WHAT TO LOOK FOR

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - Buying Guide -

The 2.25-litre petrol four-pot is a joy and will sol­dier on for­ever. It shares its block with the 2.25 diesel which – due largely to its higher com­pres­sion – isn’t as longlived. Look for blue smoke on start-up, a sign of worn bores. From 1980 the 2.25 en­gines were given a five-bear­ing crank rather than three, mak­ing them a bit smoother and more durable. The 2.6-litre straight-six is beau­ti­ful and un­com­mon but not much punchier than the 2.25 petrol and drinks like a fish.

WHICH EN­GINE’S FOR YOU?

Con­sid­er­ing the hard life that many of these ve­hi­cles have en­dured, it’s no sur­prise that many trans­mis­sions are knack­ered. They’ll usu­ally con­tinue even when se­verely worn, but be­come in­creas­ingly un­pleas­ant to drive, los­ing syn­chro­mesh and with in­creas­ing back­lash in the axle dif­fer­en­tials. With the ve­hi­cle in gear, wheels chocked and the

TIME FOR A PLAY

hand­brake off, crawl un­der­neath and ma­nip­u­late the prop­shafts (front and rear) to de­tect where play is com­ing from.

The rear cross­mem­ber, spring hang­ers and footwells cor­rode fastest, and many Se­ries IIIs now have re­place­ment gal­vanised bulk­heads or chas­sis – worth look­ing out for. The body is all Birmabright and only suf­fers from gal­vanic cor­ro­sion where it comes up against steel. Af­ter­mar­ket re­place­ment pan­els are avail­able, so if you have the time and budget, a crispy Se­ries III can be made youth­ful again.

COR­RO­SION WOES

Though far from sporty, the brakes should feel strong and bring the ve­hi­cle to a halt in a straight line. Leak­ing wheel cylin­ders will con­tam­i­nate the drum and dampen per­for­mance; look un­der­neath at the back of each

BRAKE IT DOWN

drum and check for leaks. Also check the con­di­tion of any brass pipework, which may be an­cient or un­wisely routed by a DIY me­chanic.

Leaf springs give a hor­rid ride if they’re rusted solid (they should be oiled reg­u­larly). Check for splay­ing at the ends, a sure sign they need re­plac­ing. Bushes may also be knack­ered, so bring a pry bar and pre­pare to get phys­i­cal. Vague steer­ing may also be due to wear in the track rod ends (cheaply re­placed) the steer­ing re­lay (which should be oiled in ser­vice but rarely is) or steer­ing box.

SPRING BREAK

Ac­ces­sories from Land Rover’s Op­tional Equip­ment cat­a­logue make lovely pe­riod ad­di­tions and add value. These in­clude fire ex­tin­guish­ers and deluxe trim, and ex­tend to winches, Fairey over­drive, free-wheel­ing hubs and Power Take Off unit (PTO).

ALL THE EX­TRAS

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