IIA Forest Rover, was built by Roadless Traction of Hounslow, in the suburban district of the London Borough. Roadless Traction mainly converted tractors to four-wheel drive vehicles. The United Kingdom Forestry Commission, a non-ministerial government department responsible for forestry in England and Scotland, was having some difficulty with its use of conventional Land Rovers. These Landys were prone to getting stuck on rutted forest tracks and were hampered by fallen trees. The machinery research officer for the Forestry Commission, Colonel Shaw, suggested that tractor-type tyres were used. Most of the 20odd rovers built from 1961-1964 was shipped overseas, but a few remained in the UK. The 2.25-litre petrol and diesel variations were used, the gear ratios were changed, and the machine was capable of approximately 48km/h. The Forest Rover used Studebaker axles with planetary type hub reductions and tractor-type wheels. The front axle had a track 35cm wider than the rear to allow sufficient steering lock to retain manoeuvrability with a 12m turning circle. The Forest Rover features an impressive ground clearance of 430mm from under the diff. The departure angle is between 40-55 degrees depending on the load bay. With all this, it also features an impressive wading depth. The engine, clutch, gearbox, transfer box, propeller shafts and steering box are all standard 109-inch.
SUSPENSION: Heavy-duty Series II leaf springs
SHOCKS: Heavy-duty double acting
CHASSIS: Re-enforced 109-inch
FRONT AXLE: Special Track 75-inch with diff ratio 3.63:1 hub reduction 3.67:1.
REAR AXLE: Special Track 61-inch with same diff and hub ratio as front axle.
BRAKES: Hydraulic with 14-inch drums
TYRES: 11 x 28-inch or 23 x 28-inch
PAYLOAD: Maximum three-quarter ton